Tonight is a big night for us here at State-Lines. We don’t have any special articles being release; no special guests. No, tonight is the return of Community.
Why is this a big deal? Well, as you search through our contributors you’ll notice something common among all of us; we all love Community. So tonight, after nearly a year since NBC last aired an episode, Community returns for its fourth season. Although the ratings remain low, NBC seems to have put some faith in the “cult-like” following Community has received over its first three seasons.
Shortly after the end of the third season, Community creator Dan Harmon was promptly dumped off the show via Sony. The Community fan-base was in uproar, especially after Harmon used the almighty internet to tell his side of the story. Harmon explained that he did not know the reasons for why he was canned, nor did he want to know; “I kind of don’t want to hear what their complaints are because I’m sure it would hurt my feelings even more now that I’d be listening for free.” Harmon went on to tell his side of the story pointing out that he was not asked to take any part in Community to any extent, and that is title of “Executive Consultant” was merely a “standard protective clause” for a creator in his position.
Then after what I consider a professional rant, Harmon ended with “Mom, Happy Mother’s Day. I got fired.”
Harmon wasn’t the only major creative force to leave Community after season 3. Immediately after Harmon’s dismissal, writer Chris McKenna also left the show and NBC as a whole. Chris now writes for Fox’s The Mindy Project.
So where is the show to go now? As fans, can we expect the same Community that we’ve grown to love. State-Lines contributor and co-founder Jarrett Haas thinks so, stating “Dan Harmon built the house that the characters live in. The architect may be gone, but the tenants are still here. And it’s still a house party I want to hang out at”.
Despite what myself, Jarrett, or some of the other big fans of Community think, there are a few who disagree and think the show will be a bust. Community is a special case: most audiences don’t pay attention to what’s happening behind the scenes of most of their favorite shows. However, with Community it’s something totally different. Community is one of the most self-referential shows in TV history and with that comes a certain responsibility. Harmon had a big part in that and, as fans, we can only hope that those traditions carry on.
So what’s to expect this coming year? Knowing Community, the “changes” will be at the forefront of every episode. Using their backend humor, the creators and writers will surely find a way to have fun with it and pick back up right where the show left off.
As Dean Pelton will say towards the end of tonight’s premiere, “I don’t know why I was so worried about change. This year’s gonna be great!”
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