Yep, Community‘s getting a 6th season, and if you’re a sane person, your reaction to this news should probably look a little something like this:
Community is a bad show, people. Really bad. And it’s been bad for a long time and continued to get worse. The dang thing’s been cancelled twice now, and each and every time I hope it’s been put in the ground for good. But apparently you can staple the dang thing to the floorboards of Satan’s wine cellar and it still won’t be enough.
But we’re not here to talk about Community and how it’ll almost certainly continue to be a grotesque travesty of the glorious show it once was. We’re here to talk about its return in general (resurrected by Yahoo for their exclusive video service) and what ticks me off so much about it.
I. It’s Rewarding Passion, Not Quality
The supporters of Community are some of the most rabid, single-minded fans out there- exceeding even some of the more hardline religions. Heck, the only difference between them and Scientologists is that one group is obsessed with something side-splittingly funny and the other group are fans of Community. Evan already documented the show’s increasing loss of mass appeal in favor of its most die-hard fans, and it’s here that we find our first issue. Community is not being brought back because of an increase in quality, or a bold new direction with the story, or even because there’re questions which needed resolving- it’s because an already obnoxious collection of followers managed to scream longer and louder than everyone else.
I don’t like this as precedent.
Don’t get me wrong people- there are shows- tons of shows- which I think got cancelled before their time. And I’m not blaming Yahoo for making what is undoubtedly a good financial decision.
I just don’t think a monumental hissy-fit should get rewarded. Same goes for Firefly, Jericho, Dollhouse, Deadliest Warrior, or my own beloved Ugly Americans.
II. It’s Feeding Into A Terrible Fanbase
I think I can make a fairly solid argument for Community fans being some of the most objectively annoying folks out there, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that this group is being given what has increasingly been a show tailored exclusively to their own interests.
“So what?” you might say, “No one’s forcing you to watch it- what’s wrong with them having a show devoted to their own humor?”
It’s bad television, that’s what’s wrong with it.
Simply put, I don’t think the audience should always get what it wants. It makes for vapid, unchallenging material. Imagine what a dull, pointless series Game of Thrones would be if it were created to the most base desires of its fans. Instead of a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching series, we’d still be on the story of Ned Stark: Fantasy Sleuth.
I think the point of any art is to be a dialogue between the creator and the viewer. You’re going to see stuff you like and stuff you don’t. You’re going to see stuff you agree with and stuff you don’t- and that’s all because you’re supposed to be, in some way, shape, or form, bettered by it. I’m not saying every TV show is supposed to border on a spiritual experience, but I think anything with any redeeming quality should make you a more rounded human being- this doesn’t do that.
III. It’s Okay To Let Something Die
As much as there are shows which are killed off before their time, these pale in comparison to the number of bad shows which do rightly get the ax. FOX and NBC are freaking graveyards of agonizingly-bad sitcoms, formulaic cop shows, and cringe-worthy attempts at sci-fi. As someone who has had to watch The Simpsons and Dexter descend into hideous parodies of themselves, I do find myself wishing I’d have had the power to kill them when they still could have their dignity. Keeping Community on life-support isn’t going to bring it back- it’s just prolonging its slow, painful, and inevitable demise.
I know it’s not what anyone wants to hear, but you know it’s best. Knowing the show went out not with a bang but an extended fart-noise is going to make the good stuff that much harder to enjoy. You’ll always be sitting thinking “Ah, this is so good… such a shame it all fell to pieces.”
Sometimes you just gotta tell ’em about the rabbits.
And I know that I can’t Community from rearing its ugly head once again, but what I can do is implore you to all abide by the better angels of your natures. You shouldn’t always get what you want. Let’s not make this a habit. Not like this, anyways.