Friday, March 16, 2012

Community Lives!

     It has been too long since the Greendale Human Beings had a presence on NBC's Comedy Night (which is a questionable description so long as Whitney or Up All Night are located in that scheduling block).  An aggressively absurdist show that finds most of its humor in between discomfort and conformity, Community (2009-present) has somehow failed to resonate with audiences.  Maybe it is the era.  When sitcoms that endlessly repeat the same situations – a winning formula established as early as the mid-1950s – are the most popular on the air, the risks Community takes may make it look strange and alien.
     For reasons that must relate to NBC's desire to stop being a major broadcast network, the best comedy currently in production has been treated like the ugly step-sister, somehow not as worthy of praise as The Office (2005-present, a show well past its prime) or the consistently overrated 30 Rock (2006-present).  Granted, Community took some time to become what it is, and what it is does not seem to be exactly the same thing from season to season.  Unlike Chuck Lorre's wildly popular shows, it doesn't hate its own characters (well, it may actually hate two of them, but I'd like to think it is more of a problem of knowing what to do with them in Season Three).
     I would have preferred that Community had come back with an episode that was stronger and friendlier to potential new viewers than "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts".  While it does a decent job keeping the energy and mood at the right level for the show, it felt rushed and a little contrived.  Part of the problem may be the ongoing problem on not knowing how to use Chevy Chase's character in Season 3, but I think it was much more likely that the show needed to be more about Shirley than the other characters reactions to her getting married to her once-and-future husband, Andre.
     Whatever complaints I may have, I tend to enjoy Community more than any other show that is currently on TV.  It will break my heart when it is cancelled at the end of the year, living on only in a short run at Comedy Central and in the DVD or Blu-ray sets die-hard fans purchase.  It isn't setting out to be easy.  It isn't as cheery as Parks and Recreation (2009-present), nor does it have an easily identifiable character around which to structure the shows. We'll see if the show can find some way to finish stronger than this last episode, but even the worst episode of Community is better than the crap NBC rolled out this year in a desperate attempt to keep viewers interested.
The characters, as a D&D nerd would understand them.  Except that Pierce should be announcing his victory in Dungeons & Dragons.  You know, the advanced kind.

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