Thursday, February 7, 2013

Community returns for season 4

It's finally October 19, kind of. Not really. That's when season 4 of Community was supposed to come back. But because apparently NBC doesn't have much faith in the show they decided that Oct19 is going to be moved to February 7. Since then, and since NBC didn't bring back Dan Harmon, we've all been wondering whether we are in the darkest timeline. Will we ever seen more Community? If we do, will it be as good without it's creator and show runner?

Tonight we started to get some answers. I wouldn't call this the darkest timeline since the show is back. But I wouldn't exactly call this the brightest timeline, the one in which we all join Britta singing and dancing to Roxanne while Jeff gets the pizza. Having said that, I enjoyed the season opener. I think it hit most of the right notes in a fairly funny way. And they did a good job of setting up an arc for the season. Spoilers to follow.

The new show runners wasted no time trying to accommodate Community loyalists like myself. They went straight for the weird and meta commentary by taking us inside Abed's mind. We learn that Abed is afraid of what the new semester may bring. This is the group's senior year, presumably when they should all graduate. Most of the group wants to savor their remaining time. But Jeff is eager to get back to his old profession.

In order to deal with his fears, Britta convinces him to go to his happy place when he gets worried. And Abed being Abed, his happy place is a multi-camera, laugh track sitcom parody of the study group. I loved this because it spoke to the worst fears that Community fans had when Dan Harmon was fired (or not brought back), that the show would stop being unique and try to cater toward a larger, more mainstream audience. Abed's fear that this semester might be the last for the group together also speaks to the fear that Community won't come back after this season (or worse, that it gets the Don't Trust the Bitch in Apt 23 treatment).

I think this episode succeeded in quelling some of our fears. I'm not sure how much of the writing staff from the Harmon era is still on staff. So I don't want to give the new show runners all the credit. But so far they all seem to get the characters and what the show is about. That could also speak to all the great actors. We've still got a long way to go and a lot of opportunities to inject Batman into a story. And most people seem to think this will be the last season. I'll try not to think about that and just enjoy what is hopefully a successful season. So far so good.

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