For the previous three years, Community was one of my top shows. I would get so excited on Thursday nights, knowing a new episode was airing and made a point to watch it on Hulu Friday as soon as I could.
This year has been…different. We all knew that with the removal of Dan Harmon from the show, there would be some changes. Then NBC kindly bumped the show’s premiere date. The actors seemed to tweet less about how much fun they were having on set. Chevy Chase announced he was leaving. But, the fan in me said, hang in there and just maybe it will all be okay.
Then the new season premiered and it was sorta…meh.
Though honestly, every season of Community (apart from the first) starts sorta rough but then it finds it’s footing and gets better. So I kept watching…
The next episode was the Halloween episode, airing in the middle of February, sorta throwing off the whole vibe. It was amusing but it felt like we had done this 3 times already and the writers were grasping. It made me think of Matt Groening talking about what a giant pain in the butt the Simpsons Halloween episodes are because it started out as a fun joke and then people DEMANDED it. Which sorta sucks the fun out of it.
‘Conventions of SpaceTime’ had some strong points, focusing on the relationships between the characters while sprinkling a healthy dose of pop culture and geek references throughout, which has always been the shows strong point. And the season sort of rise and fell like this until the final 3 episodes which were getting close to the Community I remembered, but never quite making it there. You could tell it was missing that (oh so twisted) Harmon touch.
For next season, I IMPLORE the writers of the show to lay-off the Dean cross-dressing. It is funny when it’s a surprise but any episode where he wore a dress for more than a few seconds tended to be not funny. I love Dean Pelton, but the creepy stalker thing got old really fast. He went from a fun background character to someone I dreaded seeing on screen.
Chang – I assume he will be the new Pierce. I’m fine with that. Just no more crazy Chang please.
Also, let the holiday and “themed” episodes go unless you really truly find some inspiration. I was excited about the puppet episode but felt the writing just never got there. What made Community such a great show from the start was how much is could surprise us with what kind of things it poked fun at, what sort of jokes they went for, and how we loved all the characters in the end. By “playing it safe” this season, you did the show a disservice because it’s following was earned by not playing it safe and doing the same over and over.
Don’t worry about your audience – we are smart, we can handle subtle, sly humor that skates by us quickly. It’s what made the earlier seasons of the show so rewatchable. Every time I made a friend watch the first paintball episode or the timeline episode, I would catch another one liner or inside joke and it made me appreciate the show that much more. Mock those tropes, mock them mercilessly. If you aren’t sure if you should go there or not, GO THERE We can handle it, we can keep up. It is why we are here.
I guess I am happy about the renewal. I’m hoping this will give the head writers and showrunners another chance to show us they “get it” and raise the show back up to where it was before. I think they can – I feel like they were *so close* with those last three episodes.