I tend to get attached to shows I really like. Sometimes I get really, really attached and think I would be happy if the show never, ever ended. But that’s not realistic. All things come to an end, especially the good things. Yesterday, Yahoo! Screen aired the final episode in the sixth season of Community, and it was very likely the series finale. And it was brilliant.
The show’s future is up in the air. Fans have rallied behind the beleaguered property for years, pushing NBC to keep it going with the #SixSeasonsAndAMovie hashtag. But ratings lagged, and Community was eventually cancelled at the end of season 5, only to be picked up, almost miraculously, by Yahoo! for a sixth season.
Yahoo! may keep the show going, but the S6 finale had an air of finality to it. Pierce (Chevy Chase) died in S5 (though he was essentially gone in S4), Troy (Donald Glover) left halfway through S5 (a devastating blow), and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) was gone at the beginning of S6. And now, with the study group’s sixth year at Greendale Community College over, more characters have departed to live their lives out in the world. And from what I’ve seen on social media, fans seem to be ready to let them move on and to move on themselves. And while I was resistant at first, I’ve come to accept that it may be time.
But why? If we “Communies” love the show so much, why would we want it to end? Well, the Community community is unique. Maybe we’re made up of weird loners or something, but we’ve all strangely come to regard the “study group” as friends, as if they really existed in our lives. It’s hard to let them go, but, as the finale did a great job of pointing out to all of us, if we really care about them, then we’ll want them to develop in a true way. Is it logical for them to hang out at a community college for seven, eight, nine, ten years? Of course not. The best film, TV, books, whatever are built on truth. The best characters have the desires that we all have, and for the characters who inhabited Greendale for the past six seasons, their desire should be to grow and move on, to leave the nest and see what life has for them. Just like real people. It’s both sad and beautiful.
During one of the final scenes of the finale (and one of the most heart-wrenching for me personally), Lord Huron’s Ends of the Earth is playing. I don’t think a more fitting song could’ve been chosen to help us say goodbye to Greendale (for now). The song says, “What good is livin’ a life you’ve been given, if all you do is stand in one place.” Exactly so.
It may be weird to say, but just as Jeff Winger tells his friends in the finale, “I love that I got to be with you guys,” I too love that Community was a part of my life. It spoke to me in a way few TV shows have been able to and certainly no comedy shows. It was so much deeper than its jokes.
So, now that we’ve had our six seasons, is there any real hope of a Community movie? Joel McHale told Conan O’Brien that he thought they’d be doing one if show creator Dan Harmon wrote the script. I hope it happens, even if they have to crowd source it. It worked with Veronica Mars, so maybe it would work for Community. I’d certainly would be willing to support it. And I think there’s definitely a way a movie could be done without minimizing the fact that the characters have moved on. Greendale might need saving again (it still has its enemies—cough … City College), or I don’t think an old fashioned class reunion would be out of the question, either. The fans definitely want it, and although Harmon has proven with this finale that it’s sometimes good to not always give the fans what they want, fan service isn’t necessarily to be avoided at all costs.
In honor of the show’s (assumed) end, I want to list my top five favorite episodes. There are so many brilliant ones; it was really hard to try and identify a top five. But here they are:
5. Advanced Advanced Dungeons and Dragons—S5E10
The second of the D&D episodes in which the Committee to Save Greendale (formerly known as the study group) help Professor Hickey (Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks) reconnect with his son (David Cross) by playing another epic round of Dungeons and Dragons.
4. A Fistful of Paintballs and For a Few Paintballs More—S2E23 and S2E24
The second paintball contest (Community’s way of paying homage to the action movie genre) stretched over two episodes and emulated tropes from Westerns in the first episode, while the second was inspired by Star Wars (there’s a great Han Solo/Princess Leia moment with Abed and Annie). Completely brilliant. And yes, I’m counting both episodes as one.
3. Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing—S6E4
Chang (Ken Jeong) lands a role in a stage adaptation of The Karate Kid. Enough said.
2. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons—S2E14
In an effort to prevent a depressed student from offing himself, the study group organizes a game of AD&D to cheer him up. Unfortunately, Pierce gets angry at being excluded and threatens to derail the whole thing. Chaos ensues.
1. Remedial Chaos Theory—S3E3
The study group plays a game of Yahtzee! which creates a series of alternate timelines, including what becomes known as The Darkest Timeline, inhabited by the group’s darkest versions of themselves. This episode is worth watching for Abed’s Indiana Jones diorama alone. The series is worth watching for this episode alone.
So, there you have it. If you haven’t seen Community, I definitely think you should give it a shot. Watch the first season, and if you’re not hooked by then, so be it. The first five seasons can be found on Hulu Plus, and season six, of course, is on Yahoo! Screen. I’m a bit envious of the people who haven’t discovered this show yet and have all six season ahead of them to enjoy. I wish I could watch it again with new eyes. I’ve already watched through all six seasons more than once (and I’ve watched the finale three times—yeah, I know), and I think the show made me laugh just as much the second time around.
Community will always be one of my all time favorites. It will be missed.