They have “Troy and Abed in the Morning Mugs”. They own the “All 5 Dances!” shirt. They tweet things like #sixseasonsandamovie and #anniesmove. They never say the word “cool” once— they say it four times.
These are the loyal fans of Community. The smart, always unique show that NBC has relegated to a fourth and final 13-episode season. These fans are the reason this show, that has never had the highest viewer numbers, has survived.
As a loyal fan myself, I was always on edge these past three years because it seemed that the show that brought me immense joy for a half hour on Thursday nights would be canceled. But, time and time again, NBC responded to the fervor of Community’s cult following, bringing the show back again for second and third seasons.
I’ll admit, NBC— you sly devils— you gave us all a scare when you put Community on that mid-season hiatus last year. Nothing against 30 Rock, but I resented the hell out of Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin (for a little) for taking up my beloved show’s airtime.
This last season, however, will be different and in a very sad way. For a show that exuded so much fun and ridiculousness, the goings-on behind the scenes painted a very different picture of what they show might be in this final season. Gone are some of the key writers for the show, Chris McKenna and Dino Stamatopolous, executive producers and frequent directors, Joe and Anthony Russo (also directors of Arrested Development), and, of course, show creator and executive producer, Dan Harmon.
So, what does this mean for Community? It means that a fervently loyal fanbase will still glue themselves to the TV on Friday nights (the dreaded “death slot”) to watch this final season of the fantastic sitcom. Despite the absence of a great deal of writers, producers and directors that made Community so great for three seasons, the entire cast is returning to give the fans what they really want. And, the writers and producers were kind enough to leave enough loose ends in the story (Jeff’s dad, Britta and Troy’s budding relationship, what outfit the Dean will choose next) for the new writers and showrunners to take over and run with.
So, despite a Chang (not a typo) in writing and production, Community’s fans are hopeful. Hopeful that Jeff, Britta, Troy, Annie, Abed, Shirley, Dean Pelton, Chang and yes, even Pierce, can bring this magical show to the ending it deserves.
SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE.