An introduction to Community

There acommunity_leadre a lot of people who say that a TV show has changed their lives – just ask all the Whovians and Supernatural fangirls for example. And here’s me and the show that’s changed my life. Now, arguably, I would’ve graduated university with whatever topic I had chosen for my master’s thesis, but I chose this one. I chose Community.

Community was a show on NBC from 2009 until 2014. Then it got cancelled and moved to Yahoo Screen for its sixth season that just ended today. It’s about Greendale Community College and the study group that forms there to study Spanish. It’s a half hour comedy show that starts off normal enough – we have the handsome hero, the love interest, the lovable group of misfits for comedic relief… and then from about the second half of season 1 things just go bananas. They form a Mafia family and control the supply of chicken fingers for the school, they go into full action mode for a paintball game, they change into an Office-like mockumentary format, they have a campus wide pillow fight in the form of a History channel war feature, they plan an elaborate heist to save the school from becoming a tyranny, they have parallel universes and evil doppelgangers from the darkest timeline. They turn into thriller, action, science fiction, zombie horror, animated, post apocalyptic and dystopic adventures. From this intertextual and self-aware chaos emerges a show that is – in the words of the PBS idea Channel – a perfectly postmodern masterpiece.

I wrote my thesis on Community’s narrative strategies – in particular its intertextuality and metafictional elements. In simple words I wrote about all of its references and allusions to other shows and films and about its self-aware comments about how it’s all a fictional show. I wrote about a 100 pages in the span of one year. I defended them in an oral exam and I got excellent grades on both of those. So it’s safe to say that I know about Community and it is a pretty important show to me.

The sixth season, which wasn’t a part of my thesis because it aired a couple of weeks after I graduated, ended today as I previously mentioned. The finale was perfect in the way it posed questions about the future of the show – in particular about how they can go on when they’ve lost so many of the original cast and all of their original premise. The tagline that Community fans used to fight against the cancellation of the show – Six seasons and a movie – was successful so far. Now we just need the #andamovie.

Community wasn’t that popular. It’s certainly not The Big Bang Theory (and thank God for that, because TBBT isn’t a particularly good show). What it is is a show for TV and film geeks and a show that celebrated weirdness and goodness. It’s a show that perfectly illustrates the postmodern world, that’s always filled with entertainment and confuses reality and fiction. It’s New Comedy and Meta-Television. It puts the socially inept character in the role of a god and lets him shine, instead of putting him down and laughing at him. It is all of this…

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…and some more.

P.S. it’s also not just a “normal” show in between all of this. And it’s wonderful.

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