Katharine McPhee Finds 'Community'

It's Family Day at Greendale Community College. And, as usual on NBC's Community (airing tonight at 8 p.m. ET), high jinks ensue. And fisticuffs. Plus a lot of politically incorrect—and very funny—banter.

"Over the course of seven marriages, I've amassed some 32 stepchildren," Pierce (Chevy Chase) brags. American Idol's Season 5 runner up, Katharine McPhee, guest stars as one of them. (Ironically, the episode airs up against the Idol results show.)

You might call McPhee's appearance a practice run. The 25-year-old singer and actress just landed a role in a new NBC sitcom pilot, Pink House, which could possibly get picked up this fall. "My character [in the pilot] is the anti-Hollywood," McPhee said during a recent media conference call. "She doesn't worry about the calorie consumption she's taking in. She is a nice girl but says what's on her mind."

In the meantime, McPhee says, one-time gigs like this one—and her appearance on CBS's CSI: NY last April—are keeping her in the game. "I really wanted to just kind of keep my feet wet and keep my talent up," she said. Granted, things got off to a bumpy start with Community, when she met with cast members and admitted that she'd been too busy to see much of the show.

"I was just coming off of my first promo week of my [latest] record [Unbroken] being released, and so I wasn't watching any television at that time. And Joel [McHale, who plays Jeff] was like, 'So, you know, how do you like our show? Have you been watching it?' And I was like, 'Uh, I've seen it, but I haven't been seeing it.' And he goes, 'Oh, that's horrible! You're on our show, and you haven't even watched it? You'd better go home and watch it!' And I swear to you, since then I've TiVoed and watched every episode."

So, what did she think? "I just think, in all sincerity, separate from me being a part of the show for this one episode, I think it's one of NBC's best shows on TV right now, because it's so well written," she said. Good answer.

PHOTOS: Idol Champs vs. Runners-Up: Who's the Bigger Winner?

Would you be more likely to watch a new sitcom if you knew Katharine McPhee was going to be in it? Chime in below!

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