The Day Community Died

when community premiered on September 17 2009 NBC was desperate to reclaim Network dominance over Thursday night television the night most coveted by advertisers due to the fact that it's the most-watched night of the week by affluent viewers in the desirable 18 to 34 age demographic throughout the 80s and 90s NBC had a stronghold on Thursday night TV the birth of must-see TV started in the 80s with The Cosby Show family ties Cheers Night Court and Hill Street Blues this also helps solidify the tried and true pattern of having four sitcoms leading to a grittier drama which is still utilized today then in the 90s NBC had the block programming of Mad About You wings Seinfeld Frazier and homicide as their Thursday night lineup after the ratings juggernauts friends and Frasier both went off the air in 2004 it wasn't until 2009 when NBC finally seemed to have a block of quality programming with the office 30 rock Parks and Recreation and community it's pretty incredible to look back at that lineup a decade later after all these years these shows are still talked about referenced in conversations and new audiences are discovering these shows every day on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu there are many factors that contribute to community's success the stellar and diverse cast was comprised of relatively unknown actors at the time of the show's premier Joel McHale was just the guy from the soup ken Jeong was the naked guy from The Hangover Alison Brie was the girl from Mad Men donald glover was a writer on 30 rock chevy chase was the biggest name at the time but he was nowhere near the same draw that he was back in the 80s he hadn't had a main starring role in anything substantial since the 1997 film Vegas vacation but I'll get to him later community also had a stable of talented directors working on the show such as Justin Lin from the faster Furious franchise and the Russo brothers whose fingerprints were all over the first three seasons of the show before they went off to direct Captain America Winter Soldier the high caliber of direction on the show really helped differentiate and sell the insane concepts that the writing staff is coming up with and that's really where community shined the writing staff led by creator Dan Harmon Harmons writing style has the perfect balance of pop culture meta humor and heart sifted through precise story structure what emerges from this process is controlled chaos now Dan Harmon's writing process has been broken down in depth a number of times already both in written form and video essays but in case you've never heard of it I'll give a quick basic recap american professor of literature joseph campbell created the concept of the monomyth theorizing that all great stories across the history of human civilization contain the same basic elements the hero goes on a journey into the unknown deals with obstacles as an internal revelation and returns back having changed because of their journey again there's so much more detail and nuance to Campbell's hero's journey but I'm trying to keep it quick Dan Harmon took Campbell's hero's journey and distilled it down to eight steps what he calls his story circle one a character is in a zone of comfort – but they want something three they enter an unfamiliar situation or adapt to it five get what they wanted six pay a heavy price for it seven then returned to their familiar situation eight having change Harmon posits that these eight elements are necessary to any engaging story with each passage from one half of the circle to the other as a major source of drama both external struggles like characters and situations and internal struggles where the main character struggles to overcome their own flaws and problems and it's this attention to larger story elements and dramatic beats that allowed a seemingly unconventional show like community with its genre bending storylines to still feel conventional in the way it handled drama stakes and character change in the early seasons community was turning out quality episode after quality episode but it was the drama behind the scenes that continued to plague the NBC's Thursday night block of the office 30 Rock Parks and Rec and community was strong from a creative standpoint sure the office was only a few weeks away from dying spoiler alert oh god please no no no no but at least Steve Carell was still around and it was still doing really well in the ratings 30 Rock had mediocre ratings but it was at least wrecking up Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards left and right it was really Parks and Recreation in community that struggled to find a larger audience throughout their respective runs but like Parks and Recreation the small audience that community did have was extremely passionate and loyal as NBC repeatedly wavered with cancelling or not canceling community time and time again a large part of the reason why NBC kept ordering more seasons of the show was because of the loyal and vocal fan base there was also a drama on the set of the show the feuds between Chevy Chase and the rest of the cast and Harmon has been well publicized he did not like the hours and he did not he kept saying he didn't like the writing I feel like that probably after three years of that and you know there was an incident I thought I was being like a white knight to the crew at the wrap party and saying okay I'm your boss you can't get fired so everybody on the count of three go ahead and save fuck-you Chevie and everybody everybody very much III played voicemails that I was getting from him in the midst of a little fight I was having with him I took out my phone and I had that voicemail from him that was particularly vitriolic and I was like and the share plate into the microphone it was my attempt to therapeutically like turn something that was kind of eating away at me and laughter for a hundred people how you say it's wrong yeah yeah of course and then there was Dan Harmon's harassment of fellow staff writer Meghan Ganz I was attracted to a writer that I had power over because I was a showrunner and resented her for not reciprocating it I never did it before and I will never do it again but I certainly wouldn't have been able to if I had any respect for women I was thinking about them as different creatures I was thinking about the ones that I liked as having some special role in my life Harmons bouts of depression and alcoholism throughout community earned him the reputation of being difficult to work with and without the strong ratings to back up his self-destructive behavior Harmon was fired from his own show following season 3 two people who work above me yeah I am I'm a liability that that isn't worth the benefit no I talked about a similar situation in my previous video on SpongeBob SquarePants and its creator Stephen Hillenburg when a show's unique voice is so reliant on its creator then it's only fair to assume that the quality of that show will take a dip when the creator leaves what happens more often than not is that the new showrunner has the thankless job of trying to replicate that unique voice but instead of understanding the deeper writing process that makes the show and its character is unique the show becomes more of a shallow imitation and that's exactly what happened to community during season 4 widely considered to be the show's were seasoned with low points like conventions of space and time and intro to felt surrogacy two episodes that play out more like fanfiction with all the bells and whistles of community but without any of the substance let's see how the season 4 episode intro to felt surrogacy fails in comparison to the season 2 episode Abed's uncontrollable Christmas a far superior episode with the somewhat similar concept by using Dan Harmon story circle first Abed's uncontrollable Christmas one Abed seeing everything in claymation – he needs to find the meaning of Christmas 3 he goes to winter wonderland with his friends poor travels across winter wonderland as his friends drop off one by one five finds a box labeled meaning of Christmas with no real meaning inside six abed freezes when Duncan makes him confront his mom's abandonment seven he's thawed by the kindness and support of his friends eight he returns to Greendale with a new perspective on friendship and the meaning of Christmas the purpose of introducing claymation works from a store perspective because it perfectly parallels with Abed's quest for the meaning of Christmas there are two storylines working in tandem with each other Abed is searching for the meaning of Christmas while Abed's friends are also trying to bring him out of his delusion not only does this episode hit all the elements on the story circle but it has stakes such as Abbott's getting kicked out of Greendale if he doesn't snap out of his delusion and it also builds towards the climax as each of his friends drops off one by one on the journey it's entertaining