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OTRC: 'Community' season 4: Cast to be featured as puppets (Photo)

In a season 4 episode of 'Community' titles 'Intro to Felt Surrogacy,' the characters from the NBC show are shown as puppets. Pictured from L to R: Abed, Troy, Annie, Britta, Chang, Jeff, Pierce and Shirley. (Justin Lubin / NBC)

Is Joel McHale going soft? The actor, also known for hosting the snarky E! series "The Soup," and his "Community" cast mates will be featured as puppets in an upcoming episode of the NBC show in April.

The NBC network unveiled its foam creations at a PaleyFest panel on Tuesday, March 5 in Los Angeles, where they were photographed onstage at the Saban Theatre with their respective cast members.

In the episode titled "Intro To Felt Surrogacy," Jim Rash, who plays Dean Pelton, will introduce the puppets as a means of facilitating a more open group discussion among the characters, including Pierce (Chevy Chase), Chang (Ken Jeong), Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Annie (Alison Brie), Troy (Donald Glover), Abed (Danny Pudi) and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown).

The puppets exhibit the characters' trademark looks, such as McHale's spiky hair, Chase's moon-shaped glasses and Pudi's worried brow.

In November, it was revealed that Chase would leave "Community" "immediately," following negative comments he made about the comedy series and reports of confrontations on and off the set. Chase did not attend the cast's PaleyFest panel on Tuesday. (Check out photos of the "Community" cast at PaleyFest 2013.)

The plush puppet crew was designed by puppeteers Drew Massey and Scott Johnson, known for their work in the Jim Henson Company's "Muppets Wizard of Oz" as well as MTV's "Warren the Ape."

Jason Alexander, known for his role as George Costanza on the hit NBC series "Seinfeld," will also make a guest appearance as a "friendly mountain man," NBC said it a statement.

Created by Dan Harmon, the comedy series "Community" features the lives and adventures of students at a fictitious community college in Colorado. In 2012, it won Hulu's "Best in Show" award.

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