Following NBC’s cancellation, time appears to finally be up for Community. But what a run it’s had.
We were so close, human beings! So close to fulfilling the six seasons and a movie prophecy; but the powers that be have decided it is time for the Greendale study group to procrastinate no more. There’s only so long you can take blow-off classes without facing repercussions. I’m going to miss this show, miss Abed’s delectably meta mind, miss Jeff Winger’s rampant egoism tearing the group apart, all because someone knows how to do pottery better than him. But, you know what, at 97 episodes, I’m more than happy to say goodbye.
Community has been a perpetually on-the-bubble show since season two, yet it managed to defy the odds up until only a few days ago
Wait, hold the flash mob and darkest timeline beards - let me explain. Community has been a perpetually on-the-bubble show since season two, yet has managed to defy the odds up until only a few days ago. Back in season three, when the show got pulled from the schedules, everyone expected the worst, but it carried on and kept doing so, despite losing Donald Glover, Chevy Chase and showrunner Dan Harmon, whilst providing exceptional episodes throughout.
The especially dark period came during season four. With Harmon unceremoniously fired by Sony, we were left with a season which, whilst not completely terrible, couldn’t stand up to the quality that had come before. An uninspired convention episode really illustrated that, although these were still great characters, Community needed Harmon, badly. He was as crucial to the show as any of the cast. So, unbelievably, Sony rehired him.
Season five brought Community back to its prior quality. Losing Troy and Pierce hurt the season, though we did manage to get a clever final Pierce episode without him being there, and a brilliant lava-floor episode to say goodbye to Troy. Season five even ends with the remaining Greendale gang ousting Subway University from their school, whilst harking back to prior episodes and giving us a brilliant in-canon ending should the show be cancelled. If the show does return, expect the first episode to deal with Abed cancelling the apocalypse.
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So many shows are extended to a point where they’re left shells of their former selves; Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory spring to mind. Community has given us nearly one hundred episodes whilst maintaining its quality, a rare thing indeed. Sure, we might not have a perfectly wrapped ending, but we have five seasons of a show in its prime. In the final few episodes, we get some sense of finality as death and life outside Greendale slowly drags the characters away. But we don’t need to watch the group’s numbers dwindle any more - we’ve had a good ending, let it be.
If Community doesn’t return, we’ve got five seasons to watch again and again, and catchphrases that will be used relentlessly
How many shows can boast as many fan favourite episodes as Community? GI Jeff, anything involving Christmas, Halloween or paintballs, the video game episode, the multiple timelines episode, the two episodes involving Dungeons and Dragons - the show is chock full of 20 minute bites of intelligent comedic writing, acting and fun. Episodes work just as well despite their topicality wearing off. If we ignore season four, the show rarely dipped in quality.
If by some miracle Community does return, I’ll be the first to celebrate, but the signs are not in its favour. Scrubs was resurrected by another network, though its ratings were far better than those for Community. Futurama came back after a lengthy hiatus, as did Family Guy, but those again had large fanbases. Still, if Community doesn’t return, we’ve got five seasons to watch again and again with glee, catchphrases that will be used relentlessly and, in the end, we’ll always have paintball, and Chang, and Troy and Abed, and the Dean’s many costume changes, and Annie’s Boobs, and…
Community, you’ll be missed, but you ended on a high note.
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All images: NBC