It’s one of those weeks where Friday rolls around and I find that I’m writing my fifth post of the week. Granted, two of them were reviews and one of them I co-wrote, but it’s still a lot. One of my favourite things to do to shake up the ol’ grey matter is watch a little TV, so of course I ended up finding myself unable to blog about anything else but the finale to Season 5 of Community.
Strangely enough, this is the show that’s appeared most on this site [save for 2 Broke Girls, but y’know]. While I began with discussing Season 3’s wonky airing schedule, I very soon turned to providing constructive criticism. Then came two posts where Gordon and I discussed Seasons 4 and 5, respectively, in which I took to defending the show and the directions it was taking [in contrast with his outright vilifying it]. Having just come off of that last episode I’m not sure I can maintain that stance anymore.
Let’s be upfront, I haven’t been completely on board with the show for a while. As a hang-out show it began to fall short of the mark for me when the Greendale Seven began to really live up to their name, in that there could be no additions to that number. I know it’s been a really long time, but does anyone remember Chang and the Pop-and-Lock-a-thon? That dude literally popped and locked until he fell down and they still didn’t let him into the group.
In a way, I think that this is pretty exemplary of the show and its fanbase. The AV Club’s very own Todd VanDerWerff, who wrote all of the reviews I will be linking to, readily admitted that:
“Community, unlike, say, Parks And Recreation, is in a format that seems to be deliberately polarizing. If you can’t get on its particular wavelength, it’s going to seem a little cold and clinical to you, and the fact that its fanbase can be a little … relentless certainly doesn’t help matters.”
I was on that wavelength for a while, and after some time found myself off of it. In the meantime the show has continued on, with fans, if anything, growing ever strong with their love for it. They’ve quickly forgiven Season 4, chalking it up to Dan Harmon’s absence and going along and fully embracing the now-canon explanation that it was all a gas leak.
Even still, that doesn’t explain why I feel alone in my complete and utter disdain for the following joke:
Abed, I think you’re thinking of the word “loaves”. That, or “sub rolls”. I cannot for the life of me understand why or how this joke made it into the episode, because it just doesn’t make sense to me. Still, I trawl through the various comment sections of each review and peruse r/community and I’m sitting here like:
On that same note, I have had it up to here with Mr. Nadir [I am holding my hand a little above my right eyebrow]. With Pierce Hawthorne gone, I can’t think of a better candidate to replace the role of TV character we hate to love to hate, or something. For me personally, anyway.
I can really only compare him to Sheldon Cooper, and the similarities are many. They’re the top two entries on the Wikipedia article for Asperger syndrome in popular culture, which speaks for itself as far as their social abilities. While the Big Bang Theory star’s brusque attitude is vastly more off-putting, the truth is that it would be difficult to be around either for long periods of time. There’s a reason for this happening-
-and honestly, it’s fine to a point. It’s great that he has a supportive group of friends who put up with him, but there’s a difference between putting up with him and not calling him out on stuff. In “VCR Maintenance And Educational Publishing” his pushiness when it comes to Annie borders on rudeness. You know what happens, though? She lets it slide.
At this point I’ve become painfully aware that this has turned into me airing out my grievances against Community as a whole, so let me step back and recollect my thoughts. To a point, a lot of my criticisms about the show are somewhat subjective, and to say that fans are overlooking them is a tad presumptuous. The issue I take overall is that they’re overlooking, well, anything negative.
The mantra among the hardcore [unfortunately I was unable to find an encompassing title for the bunch] is this:
It may surprise all of you, having read this far, that I’m not against it. We just wrapped up a fifth season that, if I’m honest with myself, was not terrible. Generally B material, which considering the state of television is really quite good. What I really want is not just for this show to improve, but for the fanbase to as well. That’s a tall order, so I’m going to write at least one more paragraph about it.
From just about the beginning Harmon and co. have been creating twenty-some minute installments of television that have stretched the boundaries of genre and convention. That’s great. I’m a pretty huge fan of their love letter to Mafia flicks, as well as the crazed fever dream that was the Dean-centric episode on filming an ad for Greendale. These were great episodes that weren’t just gimmicks, that were thoroughly funny and did good character work as well.
It would be fantastic if we would ask for more from the people who were bringing us homages to G.I. Joe, which sounds selfish but maybe sometimes pushing the envelope isn’t enough? Jason Mraz didn’t get a free pass because he recorded an album that tasted from nearly every musical genre, he was praised because as a whole it was good.
Go on blindly accepting everything thrown together by a certain creative team, or bearing a particular title and suddenly G.I Jeff’s words over on the right describe your situation. Honestly, the “gas leak” that was Season 4 was just countless references to a show in its heyday, and people actually ate it up. People don’t look back on it warmly as a whole, but are still caught saying “Well, at least it was Community.” That sort of thing should never be the case regardless of the medium.
All of this to say that Community has left me cold for quite some time, and I’d like it to return to being a show I looked forward to catching on Hulu come Friday. I would love to see people who say they love it asking for more and for better, because seriously, and this is my last nitpick and final point-
In the penultimate episode of Season 5 the Save Greendale Committee saved Greendale, and suddenly it was in danger of being bought up by Subway. They fixed so many of the school’s problems that it became an asset instead of a liability. In the face of losing what is, I suppose, their home they come up with precisely nothing.
What if, bear with me here, but what if they undid everything that they did. I kid you not at all when I say that I sat there waiting for them to come to this conclusion of becoming livid when they did not. The answer was literally . . . it was literally the . . . just look at what you did and undo it!
I realize that people hate to criticize what they love, but the fact that I never saw a single person in any forum bring this up is mindboggling. Open your eyes, people! That’s bad writing!