You might not have known this, but there was a season premiere last night. Community is back on NBC. NBC has tried their very best to kill this show over the years and with a mid-season, January 2nd premiere date, it looks like they are still trying. You probably didn’t even know Community was premiering last night unless you watch NBC (which just about none of you do) or you watch The Soup on E! which again, it’s funny, so I imagine most of America watches it. I watched the premiere of Community last night and I have to say, after 2 episodes, that Community is back.
I’ve been very critical of Community over the last few seasons. It has not been good. There are legitimate reasons for why Community has been so bad over the last few seasons. Firing most of the writers, getting rid of creator and show running Dan Harmon, moving the show around time slots constantly, and plenty of others. The reasons though don’t really excuse it. Community has been bad.
One of my biggest issues with Community is what the writers have done with the characters. What the writers have done to the characters is called Flanderization. This is what one of my favorite websites, TV Tropes and Idioms, says about Flanderization:
The act of taking a single (often minor) action or trait of a character within a work and exaggerating it more and more over time until it completely consumes the character. Most always, the trait/action becomes completely outlandish and it becomes their defining characteristic. Sitcoms and Sitcom characters are particularly susceptible to this, as are peripheral characters in shows with long runs.
This is exactly what they have done with every character on Community over the last few seasons. It’s made it nearly impossible to watch. Every character has just become a caricature of their most annoying trait. It’s lazy of the writers. Troy and Abed are wacky? Yes we get it. Not every episode has to feature some crazy scheme of theirs.
Heading in to the season 5 premiere, I was not hugely hopeful. The return of Dan Harmon was very good news and I held out a glimmer of hope. There was so much work to do though to think about bringing Community back to it’s glory days. The premiere had a big task on their hands. How do you re-boot this series? It needs to be re-booted if it stands a chance of surviving so what are you going to do? Season 4 ended with everyone graduating. You can’t do a show about a community college if the main characters no longer go to the school and we don’t want to have a Saved by the Bell the College Years on our hands.
Season 5 beings showing us a commercial from Jeff who is now back to being a lawyer. We find out quickly that he has failed at being a lawyer and he is now out of business. This starts Jeff on an evil and circular route to bringing him back to Greendale that reunites him with all of his friends. I don’t want to ruin anything for you if you are planning to watch, but how they bring everyone back together was great. It’s not Star Trek re-boot great, but it was great nonetheless.
One of my favorite moments in the show was a joke from Donald Glover. Glover is leaving the show after 6 episodes this season and they dealt with it very well. They were making Scrubs references throughout the episode and when Abed explained to Troy that Zach Braff left Scrubs after 6 episodes in their last season, Troy said “what! After all Scrubs had done for him! How could he!” A very funny obvious reference to Donald’s decision to leave Community. Their handling of that joke really made me feel like they were getting Community back on track.
If you DVR’d Community but aren’t sure if you should watch it, do so. If you skipped it totally because you had no idea it was premiering on Jan 2nd or because you thought the show has sucked for the last few seasons, then head to NBC because they have the first two episodes online for you to watch. Either way, I recommend watching because Community is back.
Community airs on NBC Thursdays at 7:00.