This article is not a review, it is not a descriptive work, it’s not even really an opinion piece. What this is is a plea, a desperate plea to all of those people on or off campus who value good television. This plea is in response to the news that broke early last week that the television show Community was being “temporarily removed from NBC’s schedule.”
For those of you who do not know, Community is a half-hour television comedy, created by Dan Harmon. The show stars Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), a lawyer whose degree from Columbia is discovered to be from the country Columbia and not the Ivy League school. Jeff enrols in community college to complete an undergraduate degree from an institution in the United States so he can return to his life as a lawyer.
In a ploy to pick up the hot blonde from his Spanish class, Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), Jeff creates a fake study group. Somehow, this study group endures and they all end up stuck with each other. By the end of the first season, seven very different, very strange members of the study group learn to love one another.
As I attempt to describe this show, I know that I am failing to do it justice. Words will always struggle to capture the ridiculousness of Greendale Community College. Still, there are three particular features of the show that not only deserve articulation but are also solid reasons the show must go on.
Troy Barnes (Donald Glover)
Over the two and a half seasons, Troy has not been utilized to his full potential. Yes, he and Abed have a strangely-hilarious-but-also-intimate friendship, and their special handshake always makes me smile, but for most of the first few seasons, Troy has been given time to develop slowly as a character. As season three was rolling along, Troy was just beginning to earn a serious story line and an interesting romantic future. If Community ends now, we will still have Donald Glover — a talented writer and musician — but we will lose the culmination of two and a half seasons worth of character build-up. This would be tragic.
Dean Pelton (Jim Rash)
As far as I am concerned, the dean of Greendale Community College is one of the most hilarious characters on television. If the show ended prematurely, his flamboyantly uncertain sexuality, his persistent affection for Jeff, his intercom announcements and his tight, tight costumes would be sorely missed.
The movement from a romantic show to a character based show
Community started off as a quirky romance, focusing heavily on Jeff and Britta. A show with this set-up can either do what Bones did, and suspend the tension for six seasons, or you can do what Seinfeld (kind of) did, and move your focus. Instead of concentrating on the original romantic relationship, you can choose to focus on each individual character. This is the plot that Community — quite deftly — weaves. Jeff and Britta are still important characters, but now Annie Edison (Alison Brie) becomes more than a cute brain, Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase) becomes more than a lonely old man, Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown) is more than just a crazy Christian, and Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) is more than just awkward and obsessed with pop culture. Even the minor characters — like Señor Chang, Professor Duncan, fat Neil and Starburns — all shine.
This is a television show that builds up and breaks down every social stereotype there is, all while making you laugh until you can barely breathe.
With television gems such as the paintball episodes, the Christmas clay-mation, and the clips-of-things-we-have-never-seen episode, I do not know how anyone could even consider taking this show off the air, even temporalily.
So please — and I am begging here — tune into Community, write to NBC, riot in the streets if you have to. Just, please, learn to love Community with all of the vigour and passion you can manage. It is an amazing television show that should not leave the airwaves, unless on its own terms.