New community values
Gabriela Leskur | Thursday, February 7, 2013
By GABRIELA LESKUR
The NBC comedy “Community” will begin its fourth season today, February 7th, at 8 p.m.
If you spend most of your time on websites like Reddit, Hulu, Tumblr, and Twitter, you are probably aware of “Community.”
However, if you spend most of your time watching TV shows on an actual TV and reading news in an actual newspaper, you probably have never heard of the show.
The fact that “Community” dominates in the digital world and whimpers in the real world is exactly why the show is worthy of a fourth season and why the show is worthy of your time. “Community” is centered on seven misfits who attend subpar Greendale Community College. At this point, they’ve all pretty much failed in life in one way or another.
Whether it be failed marriages, failed businesses, or failed attempts at convincing the State Bar Association that their degrees are real, each character has come up short in some undeniable way.
What starts as a makeshift Spanish study group soon abandons all pretenses of homework or academic success. These seven losers came together looking for an “A,” but instead, they find a family.
The premise seems pretty basic. Yet, there is nothing traditional about “Community.”
Unlike your normal feel good comedy, “Community” doesn’t simply make jokes for laughs.
Every analogy, every reference to pop culture serves a meaningful purpose and furthers character development. Each joke not only makes you laugh, but makes you think. And unlike most half-hour comedies, many plot lines ebb and flow, building on obscure points in past episodes and even past seasons.
However, to fully understand “Community” and to fully appreciate it, you can’t just tune in on a random Thursday. You really have to commit: start from episode one and stick it out.
If one is willing to put in the effort, “Community” proves to be a worthwhile comedy that speaks depths on friendship and on the meaning of life itself while tickling your funny bone simultaneously.
Yet, few people are willing to put in that effort, as shown by the show’s low viewer turnout.
Here’s where “Community” gets interesting: the power of the minority.
Although not many families are sitting around their TVs watching “Community,” the online fanbase is astonishing. This fanbase minority possesses unprecedented power over NBC executives.
In terms of ratings, there is no real reason “Community” should be coming back for its fourth season. To be blunt, compared to shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men,” no one watches “Community,” despite it’s critical fame.
The third season hit a substantial drag with viewers and continued to slip down the primetime totem pole.
However, the fans refused to let “Community” off the air. The fans of “Community” joined together last season on Hulu and led “Community” to win the acclaimed “Best of Show” honor. When NBC considered removing “Community” from the 2012-2013 program, hoards of fans showed up to protest at 30 Rockefeller in New York City.
The fans’ vigor and tenacity for “Community” are inspiring and effective. Without these fans, “Community” would have died long ago.
Although renewed for its fourth season, this miraculous resurrection comes with uncertainty. The new season beckons in a new age for “Community.” The show’s creator, Dan Harmon, will not be coming back. One of the seven misfits, played by Chevy Chase, will be leaving the cast.
Further, the show is apparently undergoing some extreme changes in style and in spirit in attempts to find a wider audience.
New viewers might like the new tone of the show-which is rumored to be more light and typical of primetime comedy. But will the old viewers?
When the season premieres tonight, the question will be whether the show’s new strategy will work to pull in new viewers and maintain the loyal. Perhaps though, the fans that kept the show on air will be sacrificed for better viewership.
If you haven’t watched “Community” before, tune in tonight. My bet is that the show will win you over. And hopefully, it will win me back.
Contact Gabriela Leskur at