By Caitlin Gardner
NBC recently announced that its critically beloved comedy Community, created by Dan Harmon, would thankfully not be cancelled, leaving any and all episodes filmed for the remainder of the show’s third season to be aired at a later, yet-to-be-determined date.
A show about a quirky and dysfunctional seven-person study group at the ficitonal Greendale Community College in Colorado, Community will eventually continue to air, thanks in part to NBC’s hapless ratings.
But another season is no guarantee. What Community really, desperately needs is a swift kick in the ratings pants.
I remember watching an early episode in the first season, which premiered in Fall 2009, and not feeling particularly strongly about the show or its potential.
This changed, however, after seeing the fan-favorite paintball episode, ‘Modern Warfare,’ later that year, which seems to be what set the ball in motion for the show’s devoted and passionate fandom.
The show works as an experimental ensemble comedy; for example, one recent episode consists of six different timelines and their subsequent consequences for the study group at a housewarming party.
Each episode is filled with smart pop culture references while often playing with and commenting on traditional television structure. Be it a ‘bottle episode,’ in which the entire episode takes place in one location, or a clip show (the joke there was that these clips were flashbacks to events the audience had never seen before).
These episodes are ambitious but also remain remarkably in tune with the cast of characters we have come to know and love, including ultra-nerd best friends Troy and Abed (Dani Pudi and Donald Glover, respectively), the devout Christian Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), and the snarky group leader Jeff Winger (Joel McHale).
While there have been over 50 episodes of this series, I would say that there are way more stand alone episodes of Community than the average network television comedy.
Case in point, the paintball episodes (yes, there is more than one: three, to be exact, if you consider the two-part second season finale) that are simply a blast to watch.
This is not to say that the show has no continuity. In fact, there are plenty of inside jokes that reward faithful and loyal viewers.
Unfortunately. Community fans have a tendency to be obnoxious, especially within online discussion groups and forums. Community fans may comprise a small group that loves to patrol related websites and beam about its greatness, but this does not always portray its followers in a good light.
Devotees are always left perplexed as to why none of the exceptional ensemble cast members or writers are nominated for an award, frustrated that Community is always snubbed by the Emmys and other major television awards.
It is also problematic that the show, in its timeslot, has had to compete with hit CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory, which, though perhaps just as ‘nerdy’ as Community, could not, in reality, be more different.
Fans, myself included, love this show dearly, but sometimes our PDA can be excessive and over the top. It is important to put these issues aside and just watch and judge the show for itself.