With the season and possibly series finale of Community airing on Yahoo Screen last week, the television and streaming world has been forever changed. This quirky sitcom created by Dan Harmon leaves behind it a legacy that helped pave the way for many shows that will follow it.
Community had an ensemble cast led by Joel McHale and featured the day-to-day life at a community college. It was a simple premise that the show’s writers ran with.
The show could allow for anything, paintball to pillow forts and from time to time to dip its toe into other genres. A season wasn’t complete without an episode dedicated to a type of film making or television style.
It’s not this premise or the storylines that set Community apart from the rest of television when it debuted in 2009 (though they both totally do). It was the rabid fan base that the show was able to garner that helped it stay alive.
In all honesty, Community should not have stayed on the air for longer than one or two seasons. It is the antithesis of all other formulaic network sitcoms.
There were no laugh tracks, jokes came hard and fast, and the audience was expected to keep up. Sometimes references or jokes were hidden beneath so many other layers that it would be impossible to catch without repeated viewings.
This type of atmosphere caught the internet by storm. Almost immediately Community became a touchstone for all groups of people, comedy nerds, television nerds, film buffs, and even pop culture connoisseurs found something to latch onto.
These fans are what kept the show on and going for an improbable six seasons. Threats of cancellation and the show ending were met by loud support and love from them.
They kept the show going and allowed it to be a cult hit even though it was never a ratings winner.
Community bred the sort of fan base that loudly calls for revisiting popular shows they feel died before their time. These are the fans that asked and received more Arrested Development and begged and are receiving a new X-Files.
Community established this symbiotic relationship with the fans that made them believe that they were a large part of the show behind the scenes.
It was a smart, quirky, and well written show that didn’t deserve to live this long except that fans fell in love.
The show at its extremes might be an episode of documenting a documentary or simply a one room dialogue filled bottle episode. Both of those extremes point out what the show was, fun.
Everything was meant for the audience to enjoy and to entice them to come back and watch again.
With the final episode, each of the character’s stories were nicely tied up in a very final way. If this is the end of Community, it was well deserved.
Harmon was able to write his own ending and finish the show where he wanted to and that’s more than any fan ever thought was possible.
It was an incredible show that was allowed to end on its own terms. That sort of sendoff is not usually awarded to shows and it will be missed.
If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out.