Readers, this last week was a depressing week for me. No, no one died. Jesus, way to jump to conclusions Debbie Downer, but we did see the end of what I believe is one of those most incredibly written and ambitious non-HBO TV shows of this generation…possibly? NBC’s Community had its season four/maybe series finale in which (spoilers) Jeff Winger graduated Greendale Community College and the study group had to face off against the darkest timeline in one final paintball bout. To quote Abed, “[They] finally found a way to make paintball cool again.”
Community has been my favorite show for my entire college career, though to be fair I didn’t start Game of Thrones until after I graduated. The show has such a playfulness and imagination that I find many other show either completely lack or try too hard to force and end up seeming stilted and not funny at all (lookin’ at you Big Bang Theory). I can’t think of another non-animated show that was so experimental and hilarious in its genre spoofs. Just off the top of my head, there was a Law and Order, Pulp Fiction/Dinner with Andre, Star Wars, spaghetti western, action, zombie, claymation, musical, video game, etc etc etc episode of Community throughout the seasons.
However, within all the silliness, there was a serious sentimentality in which you could so easily connect yourself to at least one of the characters and their individual, if perhaps a bit cliché, struggles. The problems were as diverse as Study Group F with a single mother, recovering drug addict, serious childhood issues, fear of crumbling under pressure, mental illnesses; the list goes on and on. These are damaged characters underneath all the snark, adventure, and pop-pops and that’s what makes us truly love them. For a comedy, there are some really depressing episodes (see Troy’s birthday). It’s easy to be funny or dramatic but to mix the two in such a surprisingly light-hearted way was what made Community stand out. That and Jim Rash’s incredibly prepared wardrobe- it was deanlightful.
Now to be perfectly honest, the finale didn’t blow me away (though Alison Brie…damn), but it seemed fitting if nothing else. After all, who goes to community college fulltime for four years? The show needs to end, though I hate to think of a world without Troy and Abed in the Morning, lest it suffer from Scrubs syndrome and just drag on WAY too long to the point where we all just don’t care about JD anymore. And then that whole med school spin off? Ugh. Regardless, NBC has yet to announce if Community will be renewed for a fifth season in which somehow the majority of the Study Group is still in school.
UPDATE: Apparently there is now going to be a season five! Still hoping to not for the show to not get “Braffed.” (See above Scrubs rant for definition.)
On the other side of the relevantly symbolic coin, a show that was cancelled far too early, Arrested Development, is coming back! Yay! This is not a huge mistake! Yes sirs and madams, the wonderfully thoughtful and angelic people at Netflix that brought you House of Cards (and want to be forgiven for Hemlock Grove) are releasing all of season four of Arrested Development all at once on May 26 at 12:01 AM. Guess who has two thumbs and will probably fall asleep trying to watch the entire season that night. This guy, that’s who.
Arrested Development is just one of those genuinely hilarious shows with a at-the-time star studded cast that acted as a trampoline to launch most the cast to even greater heights. The rest ended up as voice actors on Archer. Behind lead man Jason Bateman, the Bluth family is coming back for a whole new 15-episode escapade that has a lot to live up to and I’m fairly confident will. The show has a wit and timing that few other comedies I’ve seen since have balanced with a solid mix of awkward humor, cultural references, and just over-the-top zaniness.
To try and explain the show would take far more time than I care to devote and you to read so do yourself a favor, get on Netflix, and watch the first three seasons. I powered through it the first time a few years ago in about two days. Good luck and remember, there’s always money in the banana stand.