Alter-Pierce is Abed's version of Pierce in his "Happy Place" sitcom fantasy. He has a different physical appearance but retains the original Pierce's antagonistic personality. His first and so far only appearance was in the Season Four premiere "History 101". He is portrayed by actor/comedian Fred Willard.
In his fourth year at Greendale, Abed was in therapy with Britta due to his anxieties about the study group's last year together. Abed calmed himself when his worries became overwhelming by taking Britta's advice. She suggested he imagine a "happy place" in his mind to retreat to. Abed's "happy place" resembled a television sitcom show of his life called "Abed's Happy Community College Show". It included a live studio audience, a laugh track and a different version of one the study group members. This Alter-Pierce looked different from his real world counterpart but had the same attitude.
Alter-Pierce with the Study Group.
Abed imagined Alter-Pierce in the "TV show's" opening credits when he opened his locker and an avalanche of golf balls rolled out. When Abed again revisited his "Happy Place", Alter-Pierce was seen with the rest of the study group trying to decide on what they'll be doing after they graduate. While everyone was perusing job catalogs, Alter-Pierce mistakenly was looking at a catalogue for coffins instead. His mistake elicited laughter from the "studio audience". Dean Pelton then made an appearance wearing an aviators outfit with some bad news. Due to a computer error all their school records were lost and because of that the group was told they'd have to repeat the last three years at school.
Alter-Pierce has a different course catalogue.
Although the group was upset that they will have to retake all their classes, their spirits were raised when they were all invited to a freshmen mixer being held in the cafeteria. Unfortunately, Alter-Pierce ruins the festivities somehow as the party degenerated into a huge food fight. His actions also denied Jeff the chance of hooking up with two freshmen coeds. Annie then arrives with some good news; their school records were backed up and the information was locked up inside a safe. She attempts to open it but Abed tries to prevent her. It's then that Alter-Pierce and the study group witness Jeff delivering a speech that resolves Abed's anxieties and gets him to accept the change that is to come ("History 101").
In an interview with the AV Club, Harmon mentioned that his first choices for the part of Pierce Hawthorne was "Fred Willard, John Cleese and Patrick Stewart". However, Sony insisted on him hiring Chevy Chase.
Fred Willard appeared with the cast and producers of Community at the March 2013 Paleyfest to promote Season Four. He did a table read with the other actors of the episode "History 101" taking over the role of Pierce for Chevy Chase who left the show mid season.