clever and touching while also revealing character development now let's examine intro to felt surrogacy one the group is awkward around each other – they need to regain normalcy three they go into the puppet world four relive what happened five surely secret is out but now feels isolated six everyone has to share their secret 7 they leave puppet world eight now they're back to normal now there are two disconnected story circles happening in this episode there's the therapy session and then there's the flashback of the group going on an adventure because they're stuck in a rent they don't really parallel with each other and because of that when the group begins therapy and reliving what happened we jump into another separate stories our Volta it doesn't go anywhere this also holds progress on the first story circle where the group is trying to work through their issues storylines keep jumping back and forth stopping and starting stopping and starting really the puppet world storyline is pointless they randomly go on a balloon for no real reason eat drugged berries in the woods and confess their secrets and then that storyline is over without its own resolute as opposed to Abed's and controllable Christmas where there was something tangible at stake for of it there's nothing really at stake here for our characters they feel awkward around each other that's it the entire episode plays out like a half-hearted excuse for community to just do a puppet episode again all the bells and whistles without any of the substance fans and critics agreed it wasn't the same show without Harmon and that's because Dan Harmon is community and not only did fans and critics agree that the show wasn't the same without Herman but apparently so did the cast after the conclusion of season four several media outlets reported that the cast heavily lobbied for Harmons rehiring in an attempt to save the show from cancellation and to please the stars of the show and you can clearly see the actors satisfaction in multiple interviews once Harmon was eventually brought back on board for season five in Dan Harmon is yeah well how do you think that's gonna impact this season last year we went different show runners and it was not the same show yeah this year will be dan just knows our characters so well dan is our characters sicko and with Harmon the Russos Rob schrab and other original creative staff members returning season 5 was a perfect return to form except for a brief cameo and REE pilot Chevy Chase did not return for season 5 after abandoning the show in the middle of season 4 and it's a shame because the character of Pierce was great and added a strong dynamic to the group that is when Chevy Chase actually cared and tried ironic since community was the last thing keeping chevy chase relevant at least Walton Goggins helped give his character closure in the episode cooperative polity graffiti Chevy's departure didn't feel like such a big loss but then in the very next episode geothermal escapism Donald Glover also left the show to focus on his music career now that was a big not only because I personally found him to be the funniest character on the entire series but because his character left such a hole in the group's dynamic the pairing of Troy and Abed was the strongest relationship in the entire show he helped balance out of its character so well and even though they tried to pair of it more with Annie moving forward of its character just never felt the same without someone to properly play off of community weathered the storm of cast departures and continued to put out strong episodes throughout the remainder of season 5 but ratings still never improved and because of that NBC dropped the show from its lineup I guess they had to make room for their exciting new shows premiering the following year like one big happy marry me mr. Robinson Allegiance bad judge a to Z Constantine in state of affairs I'm sorry what's that they were all canceled midseason oh when it seemed like community was finally gone for good Yahoo swept into last minute and save the show for its new streaming service defer a show with such a tumultuous run of course it couldn't be all good news the roofs of brothers left to make the biggest movies in the world John Oliver left to focus on his HBO show last week tonight and Avett Nicole Brown left for family reasons bit by bit the group of friends that the entire show was built upon seemed almost unrecognizable in season 6 the last season had some strong moments but their overall season lacked any real narrative thread that previous seasons had like city college's diabolical plan in season two and Chang's rise to power in season 3 season 6 was just a group of unlikely friends and colleagues working together on a vague save Greendale project for a show that was constantly in flux near the end always having to reshape and re-establish itself community just never seemed to regain its footing and then after a lackluster season of ups and downs community finally came to a close on June 2nd 2015 a seemingly sad fate for smart sophisticated and utterly original show so what's the day community died I'm conflicted with the show because there doesn't seem to be a clear-cut answer it'd be really easy to pick an episode from the gas leak year that was season 4 like April 11th 2013 with the episode intro to felt surrogacy but we now know that community wasn't completely dead because Dan Harmon came back righted the wrongs of season 4 and helped write some of the best episodes of the entire series during season 5 it would also be easy to say that community died on January 23rd 2014 with the episode geothermal escapism the last episode featuring Donald Glover even Dan Harmon acknowledged that the show was never the same after Donald's departure saying in an interview years later I needed to convince myself that Donald leaving wasn't the death of the show but now that it's all over I think we can agree that it was so I guess Dan Harmon thinks that's the day community died but this isn't his essay maybe sometime during season 6 yeah I could understand that argument but for me the final season and the entire series as a whole was saved because of the final episode emotional consequences of broadcast television in classic community fashion the episode was really funny and clever in its execution but also being full of heart the entire episode served as a meta conversation on change and growth not only for the characters within the story but for the cast crew and the audience the characters sitting in a circle pitching ideas of what the next year might look like perfectly paralleled the unknown future of community what would it look like Jeff served as the audience here one thing to keep the show going with his few changes as possible but those hopes are immediately dashed when Annie and Abed mentioned that they're moving away from Greendale a parallel to the real world as actors Alison Brie and Danny Pudi were moving on to other creative projects the episode wrestled with the questions how can the show keep going as characters continue falling away and should it continue at all the episode beautifully functioned as emotional support for the audience allowing them to process the growth maturity and love required and finally letting something go with every previous season finale there was always a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the heads of the cast and crew regarding the show's future are we coming back next year or are we getting cancelled but with emotional consequences of broadcast television it finally felt like Dan Harmon and the rest of the creative staff were going out on their own terms and that resulted in the most emotionally satisfying conclusion that a show with such a tumultuous history could have ever hoped for and because of that I believe that community is still alive today Tuesday is new video day here on entertaining hunk so make sure you subscribe below but also click the bell below so that way you don't miss any new videos whenever they come out just because you're subscribed to me that doesn't mean that YouTube's gonna share my videos with you but clicking the bell below will make sure that you're notified whenever a new entrant in the oak video drops so again click the bell right now and that way you'll miss any new content whenever it comes out if you enjoy this video please like it share it with a friend and also leave me a comment below tell me the day you think community died or maybe you're like me and you think that even though it had some rough patches along the way it still managed to survive all the way to the end thanks again guys for watching I am officially back from taking about two months off to direct and edit this short film I've been working on so again make sure you're subscribed click the bell so that way you can see all the new videos that are about to come out in the near future thanks again guys and I'll see you all soon

