After blazing through Community seasons 1-3, I was slightly dreading what I’d always heard was the worst part of the show. Although I had seen an episode or two, I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. And to be honest, I still don’t. The quality definitely declined a bit, but it’s hardly season 4 of Battlestar Galactica or the second half of Game of Thrones.
A surprisingly funny show became, rather quickly, just mediocre. And it stayed that way.
Community season 4 was the beginning of the downturn, but contrary to popular wisdom, it was hardly the low-point of the series. Not much to say here, just slogging along until its inevitable, unsatisfying demise.
e03 – “Conventions of Space and Time” for being not super wrong about the dynamics of a fan convention and giving us some good Troy/Abed interaction
e04 – “Alternative History of the German Invasion” because something about silly German accents delights me
e07 – “Economics of Marine Biology” for how very sad Magnitude was when Archie takes “Pop pop!” away from him
e05 – “Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations” for trying to shove this business with Jeff’s father down our throats
e09 – “Intro to Felt Surrogacy” for just being… pathetic
e13 – “Advanced Introduction to Finality” for being the absolute worst idea for a paintball episode they could have devised
Here’s where Community really started to get concerning for me. Losing Pierce between seasons wasn’t exactly the worst thing ever, but losing Troy around halfway through was a catastrophe. The show never recovered.
e03 – “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” for the absurdity of the Ass Crack Bandit and everything that entails (HA!)
e05 – “Geothermal Escapism” because it’s a solid episode, and there’s some good, classic Troy/Abed going on
e08 – “App Development and Condiments” for the ridiculous app idea and the classic ’70s sci-fi silliness
Also a shout-out to the single funniest moment on the show, Dean Pelton’s Payday Apology Rap
e05 – “Geothermal Escapism” for being the end of Troy and, I’m somewhat shocked to say, for surprising me with it
e10 – “Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” for harping on more daddy issues stuff without anyone being a cowboy
e11 – “G.I. Jeff” because it is just so very stupid
So guess what really really doesn’t work on a show. It’s when 3 of the 7 main characters leave in the space of 14 episodes and get replaced with all new people. This time, it’s Shirley.
Can you imagine if Friends lost Phoebe, Ross and Joey and all of a sudden had to rely on Chandler’s and Monica’s relationship for humor? It would be a catastrophe there, and it’s a catastrophe here.
e07 – “Advanced Safety Features” for giving Dean Pelton some good jokes
e08 – “Intro to Recycled Cinema” for being a good example of the way the show used to be
e09 – “Grifting 101” because it’s basically the last time the show felt like it was a good show
e02 – “Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care” because Britta is the worst and this is a Britta episode
e12 – “Wedding Videography” for taking the time to remind us that these are all horrible people we’ve been watching for 6 seasons and not really recovering them at all
e13 – “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” for being too meta and trying to make us feel stuff for a show that really, basically died a few seasons back
I’d argue that people are wrong. Season 4 of Community is hardly the worst part of the show, and the stuff that people say was missing was really hard to pinpoint. Honestly, it wasn’t the writers leaving that killed the show; it was the characters. Chang, Elroy, Frankie and Dean Pelton hardly make up for the losses of Pierce, Troy and Shirley. It’s still a worthwhile watch, but I’m hardly as enthusiastic about these last 3 seasons. It does not need a movie.
I miss Troy.