It's been more than a year now since Community finished its six season run, after a slew of production related ups and downs and rejigs of the central cast made the last few seasons a behind-the-scenes struggle. But was the final season really Community's last hurrah?
The phrase "six seasons and a movie" will be well known to fans of the show, just one of many Community meta shout-outs. It's something that has long been pushed for by show creator Dan Harmon, reaffirmed recently in a new interview with Polygon where he describes the occurrence of a Community movie as inevitable:
"We live in a world where 'Veronica Mars' happened because fans were excited about it. The 'Community' fans have riled for this movie. The cast wants to do the movie. I want to do the movie. It's going to inevitably happen."
With so much support behind the concept, it's almost a little surprising that we haven't heard any solid news about the prospect of a Community movie yet. But, as Harmon points out, the devil is in the details. A feature takes a huge amount of planning and — most importantly — the financial backing of network executives. Until said shadowy network executives approve the production of the project, the fans, cast and crew are all in limbo.
So now, as Community Season 6 begins streaming on Hulu, we take a look back at why the little show that could deserves that fabled six seasons, and a movie.
1. Community Deserves A Proper Goodbye
Like all long-running television sitcoms, Community certainly had its ups and downs in terms of quality. A troubled production behind the scenes and a cancellation caused many a hiccup, with the show moving from NBC to Yahoo! for its final season.
The bust ups between Harmon and main series cast member Chevy Chase (Pierce Hawthorne) certainly didn't help matters either — leading to Harmon leaving between Seasons 3 and 4 before returning for Season 5, and Chase leaving permanently at the end of Season 4.
Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley Bennett) was released from her contract at the end of Season 5 due to her father's health issues, as she left the show to look after him. The reasons behind Donald Glover's (Troy Barnes) departure at the beginning of Season 5 are slightly more cloudy, but it seems he too left due to personal issues.
As for the rest of the cast, their contracts all ended with the farewell to Season 6, though Joel McHale (Jeff Winger) is positive that they'd come back for one last hurrah, as he told Esquire:
"The cast would do it. We would all do it."
Whether or not this "all" applies to Chase and Brown is unclear, though it's unlikely that we'd see Chevy Chase appearing again — one, because now he's made clear his distaste for the show, and two, because Pierce has been dead since the end of Season 4. Community deserves a final hurrah with as many of the core characters as they can get on board though, because at the end of the day, that's what the show was all about.
2. We Can't Get Enough Of The Study Group
Jeff Winger: "You've just stopped being a study group. You've now become something unstoppable. I hereby pronounce you a community."
After Season 4 threw certain spanners into certain works with the turmoil of the central cast, the cracks began to show in Community. Indeed the poor reception of Season 4 prompted NBC to bring Harmon back for Season 5, but by that point two central cast members had already been lost, and another was on their way out.
This led to many changes in the central group, and the loss of the original study group "community" dynamic. Because it was this that made the great things about Community so great.
The majority of successful sitcoms are tightly focused upon a core group of friends, often misfits, thrown together at the beginning of the show and chronicling the way the relationships within that group evolve over the course of various seasons. A lot of Community's humor comes from this, as does its touching moments.
The attraction of the show was the little bubble that it created in the study group. A surreal space for these characters to act out the over-the-top comedy that defines them. An opportunity to return to that world would be welcome for many audiences now, a year on from the series finale.
3. Meta Is In Right Now
In many ways Community was ahead of its time, a contentious claim but one that feels applicable here. A great draw of the series was the meta facet employed skillfully through the character of Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) — the fourth wall breaking media fanatic who narrated the lives of the study group and blended the diegetic narrative with that of the viewer.
This facet of storytelling was pushed to the forefront of popular culture recently with the marketing around the release of Fox-Marvel's superhero blockbuster Deadpool, of which the titular character is known for his fourth wall breaking and direct audience address.
It's unlikely to become a staple of cinema anytime soon due to the jarring effect it can have when overused or employed incorrectly, but Community uses this dynamic to great effect. Tapping into the previous point about the core group of the show, Abed directly addresses those concerns when Frankie Dart (Paget Brewster) is first introduced at the beginning of Season 6:
Abed Nadir: "My umbrella concern is that you, as a character, represent the end of what I used to call 'our show,' which was once an unlikely family of misfit students and is now a pretty loose-fit group of students and teachers, none of whom are taking a class together in a school which, as of your arrival, is becoming increasingly grounded, asking questions like, 'How do any of us get our money?' How do any of us get our degrees?' and 'What happened to that girl I was dating?'"
Many of these questions were left unanswered — what did happen to that girl Abed was dating? — and though the final episode was a highly rated success and excellent series finale, there's enough material to spin out one last hurrah for the Study Group.
4. It Struck A Very Contemporary Cord Of Humor
There's a certain bittersweet humor to Community that is becoming popularized in the realm of animation right now, from Rick and Morty — Harmon's current project alongside Justin Roiland — to the Will Arnett starring BoJack Horseman.
Moving seamlessly from paintball themed episodes to dealing with the darker fundamental problems of each dysfunctional character, the often over the top humor is punctuated by moments of genuine emotion. And when they hit, they hit hard.
This dynamic allows Community to address the issues each character has, which they work through and overcome through interaction with their environment. The show doesn't always try to offer any answers or solutions to these questions though, because sometimes there aren't any, sometimes there's just the community.
5. It Gave Us All A Community
Community was kind of like pizza: even when it was bad, it was still pretty good. And, living up to its namesake, it gave us all a little piece of community. Things change, people grow — shows and characters have to adapt to that just as we do out here in the real world.
Community knew this, a show about a group of lost, dysfunctional individuals who were brought together by perhaps the more dysfunctional of them all, and it chronicled the way in which they all grew together to become a family, despite their differences and flaws.
As Harmon points out, Community has already managed to survive several major production problems — including being cancelled — due to the fact that it has such a passionate fanbase.
And as Jeff says in the pilot episode, the group has gone beyond being just a study group. Over the six seasons the show ran, they became a community. And that is something unstoppable.
Community Season 6 is now available to stream on Hulu! Which is your favorite Community episode? Tell us in the comments below!