37 thoughts on “The Day Community Died

  1. I recently started watching community again and this video is perfectly timed because I too believe that it never died #andamovie

  2. This was surprisingly poignant. I've re-watched the entire series countless times and I love every episode. Abed was the stand out character for me and although I missed Troy, I enjoyed seeing how Abed navigated the world without him. I feel like Community is the sitcom that has aged the best as times have changed. I think a movie would do pretty well if they could pull it off.

  3. I liked the felt episode, probably the last episode I liked in the show.
    I cant believe some people think 4 is the worst season. Yeah it's the season the show went bad but it declines worse and worse for 5 and 6.

  4. This show, the characters, the writers, the producers, the fans, deserve a movie. I would love to see them all come back on the big screen – with Dan Harmon, Chevy Chase, Donald Glover, and everyone else – maybe even the Russo brothers! I would pay big money to see it

  5. This video made me so emotional. 🙁 Rewatched the whole thing recently, and S06 was actually better than I remembered.

  6. I wish it's not popular in Russia and very few people know about this incredible serial. I love it soooo much

  7. Watched the show twice! Loved all the seasons and starting a t-shirt collection (Troy and Abed on a t-shirt!). What other shows are y'all watching that have a similar vibe? #andamovie !

  8. Great video! Suprised you don't have one about 'The day Scrubs died', would really enjoy seeing that one.

  9. My wife introduced this show to me a month ago and it became one of my favorites. Just want to thank you hardcore fans who kept this show running when it almost didn't.

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