TV Review | New season of ‘Community’ already seems promising
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 01:02
It was a crazy summer vacation for “Community.” Creator Dan Harmon left the show to go work on other projects, and NBC halved its season to only 13 episodes. Despite these changes, “Community” is finally back and appears to have had a smooth transition into the post-Harmon era with a solid first couple of episodes, and will likely continue its reign as the smartest comedy on television.
“Community” is set at Greendale Community College and follows the lives of the members of a peculiar study group: slacking, self-centered Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), quirky, pop culture obsessed, Abed Nadir (Danni Pudi) who is best friends with the trusting Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), kind and pure Annie Edison (Alison Brie), buzz-kill Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), highly religious mother Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown) and finally, the conniving and stubborn Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase). The gang is also frequently visited by the slightly mad ex-Spanish teacher cum security guard cum dictator SeñorChang (Ken Jeong) and the eccentric, Dalmatian loving Dean Pelton (Jim Rash).
In the fourth season of the show, the study group is completing its senior year at Greendale. For a sitcom, there are a ton of plot arcs that can take place in this shortened season.
The main storylines include Troy and Britta’s budding relationship, Jeff’s pioneer meeting with his father while graduating a semester earlier than the rest of the group because of his summer class credits and Señor Chang’s contraction of “Chang-nesia.”
Additionally, the writers were forced to write Pierce out of the show by the end of the season, as Chase has chosen to leave the show after this season. And if all of that weren’t enough, on a recent AMA on Reddit, one of the writers for Community revealed something huge that’s going to occur at some point this season.
The first episode in season four played off of general fears that the show would be much worse and significantly different from the smart, quirky show that “Community” fans have come to love now that Harmon is out of the picture. The beginning of the episode depicts Greendale as if it were a typical sitcom, including a laugh track, plenty of puns and Fred Willard playing a kinder version of Pierce. However, it is soon revealed that this version of Greendale is only in Abed’s head and the episode soon returns to reality. This first episode was original and funny and picked up right where season three left off.
As promising as the first episode was in assuring high quality for the rest of the season, the second episode brought those expectations back down to earth. The second episode was a little too formulaic and most of the jokes were pretty weak.
Based on these first two episodes and the previous seasons, season four of “Community” will probably be a mixed bag of genius episodes along with some average ones.
The plot arcs alone are interesting and if the writers toss in some clever parody episodes --— like the completely unexpected video game episode at the end of last season — then this season should be as memorable as the rest.
Although “Community” has been the most original sitcom of the past decade and has developed a devoted cult following, NBC has yet to renew Community for a fifth season. However, if “Community” can get a B+ or higher this semester (which is definitely possible), then expect a fifth season. If things go exceptionally well, maybe Abed can get his “six seasons and a movie.”