In a move that's sure to make next season's inevitable paintball episode oodles more entertaining, it came to light late last week that Michael K. Williams, the actor best known for his iconic portrayal of Baltimore street brigand and philosophizer Omar Little on HBO's The Wire/community/17-8674/, will be joining the cast of Community this fall in a regular role. This is in addition to Williams' other regular gig as bootlegger Chalky White on HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
On Community, Williams will be doing what he does best, in playing a man who has had his previous brushes with the law. However, in this case, his criminal days are (presumably) over with, as he will be taking on the role of Greendale's newest biology teacher, after earning his degree during a prison stint.
Hilariously, showrunner Dan Harmon's reasoning for the casting apparently has something to do with bringing "a certain amount of groundedness and reality to the series, because the detractors of our show complain that there's a distancing that takes place because we have such a silliness and far-fetchedness," or so he told Vulture in an interview. While having someone primed to drop a little street knowledge on the likes of Troy and Abed sounds perhaps a tad grounding, having an out-sized actor like Williams who everyone recognizes for one of the best roles in television history probably isn't going to do much to ground people's sense of reality when it comes to the show.
That said, Williams is a fine actor, and can certainly play for comedy when he wants to. While I imagine Wire references will be kept to the barest minimum, again, I simply cannot wait for that next paintball episode. The sounds of Williams whistling while wandering down the halls of Greendale in a trenchcoat, locked-and-loaded paintball shotgun in hand, is almost more than I can bear. You think we might get extra lucky and get a Brother Mouzone cameo during that episode too?