Review: The Busy and Abysmal Return of ‘Community’

- 02-07-13Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Jason Tabrys

community

I feel like I just got socks for Christmas. After waiting and waiting and waiting for October 19th, it finally came tonight — albeit 3 and a half months too late — and new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port did disappoint, delivering the AT&T of Community episodes.

They Britta’d it people, throwing a garbage pale full of pop culture crumbs at the screen in an effort to Harmon-ize the show. Honestly, I’m really glad that Guarascio and Port probably spent a weekend watching season 3 on Hulu a couple of days before they made this episode, but did they have to try and make this feel like a tribute collage?

There are movie references (The Hunger Games, an utter failure and inexplicably absent any mention of Starburns’ nefarious facial hair. Inexcusable.), an animated Muppet Babies segment, a mockery of laugh track sitcoms (at least, I think it was supposed to be mockery), and a well deserved attack on chunky glasses, because the show runners decided that they must die, even though they make girls look 9% hotter and they really pull my look together.

As for the viewer response, from what I saw on Twitter during the show, it was mixed. Some superfans seemed to take pleasure in seeing these characters again, but others were underwhelmed.

I feel bad for the superfans. I’ve come to “know” some of them online, a great group who worked tirelessly setting up flashmobs and other events like Communicon. These people have become a well-meaning cult that worships this show, and I mean that in the best sense, not the sense that implies some sort of mental defect. Frankly, they deserved better.

community 2

Personally, I think it was a poor imitation of a Community episode, and while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the flattery part falls short when someone is living in your house, wearing your clothes, and trying to be you. And while I’ve finally accepted that Dan Harmon’s Community is dead, I do believe that this show can still live and be worthwhile if the producers stop trying to court fans with awkward poses and instead, try to make them laugh and put out a good TV show.

Right now though, I am skeptical that they’ll have the guts to push this show away from it’s comfort zone, even though episode 1 of this unfortunate experiment seems to indicate that they really can’t find that comfort zone with a flashlight, a map, and ample prayer.

It’s simple, Community gained attention for the impossibly intelligent way that it spoofed pop culture, but in the first episode of a new era, the show went unintentionally meta and spoofed it’s past self in the most in-artful way. So far, this is #ThreeSeasonsAndACatastrophe

Best:

– Um… everyone looked like they took care of themselves over the hiatus. That’s good, right?

– It was only 22 minutes long.

– Dan Harmon is working on 3 new TV shows.

Worst:

– The end bit with Troy and Abed in drag made me contort my face and understand that this is the darkest timeline.

-Catatonic Abed was criminal and showed that the producers don’t get the magic of a character that is — arguably — the most important character on the show. This episode was written by Andy Bobrow, who also wrote “Basic Rocket Science” and “Pillows and Blankets”, proving that either he had a really bad week, or that Bobrow without Harmon is as worthless as saltines without Orangina. I really like Orangina. Harmon is Orangina, because that fizzy citrus drink makes everything better. I just killed this analogy, y’all.

– Dean Pelton and Jeff as almost-roomies. Hilarity shall not ensue.

Be sure to look out for this weeks episode of The Bastardcast, where I and Jeremy R! Hudson further examine this week’s episode of Community. 

Category: Featured, reviews, TV

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  • Tiffany

    I had mixed feelings during the first episode and I’m going to wait til next week before I give a full opinion and start hoping for just seasons 1-3

  • therealscruffy

    I’m really hoping Community can overcome it’s behind the scenes shenanigans and continue to be a great show, but last night did not bode well. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks, if the show improves or not, but I’m struggling (and failing) right now to find even a single element from last nights episode that I enjoyed.

  • Guest

    Last night’s show started strange. Aside from the “Scrubs” sitcom/laugh-track ripoff, the righting seemed like dialogue other characters would say on another show. A show like Apt 23 or Happy Endings trying to be funny/fun/quirky, that isn’t the humor I was accustomed with when I watched Community…WHY I watched community. To put it another way I didn’t believe the actors as the characters because of what they were saying. It almost felt like an entirely new cast playing the old roles.

    2nd time I watched I wondered if Abed was retreating into his world because he wasn’t comfortable with the new direction of the show. It actually made more sense. I did warm by the end of the episode. Things like: 1. Shirley saying “This isn’t a conversation” totally in character. 2. Changnesia 3. The History of Ice cream 4. Abed writing Jeff’s speech. Lets hope these small little gems come to the forefront in the coming months. Still Hope!

  • Jim McGee

    Last
    night’s show started strange. Aside from the “Scrubs”
    sitcom/laugh-track ripoff, the writing seemed like dialogue other
    characters would say on another show. A show like Apt 23 or Happy
    Endings trying to be funny/fun/quirky, that isn’t the humor I was
    accustomed with when I watched Community…WHY I watched community. To
    put it another way I didn’t believe the actors as the characters because
    of what they were saying. It almost felt like an entirely new cast
    playing the old roles. Maybe what Abed was envisioning with Fred Willard.

    2nd time I watched I wondered if Abed was retreating into his world
    because he wasn’t comfortable with the new direction of the show. It
    actually made more sense. I did warm by the end of the episode. Things
    like: 1. Shirley saying “This isn’t a conversation” totally in
    character. 2. Changnesia 3. The History of Ice cream 4. Abed writing
    Jeff’s speech. Lets hope these small little gems come to the forefront
    in the coming months. Still Hope!

  • bickleton wigglesworth III

    i think you’re being too hard on it, maybe (subconsciencely?) intentionally. do you maybe want to see it crash and burn? i wouldn’t blame you if you did.

    yes they threw too many jokes and references out in this episode. but let’s remember a few things. firstly, it was a season premiere after a long hiatus. if there’s a time to go full-balls out this was it. i’d rather see them go big and only hit 50% of the time then be timid and forgettable. secondly, in a lot of ways this is a new show. give them a bit to get their feet under them to adjust to new roles and a new way of doing things. i’d say last nights episode was a lot better then episode one of season one.

    finally, i think you were way off on your thoughts that they neglected abed. yes, danny pudi, didn’t have a lot of lines but the entire story was centered on him and his adjustment to changing times (hmm, wonder why they chose that theme?) and the magic surrounding both abed and his world. the execution may have been lacking, again “new show cut them some slack, but the writing was spot the fuck on.

    • http://twitter.com/jtabrys A Jason Tabrys

      I’m a die hard fan of Community. I went into the episode hoping it would be good, but I did expect there to be some things I didn’t like. What I watched was a train wreck. As for the “cut them some slack” thing — no. Why would I? I recognize that there are a lot of people who put in a lot of work to make this episode happen, and that they tried, but they get judged on the final product by critics and viewers alike. That’s how this works. There are no participation badges… unless you count Rules of Attraction or that Jim Belushi show that inexplicably lasted 7 years..

      I judged the show on the merits of what was shown on the screen. Next episode I’ll do the same. Next week is a clean slate, I hope it’ll be good… now, I don’t think it will be, but I’ll allow for the possibility.

      I stand by what I said about Abed. He was misused and catatonic for the bulk of the show. .

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