Community is dead. Long live Community!
Fans have been weeping over their cell phones on Twitter and Facebook since the quirky underdog was officially put out to pasture and wondering how their promises for a sixth season and a feature film have been revoked so suddenly. It is as if a young boy (or girl) who had believed in Santa Claus for all of his life had pestered his mother or father about Christmas one too many times and they had enough of him. There is no Santa Claus, there is no nice list to aspire to, and the quality of a television show is not the most important factor that determines it's popularity. A realization as earth shattering as this causes a lot of questions to enter the mind of a heartbroken
child television viewer. Why did they bring Dan Harmon, the show's creator, back if they were going to end it without a finale episode? Why would NBC, the network that airs Community, kill one of their most creative sitcoms if they are trying to use prestigious shows as a way to draw new talent, and hopefully more profits, to the struggling network? Why end the show when there doesn't seem to be any viable comedy to replace it? The answers are numerous but for most people, they will all lead to one word. Defeat. That the world sucks and the bad guys who make Two and a Half Men always win but they're wrong. The cancellation of Community isn't a loss, it's a victory that shows the world that good television can exist against all odds. Community is the Rocky Balboa of television.
For the two people who just came out of a cave, Rocky is about a boxer named Rocky Balboa who dreams of making it big and gets to fight a boxing champion named Apollo Creed. No one thought that Rocky could last against Creed for fifteen rounds but he did. Sure, he lost due to a split decision by the judges but no one cared. He won the war of public opinion. Community is in the same boat. We got to see Abed break the fourth wall for five seasons. Not one, not two, but FIVE. That's more than most shows created throughout the history of television. As I've written previously, take two steps away from your computer and you'll realize that most people forgot the show even existed until it was announced that it was cancelled. I told my father the bad news and he was dumbfounded for a good fifteen seconds. Then he composed himself and asked me if that was that show with the crazy Asian teacher that was supposed to be good. My father has a Masters degree in Mathematics. He's a smart man who prefers to view television shows on the scheduled time that they're "supposed to be" watched on a regular basis. I showed him one episode of Community and he really liked it while wondering why NBC didn't advertise it more. We can only be thankful that NBC is doing so badly in the Nielsen ratings department (which doesn't even count DVR, Netflix, and other methods of viewing media so it's useless now) that they stuck with it since it Community was giving them prestige even though they didn't know how to market the show to viewers. Isn't that crazy? They had one of the most creative shows on the planet, a team of top-notch marketers, and they didn't know how to get people to watch the show. Yet it still lasted for five seasons! FIVE SEASONS!
Let's not even talk about the drama that occurred between everyone while making the show. No wait, let's talk about the drama that occurred between everyone while making the show. Does anyone remember Chevy Chase? He's kind of a big deal, starred in lots of great films, and played Pierce. I thought he was great on the show but apparently he hated the way that his character was being written and constantly complained on set. Chase even said the N-word to show his displeasure. In defense of Chase, it was in reference to how racist his character was becoming but it still makes for a tough work environment. I don't know how you can act when one of your fellow cast mates is threatening to leave the show on a daily basis. To make things worse, they kicked Dan Harmon out for season four. You really need to possess an amazing ability to piss off studio executives when they decide to kick you off your own show and replace you with someone else so they can keep it on the air.
Let's be honest though. Dan Harmon's creative genius also leads to his inability to deal with anyone in a respectful manner. This is the guy who would threaten to go kill himself on a daily basis if a minor thing was changed by the studios concerning his show. This is the guy who joked that watching someone else run his show for a season was as bad as watching his family get raped in front of him and got criticized for it by almost everyone in the entertainment industry. He's the guy who probably has a mental disorder and refuses to go to therapy for it. He's the alcoholic with a rabid fan base (I'm quickly becoming one of his fans, not an alcoholic) who appreciate his honestly about everything even though it always kills him in the end. In spite of all of this, he has created one of the greatest shows on television. Dan Harmon is Rocky Balboa. Community is Rocky Balboa. We're all Rocky Balboa. Does this metaphor even work?
Seriously though, five seasons!
And maybe, just Like Rocky, we'll get a 6th edition fueled by the love from its creator...