When I Saw They Were Finally Making a “Community” Movie I Cried

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I admit embarrassing things on this blog, so here we are. 

They announced the completion of #SixSeasonsAndAMovie today and I couldn’t be happier. 

Don’t worry, the other Art Prize stuff will be coming soon. I have a couple just breathtaking pieces to share with you, so I won’t forget to follow up. I promise. 

Consider that to be my formal apology for the delay. I simply didn’t realize this incredible news would be dropping today.

Also, that pay day rap is probably the single “Community” moment that gets me the most hype. I mean, we always stan the Dean, but this moment is stellar. His unknowing escalation gets me every single time. 

“Community” is filled with moments like this. Then, also, it’s filled with more human moments than you’d normally find on a network television show. Especially at the time when this show originally aired. 

If case you do not know already or haven’t heard me talking obsessively about this show for the past 5 or so years, I will give you some more information on “Community” the television show. 

Created by Dan Harmon, “Community” debuted on NBC in September of 2010. It starred a bunch of people who were still in the process of making it. And Chevy Chase, who had previously “made it” and then lost it. 

Oh and Joel McHale, who has always lived in this weird snarky, pseudo-celebrity world for me. I mean, not anymore. His turn as Jeff Winger has changed my tune on him forever. 

Ok, so we have Joel McHale as kind of the “head” of the show. However, this is pretty much a true ensemble comedy. I don’t think any one of the core 8 is more important than the other to the importance of the show. McHale’s like the standard white man romantic lead. Snarky and mean to women and full of confidence. 

Then we have Chevy Chase as Pierce Hawthorne, an old cranky rich guy who treats college as his only social life. 

Donald Glover, who is now probably considered the biggest star on the show, plays Troy Barnes a ex-HS jock who has already lived his glory days – but like he’s in Community College right after high school, so the proximity of the glory makes it sadder. 

Troy went to high school with another member of the Study Group: Annie Edison. Annie is played by Alison Brie. Annie’s a former high achiever who got a little too into adderall and finds herself furthering her career at a Community College. 

The mom figure of the Study Group is Shirley Bennett, played by Yvette Nicole Brown and honestly, this is probably the most cliche character. She’s a god-fearin’ church woman who gives heavy side eye to anything outside of her world view. 

Yes, all of the characters are cliches to a degree, but I feel like the writers really leaned on Shirley’s character more than anyone else’s.

Well, except Britta Perry. Britta’s the worst. Except she’s not. The producers/writers just didn’t know what to do with her consistently. Sometimes she’s a ditzy blonde, sometimes she’s an activist, other times she lived in New York once. All the time, though, she’s somewhat misguided. Look, I’ve really come to love Britta. 

And then we have Abed Nadir, played by Danny Pudi. This was the character that drove “Community” home as one of my favorites of all time. Abed made me feel seen. His brain seemed to work more like mine than anyone I’d seen on screen. 

Sure, there was a hot minute when I recognized my miswired brain in Max on “Parenthood” but that was a kid. Abed was an adult. And even more than that, he didn’t keep all those ‘weird’ thoughts locked up on his brain. 

So, Abed started my “Community” fire, but the rest of the cast kept it going. 

Especially the Dean.

For his costume closet alone!

Ok, but if you’re reading this, you already know and love “Community.” If not, go watch it! I recommend watching it on Amazon Prime because they have ALL the episodes. Even the D&D one. Which should not have ever been removed from anywhere ever, but people are dumb. 

You can send me messages as you watch, too. I love talking TV. 😆 

I had a friend that bugged me for years to watch “Community” but it just never hit right. Then one day the stars aligned and we watched it and I immediately fell in love with the Study Group and never looked back. 

Way back in Season 2, Abed was talking about this show he was obsessed with (sound familiar at all?) called “The Cape” saying it would last for Six Seasons and a movie. Jeff was not as optimistic about the show’s prospects. 

But the fans took it up as a rally cry for the show when it kept getting shuffled around by the network. NBC did NOT know what to do with a show that didn’t fit into the normal network box at all. So, they just kept moving it.

Or firing the creator/showrunner before the fourth season because he was hard to work with. Dan Harmon? Nah, I can’t see that (except I can see that because I obsessively listened to every single episode of his Harmontown podcast and even made the pilgrimage to see it live. I still adore him and his brain anyways. And if the odds are ever in my favor Rob Schrab will somehow also be involved in this #AndAMovie. The episodes he directed were some of my favorite throughout the series.)

The fourth season was the Harmon-less season and is affectionately referred to by its fans as the “gas leak year”. I have visceral hate for the puppet episode of the Gas Leak Year, but the rest are okay. The showrunner for the fourth season was Adam F. Goldberg, creator of “The Goldbergs” and after watching that show, I can see the roots of it in Season 4 of “Community”. 

Oh and apparently NO ONE liked working with Chevy Chase. You can kind of hear this in the commentary on the DVDs too. Yes, I watched every single episode with the commentary on! Why wouldn’t I?

Even with all this behind the scenes drama, the show kept getting renewed. Until the fifth season when NBC was like, “Nope. Y’all good. 5 seasons is enough. People keep leaving the cast for other things. I mean have you even seen Donald Glover lately? Ain’t been on the set in months. And Chevy? Puh.”

So it got cancelled. 

BUT Then!

It got picked up by Yahoo TV. What is Yahoo TV you might ask? Well it’s dead now, but they 100% thought they’d make money by spending $2 million an episode on a show when they weren’t even a television network. 

I used to think Yahoo was the place where the Internet goes to die, but maybe it might just be way ahead of its time and doesn’t know how to be a trendsetter – just a trendkiller. RIP Tumblr. 

But they did give me a solid 6th season of a show I really loved, instead of letting it get cancelled and the #6SeasonsAndAMovie dream dying forever.  Also, Yahoo picking up the sixth season allowed the series to have an “real” ending. 

For years, articles would pop up from cast members and even writers and directors teasing us, “Oh, the movie might happen someday.”

But it did not. 

Some of the other directors/writers on the show have gone on to do great things though. 

You heard of two brothers called the Russos? They make some superhero movies? They might be partially responsible for the whole massive Marvel thing that’s taken over the cinema screens. 

Yeah, they cut their teeth directing episodes of Community”.

Another one of my favorite “Community” behind the scenes success stories is Megan Ganz. 

Megan Ganz was a writer on “Community” for three years. She wrote a handful of episodes, including both of the documentary filmmaking ones. After leaving “Community”, she moved onto another of my favorite series, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” where she wrote some incredible episodes, including ‘Times Up for the Gang’ and ‘Dee Day’. 

But that’s not even my favorite thing she did since leaving “Community”. 

If you’ve not watched “Mythic Quest” on Apple TV, you are missing out. Hell, if you are not watching Apple TV, you are missing out. They have the highest concentration of good stuff vs bad stuff of all the streaming services right now. A lot less noise to wade through. (also, please watch “The Morning Show”. They need to keep making it for at least two more seasons.)

“Mythic Quest” was created by Megan Ganz and Rob McElhenney and it’s a romp. Their pandemic special episode was by far my favorite of all the offerings during quarantine, because they really tested the limits of Zoom. 

Also, lets not forget- while he wasn’t behind the scenes on “Community”, Donald Glover did create the masterpiece that is “ATL” after his time with Dan Harmon and the Study Group. 

This little show has brought me so much joy and comfort after I finally watched it. It’s got heart, it’s got humor, but more importantly than all of that it has humanity. 

And now we finally get that movie we’ve been waiting for. 

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *