LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: Actress Yvette Nicole Brown attends the Black Rebirth Collective event  at Nate Holden Performing Arts Center on January 18, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Community Cut A Joke That Would Have Completely Changed Shirley's Character
Dan Harmon’s “Community” revolved around a study group at the fictional Greendale Community College and was filled with clashes between the studio executives and the creative team behind the series. Additionally, there was some disagreement over character direction, as one particular scene would have changed the audience’s perspective about a core study group member.
In Season 1, Episode 7, “Introduction to Statistics,” Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) projects her anger over her failed marriage on Jeff’s new relationship with a statistics professor. Shirley intended to flood the professor’s office by putting a water hose through a window and leaving it in her desk drawer, but Brown revealed the character initially “was supposed to take a s*** in the drawer.”
Brown continued, “I felt, as a dignified Black woman, that no dignified Black woman would ever do that!” and asked Harmon to change the scene, to which he agreed. Shirley is the only Black woman on the show, and Brown felt it was important not to reduce her to toilet humor — not to mention that this scene would have critically changed her character.