Thursday, January 23, 2014
Some thoughts on NBC's "Community"
Well, we're a few episodes into the fifth season of Community now and as I finish watching tonight's, several thoughts come to mind: first, that it's like last year's Dan Harmon-less bizarro season never even happened; second, that after my second episode in a row of having my heartstrings expertly plucked and sobbing like a baby, this season seems to have more heart and gravitas amidst the chuckles and homages; and third, that never in all my tv watching days (and believe me, I have watched a ton of television, probably way more than any normal person should have) have I ever seen a show where nobody, and I mean NOBODY, but the show creator knew the characters and the world in which they live. Last season without show creator Harmon can't even be described as a trainwreck - it was like a completely different show. I know there are growing pains when new hands take over - after all, this world is the brainchild of another, but you can bring a new perspective or somehow make it your own or at least find a semblance of the original voice. But even with three seasons under their belts, neither the new showrunners or the writers or the actors had a CLUE as to what Greendale was or who Jeff, Annie, Britta, Troy, Abed, Pierce, and all the other players were. It was like none of them had never even met them. I don't know how that happens. Maybe Harmon never let them peek inside. But I think of how well Community does television, movie, and genre homages and last season attempted a Hunger Games homage that was beyond dreadful. It can't even be considered an homage in my opinion - it showed us nothing; we were told everything by characters. All the action took place off screen. I can't even remember the rest of the season. And then this season, Harmon returns and it was like he was never gone. And with the exception of a few lines of acknowledgement here and there, it's like the stories of last season never happened. Thank god. Community has always been a little - okay, extremely - silly, which is part of the appeal, but it's like Harmon is experiencing a lot of deep emotions returning to this world because this week and last week left me in tears, sobbing like a baby. SPOILER ALERT!!!!! I never liked Pierce - his character was my least favortie and his story lines grated but when he (and by he I mean his lawyer because Pierce is dead) said goodbye to the rest of the study group last week, it was the most I ever liked him. And it made me sorry Chevy Chase was such an ass and Pierce was gone, because the Pierce we got to experience last week was a character I could've liked. And then this week's goodbye to Troy - it's hard to break up a bromance, and Troy and Abed are up there with the all time tv and movie bromances, so I hope that Donald Glover's decision to pursue his music career doesn't end up hurting Abed as a character, because he and Glover's Troy were so entwined they were almost ONE character. It'll be interesting to see where the show goes from here. A show that I was finished with last year and couldn't have cared less if it was cancelled or renewed has worked it's way back into my heart...welcome back, Dan Harmon. But while you're here, could you maybe let your writing staff and actors in just a smidge on what makes these characters and this world tic, so last season never happens again? Or maybe keeping it all to yourself is your insurance policy that you will always have to be part of this show, in which case I say...well played.