#SixSeasonsAndAMovie — We first became aware of this concept in “Paradigms of Human Memory”, episode twenty-one of season two. It was a joke in reference to the NBC show “The Cape”, which obviously did not make it that long. However, when “Community” started to have its distribution trouble and was pulled from the air in the middle of its third season, #SixSeasonsAndAMovie became the call to arms for every fan to have their beloved show back on the air. Since then, creator and show runner Dan Harmon has been fired and rehired, three major cast members have left, and the show’s even been cancelled. Yet, here we are, and “Community” has now fulfilled the first half of that hashtag.
It all culminated in “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” which aired, or I guess was uploaded to Yahoo! Screen, on Tuesday June 2, the season and possibly series finale. Unlike the season five finale, which was also in the season/series finale limbo, this felt like it could be a real goodbye. Season five ended with a lot of hope of return, whereas season six with learning to move on. It makes the case that maybe season seven should just be in your head and can continue however you wish. Characters can leave, come back, form new relationships… Whatever you want.
In Dan Harmon‘s typical meta-way, we see how all of the Save Greendale Committee would have their season sevens go. Britta (Gillian Jacobs) wants “Community” to be a hard-edged drama with her as Greendale’s leader and the Dean (Jim Rash) as a transgendered person. Chang (Ken Jeong) invents Ice Cube Head, who zaps people with blue positivity lasers and eats cell phones. And the Dean, of course, has Jeff (Joel McHale) take his shirt off. Like “Remedial Chaos Theory” and “Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps”, jumping to these various hypothetical scenarios is an excellent way of building and exposing character.
But even though this show is an ensemble show, McHale’s Jeff is still at the center of it all, in fact more so since the first season. We see multiple versions of his season seven, showing that the further away the characters get from him in reality, the closer he brings them into his fantasy. This includes a season seven where he and Annie (Alison Brie) are together with a child. Even though this is not something he truly wants, he’s scared and a bit jealous the other people around him will have experiences he never let himself have. Annie and his final conversation is some of the most on-point writing Harmon and Chris McKenna have done all season.
With the immense amount of changes “Community” has gone through, this episode was about as fitting an end as we could hope for. Yes, Pierce (Chevy Chase) is dead, Troy (Donald Glover) is off an a boat (and possibly still kidnapped by pirates) with LeVar Burton, and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown, who had an awesome cameo this episode) is away as well, but for what the show has evolved into, this was pretty perfect. Oh, and funny. I forgot to mention that. Really funny.
Dan Harmon is such a skilled character creator, making you really invested in their relationships, that you sometimes forget “Community” at its core is a sitcom, and its main goal is laughs. This one delivered. Obviously, the most memorable jokes to people will be the instances of the Dean and Britta dropping f-bombs, the first in the season without any network restrictions. Then there’s the group consistently putting the Dean in a diaper in their season sevens and, of course, the jabs at the Marvel movies. The jokes are meta, slap-sticky, pop culture-savvy, and just completely absurd. I love that the humor of the show is never confined to just one thing.
But now we come to the decision of whether or not a season seven will happen. Discussions are happening on that issue, but once again, the show will probably have to change. The Ken Jeong starring pilot “Dr. Ken” was picked up to series, Paget Brewster is cast on the new show “Grandfathered” with John Stamos, and Gillian Jacobs is starring in the new Netflix show “Love”, which is currently filming. Should the show continue, should they just finish out the hashtag with a movie, or should this be it?
I think we should wait and see what Dan Harmon’s decision is and go along with it. Harmon has proven himself as the man who knows “Community” better than anyone. After all, he did create the show, and we have seen the unfortunate things that happen when he is not show runner. If he has more things to say at Greendale, I will gladly go along with him. If he decides this is it, I am fine with that too. Of course, I want to see more episodes with these characters I love, but I don’t want them forced. I will wait and see what happens, but as it stands, this was a worthy finale to one of my favorite shows.
If you feel so inclined, you can watch the finale below.