Community Unreston March 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm
The last time NBC aired an original episode of “Community” was on December 8, 2011. Think about that: Over three months without any Abed, Pierce, or Troy. No Annie, Chang, or Dean Pelton. No study group shenanigans. That, my friends, is far too long for such a hilarious and clever show to be off the air. Thankfully, “Community” returns from its extended hiatus this Thursday night with a brand new episode.
Even though it has received support from the press and its devoted fanbase, “Community” remains just a cult favorite when it comes to the Nielsen ratings. This shouldn’t be a shock to even the most hardcore fans of the show. After all, when you have episodes that focus on alternate timelines, zombie outbreaks due to bad hamburger meat, elaborate blanket forts, and epic paintball battles, you aren’t exactly courting the mainstream viewing public.
Of course, this very same mainstream viewing public can’t seem to get enough of “Two and a Half Men” and a multitude of crummy reality shows. So maybe they can’t appreciate what “Community” has to offer. But what I find most frustrating is the fact that there is a show already on the air that shares a lot of similarities with “Community,” but this other show doesn’t have a problem attracting viewers, while the future of “Community” always seems in doubt.
“Community” is, to put it simply, the live-action offspring of “The Simpsons.” Series creator Dan Harmon has been interviewed in the past about the various television shows that influenced the creation of “Community.” That list included the likes of “Taxi” and “Cheers,” and while I can see bits and pieces of those shows in the DNA of “Community,” it seems that “The Simpsons” is the biggest inspiration for the world of Greendale Community College.
Both shows are set in a place where it feels like anything can happen, no matter how ridiculous. Both are written with memorable and quotable dialogue. Both have a dysfunctional yet endearing group of lead characters. And both feature a quirky cast of supporting characters. (In a perfect world, there would be a crossover where Disco Stu and Magnitude have a dance off, and it would be glorious.)
This is just my roundabout way of saying that if you enjoy “The Simpsons” and have never seen “Community,” give the show a chance. It needs all the viewers it can get, and you might be surprised at how good a show it is.
Even though ratings for “Community” continue to be on the low side, I’m trying to remain optimistic that NBC will renew it for a fourth season, thus allowing the characters to make it to senior year and graduate. While there are things that “Simpsons” and “Community” share, the one thing I don’t want is for Dan Harmon’s show to overstay its welcome like a certain animated family from Springfield has.
Twenty-three seasons and counting, really?