By now, no doubt, even if you haven’t watched Community you’ve probably heard about it. Yes, you might have only heard about it because it was pulled from the air for an indefinite amount of time but now is the time to really pay attention because it’s coming back!
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’ve been a long term fan of Community, especially Danny Pudi who plays Abed.
While it was away, the online community for Community has social-networked itself into some healthy buzzes of recognition. As a fan, it’s been fun to watch. In the same way that Firefly acolytes, Browncoats, are still creating* art inspired by the Whedon one-season epic, Human Beings (the fictional mascot of the show’s fictional community college) have celebrated the show in its absence.
My favorites include this spoofy drawing of the cast as Batman villains:
As well as Megan Lara’s tee of Abed and Troy in the style of Calvin and Hobbes*:
However, as Vulture points out: if it’s going to stay back, more people need to watch it.
The question is always, how do you make that happen? The article from Vulture “Community for Newbies” gives you a list of five episodes to start from because
Community is often called “meta” because of its frequent allusions — an entire Claymation episode, an Apollo 13 homage, a Halloween episode that doubled as a zombie movie. But that’s not quite the point: Community treats genre as malleable. Think of genre here they way you might think of patients on doctor shows, or cases on lawyer shows, or spoof-centric episodes of The Simpsons. (You can hear creator Dan Harmon expound on this on his “WTF” episode.) Don’t worry about catching every nuance of the homage — just enjoy the ride.
And I completely agree with this. Part of what gives Community its charm, and fan-base, is that it’s willing to push the envelope on what we expect from big non-cable networks. While it’s clear that plenty of people love this show, it’s clear that many of them are geeks and geek-o-philes, an audience that is fiercely loyal whether or not the shows/movies/etc. they love stick around. Part of this may because it’s easier for misfits to relate to the show.
What we have in Community is a world where characters of different racial and religious backgrounds are defined not by their census categories, but by their very extreme personality quirks. The study group at the show’s epicenter has not bound together because of or in spite of their differences, but because of their undeniable love for one another.
The show is also refreshingly feminist and non-racist, as noted in a great round-table with the women of the cast and one of their (yes, there’s more than one!) female writers over on The Daily Beast. Where Gillian Jacobs re-counts a feminist scholar referring to her as her character: “Britta Perry, feminist icon,” Yvette Nicole Brown discusses how happy she has been to not be pigeonholed as the “sassy black woman,” and Alison Brie notes that Danny Pudi has played “four or five Sanjays” with an accent.
I just wonder if people who don’t fall into this main group of geeks will be able to take the advice to “enjoy the ride.” Because it’s that group that needs to be courted/converted/begged into the fold to keep this show alive.
So what do you think it will take to keep Community afloat? Have you watched it? Will you start? Are you a loyal fan, and if so, what are you doing to spread the word?
Community returns to NBC on March 15 at 8:00 (set your DVRs NOW!) and past seasons are available on DVD, Netflix, and Hulu Plus.