With everything the show’s been through, Gabriel Buttigieg thinks this news is nothing to worry about.
Only last week, it was reported that Community cast member Donald Glover would be appearing in only five of the upcoming fifth season’s 17 episodes (it’s said that it’s in order for Glover to focus on his music career). Shortly afterwards, a palpable cry of “Oh, Lord, the end is nigh!” arose from the Community fanbase, as it so often does. Some fans think this news will open the door to other cast members leaving, while others – with the certainty of Rapturists – say that the show is definitely going to be cancelled this time. So, are Community fans right to be paranoid? Is it the beginning of the end for the show?
It seems that most of the fans’ fears stem from the fact that Community has never really been popular. So what if it’s received awards and accolades and let journalists finally get to use terms like ‘meta’ and ‘innovative’ in a television review? It can’t possibly contend with ratings giants like How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.
Despite a tortuous production, Community’s first two seasons were good, solid comedy
Community’s rumoured tortuous production has always been worrying – stories of pitch meetings where prospective writers were terrified of speaking up and last minute rewrites in a haze of booze and drugs being the most common. It’s amazing the show even got aired. Yet, despite (or perhaps because of) this, Community’s first two seasons were good, solid comedy. There was good characterisation, references woven in without being awkward and re-imaginings of old sitcom ideas. Yes, the third season did drag a bit, but it was still better than most other shows on the air.
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Unfortunately, ratings plummeted and NBC decided to put the show on an indefinite hiatus. They didn’t count on Community having such a strong and very loyal fanbase, though – these Community-warriors (Communists?) quickly took to the internet to campaign for its return. And you know what? Executives listened. Executives: big, cigar-smoking men who still don’t understand the hippity-hop. There was no time for Community fans to question why this had happened. They just knew that Community had a new season with the same cast and crew. Nothing could go wrong, the war was won!
Ironically, shortly afterwards, feuds began on set. Actor Chevy Chase left and Dan Harmon, beloved show-runner, was fired. A group of writers also left the show in protest. Chase filmed the rest of his scenes but with a different cast and crew, the result being that the whole of Community’s fourth season felt like Star Trek’s infamous episode, Spock’s Brain.
After a near-cancellation, a firing and disappearance of show-runners, Community is still on the air
Even after all that, though, Community is still on the air, is preparing for its fifth season and still has its loyal fans. Stranger still, NBC has brought back Dan Harmon as the show-runner, which has resulted in rumours being started – by me – that he is a wizard. Community’s been through a lot: a hiatus, a near cancellation, a firing, protests, the mysterious disappearance of temporary show-runners… So, whilst disappointing, a core cast member reducing their screentime is nothing to get excited about. Community fans, you have to relax. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?
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Featured image: NBC