‘Community”s Jim Rash talks hosting ‘The Writer’s Room’

Oscar-winning screenwriter Jim Rash, aka Dean Pelton on "Community," hosts "The Writer's Room." Credit: Getty Images
Oscar-winning screenwriter Jim Rash, aka Dean Pelton on “Community,” hosts “The Writer’s Room.”
Credit: Getty Images

Jim Rash’s resume is already pretty robust, earning acclaim as a comic actor (“Community”), director (“The Way, Way Back”) and screenwriter (“The Descendants,” for which he and co-writer Nat Faxon won an Oscar). But there’s always room for more. His latest gig is hosting “The Writers’ Room,” a roundtable discussion series going behind the scenes of fan-favorite television series like “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones” and “New Girl.”

The idea of TV being “the writer’s medium” has really taken hold with audiences. Where do you think that’s coming from?
I feel it’s because of this rabid fan base, this need for knowledge that we all have. I feel like they have respect now for the storytelling. Not that no one had an idea where it came from, but I feel like people have a newfound respect for good stories. I think TV’s in a really great place right now as far as embracing flawed, sometimes questionable people, from “Dexter” to “Breaking Bad” to any of these shows like “Mad Men” — complex characters that you get so frustrated by. In the age of binge-watching, catching up on shows that you missed, all these things lead you to wondering about the story.

You also have things like Comic-Con, where showrunners get as much attention as actors.
Yes, I think it’s another outlet. It’s another version of social interaction and connection to people that we didn’t have certainly when I was growing up. We just watched the TV show, maybe read a magazine or a review.

If you could pick any series, living or dead, from the history of television for “The Writers’ Room,” what are your dream choices?
It’s tough. I’d be very curious talking to “M*A*S*H” writers just because I have a fascination with the balance of comedy and extreme drama and just the idea behind that show. I feel like I’d want to do a moment with the “Cheers” writers just because that’s probably the quintessential show of my life. Then I think I would want to sit down with “Lost” because I have a lot of questions, being a guy who watched from the beginning with groups.

How about having Dan Harmon on “The Writer’s Room” now that he’s back running “Community”?
I’d love to do “Community.” I know that “The Walking Dead” was on the list to be done, but it was an AMC decision. I start with “Breaking Bad” and then I get to do that. So I feel like there’s lots of shows that would be all on board to do it. And I think a lot of them, as soon as they see what it is, I feel like they’ll embrace it because it really is a celebration of what they’re doing. So I hope they’ll see that it’s light and fun and introspective about their process.


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