I never dreamed it would end this way. Actually yes, I did. I think every Community fan knew that the show wouldn't get a natural ending, that NBC would bring down the axe on this show prematurely. Too soon surely, after such a great fifth season that brought about a renaissance of everything I love about you, Greendale. And there is so much to love about this show:
- 1) The characters. Greendale brings together such a unique group of multidimensional characters. Britta isn't just a passionate activist – she's also a bit of a mess, a hipster, a caring friend, and the dark raincloud that unites the study group.
- Jeff is more than a cocky ex-lawyer – he's a mama's boy, the cool kid who cares about the little guy, and (though reluctantly at first) one of Greendale's biggest advocates.
- The study group at first appears to be a bunch of walking, talking stereotypes, but are then exposed to be so much more. They all break out of the box that they could be pigeonholed into, and I've so enjoyed seeing them do so. The characters are intrinsically flawed, which helps make them more believable and relatable. They're just like us - people who get in shitty situations and make the best out of them. Each and every one of them ends up at Greendale because of some SNAFU in their life – and yet they go on. The sheer humanity of Community has always been one of its strongest points. The show doesn't need superheroes or flashy tricks, because the characters show us that regular people are superheroes – single moms like Shirley, recovering addicts like Annie, devoted educators like the Dean. And who could forget the hilarious integration of all those side characters, from Leonard to Vicky? Community did an excellent job creating believable characters that taught us important lessons, but also just plain old funny ones, too.
- 2) The storytelling. Community always surprised me with the direction and form it chose. Even when it called back to past episodes – the second paintball, or the second clip show – there was always a fresh twist. This latest season is a great example of Community's storytelling abilities – the show runners successfully dealt with the fact that the last season had been pretty shitty and the departure of two members of the study group, and still kept the show funny. And as a student of television and pop culture, I greatly appreciated how Community subverted tropes, celebrated different genres with special episodes, and was Meta with a capital m. Yes, the show had its ups and downs, but at its best (episodes like "Mixology Certification", "Cooperative Polygraphy", and "Remedial Chaos Theory" to name a few), Community was 30 minutes of storytelling gold.
- 3) Pure entertainment. I remember coming home from school on Thursdays and, despite the fact that it may have been a boring or shitty day, feeling excited because I knew I'd have a half hour of laughs ahead of me. This is one of those shows that I can rewatch and find new jokes every time, or still laugh at old jokes that never feel worn out.
- 4) You were the first show that felt like it was mine. I'm sure plenty of other Community fans have felt the same way. For me, the show came into my life at the right time. I was a freshman in high school the same year that the characters first started off at Greendale. Community is a show for and about misfits, which I felt like at first in high school. Seeing such strange, unique characters bond because/in spite of their quirks encouraged me to find a group of friends who accepted me for me, rather than hiding who I really was in order to fit in. It taught me how to be good to other people and make the best out of bad situations. I laughed because of this show, I cried because of this show, I grew up with it. I, like my fellow Community fans, feel like an eighth member of the group, sitting right between Jeff and Annie. I know the beats to my favorite episodes by heart. Community is my comfort food. I feel like it represents everything that I hold dear – humor, the celebration of pop culture, acceptance of others, and friendship. The title of the show completely encapsulates the warmth and connection that it fostered between the characters and the fans over the past five years.
Goodbye, Greendale. I will mourn your death the proper way, by putting you in an energon pod so that one day in the future you can hopefully return in the form of a Netflix reboot (better than Arrested Development's please) or the legendary sixth season and a movie. Or maybe don't return at all – though I'm sad to see you go, I'm glad you ended on a high. I'll watch you again on syndicated TV sometime. Or Netflix. Or, you know, all the Community DVDs I own.
Lastly, do you offer How to Deal With Heartbreak 101? Cause I'm gonna need that now.