Well, it’s finally come to this. After five seasons on air, the NBC comedy Community has been given the ax. We all thought it would happen sooner, but now all of our fears have come to fruition. “MY EMOTIONS!” are all over the place, as are those of most Community fans. But we shouldn’t dwell on this news sent straight from the darkest of timelines. Instead, let us look back on the show that we fell in love with.
Community was always on the fringes in terms of network television. It never really made the hugest splash among other shows in its usual NBC Thursday Night comedy lineup. While most audiences were laughing at the antics of Michael Scott on The Office, a small cult following of fans were laughing hysterically at the antics of Jeff Winger, Annie Edison, Abed Nadir, Troy Barnes, Britta Perry, Shirley Bennett, Pierece Hawthorne, Craig Pelton, Ben Chang and the endless number of students & teachers on the campus of Greendale Community College.
A show that reveled in being meta and making pop culture references that few others in primetime would make should have never really gone beyond its first season. Yet, Community did really benefit from timing. NBC over the past decade has been struggling to find comedies that would really make a splash like Friends, Fraiser and Seinfeld did for them in decades past. So, this time of uncertainty and struggle allowed for a show with small yet consistent ratings like Community to thrive, giving way to everything from an existential crisis told via stop motion animation to an entire subplot centered around My Dinner With Andre.
Realistically, I don’t blame NBC for this decision. They’ve given Community more chances then anyone really anticipated it would get and we should be grateful that we even got to a fifth season. We Community fans have braved the worst of times: the great October 19th scare, the dethroning of Dan Harmon, the exits of Donald Glover and Chevy Chase, etc. Yet, none of this ever got in the way of what we loved about Community: its desire to entertain us and develop its characters. We all laughed as Jeff snarked his way into our hearts. We all wept as Abed came to terms with his first true friendships. We all awkwardly sat there as we became privy to Dean Pelton’s bizarre gender confused proclivities. Even during the darkest times of a Harmon-less Season 4, Community still managed to get even the smallest of chuckles, thanks mostly to it’s game cast. It was always, at its core, this strange show that took the tropes of sitcoms and spun them on their head in ways no other network show really had done before, while also giving its characters room to grow and blossom.
Is there still a chance we could get our long dreamed of “Six Seasons And A Movie”? Perhaps. Community is owned by Sony Television, which opens up the possibility that it could exist on a platform like Hulu, Netflix or the like in some near future and, as long as the cast & Dan Harmon are involved, I’m fully on board to see them give true closure to the story of this study group. But for the time being, this strange little show has reached it’s end. So, for now, we say goodbye to our Troy & Abed mornings, our paintball fights, our far too plentiful community college dances. Today we grow out our ponytails, as we’re all “going through some stuff right now” and are all desperately seeking the comfort of a Jeff Winger speech. Today, we wander the abandoned halls of Greendale in our Kick-Puncher costumes, hoping to find a friend that will share our love of this odd little show. It is a dark and confusing time and it feels like we’re all stuck in a towed off space simulator sponsored by KFC that will never truly reach its destination. However, in a world where one washed up lawyer can find true lasting friendship with a bunch of strangers in a Spanish 101 community college study group, we can all hopefully find light at the end of that pillow fort tunnel. Bon Troyage for now, Community. Bon Troyage.