Locutus of Bored wrote:
Good lord, I couldn't stand him on Community. His scenes always brought an episode's momentum to a grinding halt. His character never appeared to "fit" in with the rest of the cast.
In fairness, I think that was part of the point, that Pierce was so impossibly generationally removed from the frame of reference of the rest of the cast, even the older characters like Jeff & Shirley, that it generated a lot of humor.
Remember that conversation Robert Downey Jr. had with Ben Stiller in Tropic Thunder about acting? Downey said that Sean Penn had gone "full retard" in that movie and that was the reason Penn didn't get the Oscar. He was saying that Penn gave a great performance as a retarded person, but failed to get across the character's underlying "wisdom" -- the thing that would have made the character pitiable but endearing and noble rather than just pitiable.
That is how I think of Chevy's performance as Pierce -- he went "full asshole", meaning he presented the asshole part of Pierce while failing to impart to the audience that Pierce really had a heart of gold deep down underneath it all while
he was being an asshole. The only time we ever saw Pierce's softer side was when the dialogue was specifically written for Pierce to show that softer side.
Chevy's performance also many times seemed to break the show's natural flow (for lack of a better term). It is as if Chevy never fully "got" his character or the show and consequentely never was able to fully mesh Pierce with the other characters and the episode's story. Chevy, through Pierce, always seemed to me to be looking at his castmates going, "Huh".
The quotes attributed to him in the this thread seem to confirm that this is what was going on.