Fans of NBC’s “Community” finally got to celebrate the season four premier, several months late. The show, which was supposed to air Oct. 19, has suffered ratings drops and lost its famed writer Dan Harmon.
The very first ever episode of “Community” was full of references to the 80s movie, “The Breakfast Club,” and from there, the episodes were filled with references to everything from “Star Wars” to “Pulp Fiction.” That, along with the over quirky characters, might have been the alienating factor that kept the show from catching on.
Fans of the show disagree with this alienation. In fact, the show has gathered a cult-like gathering of people who enjoy the show’s creativity.
“I love the originality of the show. The characters and storyline are insanely quirky, however retain being relatable. The reference humor adds extra depth to the show. The last two minutes of the show usually have a skit with the characters Troy and Abed doing ridiculous antics and is almost as funny as the rest of the episode,” said Kelly Hollis, freshman engineering major.
NBC is known for its quirky comedies including “The Office,” which is in its last season, and “Parks and Recreation.” The difference with “Community,” however, seems to be the depth of the humor, often requiring more consideration than your typical television show.
“It’s like, each time I re-watch an episode, I get new jokes that I’ve missed or flew over my head, because even the fast paced sentences contain lines of humor,” said Stephen Harvey, junior music education major.
It would seem that most television watchers want to dedicate that much effort into their comedy. Still, pushing back the season seemed like an injustice to dedicated fans.
“I had been anticipating the premiere of the series for months, like always, and they blind sided me last semester but putting it on hiatus while they had shows like “Whitney” or “Animal Practice” on the air. Until they had announced the February date to celebrate October 19, I was very upset with NBC. I was convinced they had it out for their fans,” said Harvey.
The consensus is that the first episode didn’t really deliver, however. Its usually quirkiness seemed to be pandering to get a bigger audience.
“I think that the first episode was amusing, but I think the writers tried to fit in too many ideas into one episode, which could have led to it coming off flat,” said Hollis.
“The first episode of season 4 gave me a bit of a scare, especially with the whole laugh track gag they had in Abed’s ‘happy place’,” said Harvey.
The writers themselves were concerned about dealing with the new staffing and the concentration of jokes per episode. It would seem that everyone fears the show ending before all of the funny ideas are explored.
In a Reddit AMA with the “Community” writing staff, producer Andy Bobrow said: “We didn’t think our goals for the season were that sweeping or ambitious. We found ourselves scrambling to tell those stories and we had to cram some stuff in, probably poorly, towards the end.”
Episode two seemed to be more along the lines of traditional “Community” humor. Not only was it amusing to watch a Halloween episode in the middle of February, but it also had a definite Scooby Doo feel. Overshadowing the fun vibe, however, was the featuring of Chevy Chase’s character, Pierce, who is even more infuriating when you know his actor suddenly quit the show on not-so-friendly terms.
The show has experienced a lot of turn around, and it’s still unclear whether it will survive season four. The writers have admitted that the season finale could be a series finale, but isn’t necessarily. Fans will have to stay in limbo for a while.