Community: New writers, new insight, and not the same
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 03:02
Watching Community these days makes me feel like a scorned lover weeping over old home movies. The new season has the moxie and heart to be a worthy show again, but the genius of ex-showrunner Dan Harmon’s fevered imagination is missing.
The recent crop of episodes has the same over-caffeinated pace, and there are some killer lines, but the blinding brilliance of the previous three seasons has been lost.
But is it so wrong to cling to the scraps of a long ago love affair? Troy, Abed, Shirley, Pierce, Annie, Britta and Jeff have become fictional friends to me over the past three seasons.
This isn’t an indication of my Community obsession—though you’ll pry my “Pop, pop!” coffee mug from my cold, dead hands—rather a measure of how Harmon and crew
created nuanced, personable characters who we want to follow, no matter who’s guiding them.
And those new showrunners have kept the way Community portrays our commuter campus experience—in a way completely different from other college shows like Undeclared and Greek.
At Colorado’s fictional Greendale Community College, academic life is shunted aside in favor of wacky hijinks and fluffy classes like “History Of Ice Cream.” The crushing bureaucracy the characters fight, in the form of the mincing, pun-happy dean, isn’t a far cry from the bumbling administration we’ve all dealt with.
So I’ll still be watching Community, if only for the chance to spend 30 blissful minutes with my favorite study group each week.
Over these past few seasons, Community has evolved from a shaggy-dog story about mismatched Spanish students to a genre-hopping juggernaut that took time to explore the nature of friendship—all between parodies of Law & Order and Doctor Who.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this new Community turned into something new entirely, but to borrow a turn of phrase from the dean himself, I’m just happy it’s not en-DEAN.