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By Alec Bojalad (@alecbojalad) at 6:00 pm, November 21, 2012

Chevy Chase and Community are ending their often contentious four-plus year relationship with the Pierce Hawthorne actor leaving the show effective immediately.

According to Deadline, Chase and the producers of the show have reached an agreement on his departure. The show is deep into production on its fourth season, meaning that Chase would only be absent in one or two episodes that have not yet been shot.

In many ways, this news is unsurprising. Chevy Chase has largely confirmed his reputation as difficult to work with throughout his time with the show. Chase and previous showrunner Dan Harmon often clashed, most famously when Harmon played a voicemail from an irate Chase during a public appearance.

Chase was also very public with his distaste for the show, telling the Huffington Post U.K. in September that accepting the role was “a big mistake.

It’s possible that NBC higher-ups thought Chase might be more agreeable with Harmon ousted and replaced by new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio, but those dreams were dashed when Chase used the “n-word” on set while protesting his character’s casual racism.

It’s a little surprising how long Chase’s departure actually took. Leaving with only one or two episodes to go is a little bizarre and it remains to be seen how the show would explain his departure. It’s possible this season could be Community’s last hurrah, but should it reach a season 5, it would be the first and only Pierce-less season…which would be a fascinating watch.

The tragedy here is that for as much as Chase has apparently been a villain behind the scenes, Pierce has been as equally an enjoyable villain on the show. Many friend groups always have “that person” who hangs around and is such a critical part of the group despite the fact that they’re not even a particularly enjoyable person. Whether Chase was cognizant of it or not, he had the Pierce role nailed.

  • Lucas Mass

    Well thats it, Community is slowly and maturely getting cancelled

  • Alex

    In the last year, every time there’s news about Community, those news make me hate NBC just a little bit more. EVERY.FUCKING.TIME.

  • Katiedora

    I feel like this is a tough one. Like, obviously if Chevy wasn’t happy with his work or character or whatever, he shouldn’t stay if he’s going to make everyone else equally unhappy. But it does suck that he can’t get through the last little bit of what’s probably the last season for the sake of the fans who do understand and appreciate the comic aspect of Pierce Hawthorne. It sucks that Chevy can be such a dick when he’s so funny.

  • http://twitter.com/MoldyBrainCells (€=m¢²)•••{°_°}…whoa

    A big mistake? Community is what made Chevy Chase relevant again. Oh well another bridge burned by Chevy, see you on a reality show you old has been .

  • http://www.katepawsonstuder.com/ Kate Pawson Studer

    This is disappointing, but not surprising. I do think the Pierce character is an important part of the ensemble, but I also think the show could survive without him. This is not a “I don’t want another season without Chevy” scenario. I will GLADLY take a season five without Chevy, though he will be missed.

    If he doesn’t want to be there, then so be it. The show doesn’t *need* him.

  • esmeblabbed

    NO!!!! Every person in the study group adds something important and unique! I’m extremely disappointed…he couldn’t just stay for the last two episodes? :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/erikd1 Erik Davison

    Good riddance! Pierce was the weakest character

  • Jay Ferrar

    I’m very sad to see Pierce go. Maybe it’s time to bring Leonard into the study group to fill his shoes. Leonard is a similar and fantastic character in Community.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.wever Joe Wever

    Remember the last time Pierce left the study group:

    Abed: “Pierce’s universally recognized social flaws made him the scapegoat, a lightning rod. Now he’s gone, so there’s lightning everywhere.”
    Troy: “That sounds dangerous! My uncle was struck by lightning. You think it’d give you superpowers, but now he just masturbates in theaters.”

  • TravDogg

    Since he “reached an agreement” with the producers, maybe they had a chance to kill Pierce off or something. It already happened in one timeline anyways.

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