Where Did 'Community' Go?
It has become harder to watch Community these days. The show, once at the top of the comedic television world, has become almost unrecognizable. After recapping every episode of Season 4 so far, there isn’t much to write anymore; the characters have slightly different personalities, the jokes aren’t funny, and there is the constant need to make every episode a parody, which in turn has caused the latest season of Community to feel like a parody of itself. Community has definitely turned into another Indiana Jones debacle where I only buy the first three seasons (movies) because, you know, “the fourth one blows."
Last night’s episode, Economics of Marine Biology, was, true to season 4 form, not good. The opening scene showcased the dumb-downed comedy that NBC (looking to big networks like CBS) wanted when it fired former showrunner, Dan Harmon. In the scene, Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) and Annie (Alison Brie) try to recruit the study group to woo a prospective rich student, a “whale”, to attend Greendale. If you didn’t know what a “whale” was, don’t worry because Jeff explains it fully, “So a rich dumb dumb who will never graduate and keep dropping money into the school indefinitely. Got it.” I think we “got it” when the Dean explained before, “This is what we in the college recruiting game call a ‘whale.’ The perfect mix of low intellect, high lack of ambition, and limitless parental support.” We get more of the same later, as Abed (Danny Pudi) announces his storyline like he has in past episodes of this season, “College dean threatening a fraternity… You’ll never shut down the Delta Cubes”
Midway through a shortened season, Community still has barely addressed some of the overarching storylines involved. Chang (Ken Jeong) appeared only briefy in this episode, putting another halt to the slow developing story of Chang’s “Changnesia”/plot with City College. Troy (Donald Glover) and Britta’s (Gillian Jacobs) relationship was not explored, yet again, as they were not paired together in a subplot. Instead, Troy was teamed up with Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) as they took Physical Education Education (P.E.E.) together. But do the storylines really affect anything now? Jeff was still playing with his phone 24/7 even after his revelation at the end of his meeting with his estranged father where he revealed that he was always on his phone to avoid interacting with other people due to insecurities about himself. He also spent this episode hanging out with Pierce (Chevy Chase) in a father/son storyline that was unfortunately derailed by the fact that everything coming out of Pierce’s mouth was racist and offensive. The wisdom that Pierce showed in Season 1 and 2 is now completely gone.
After watching Economics of Marine Biology, I finally reached my tipping point. This season has been so disappointing that I have lost the ability to contain my frustrations with the show. Each episode serves as a reminder of how NBC ruined Community. In my mind the show ended in the Season 3 finale, “Introduction to Finality,” and what I’m watching now is just a new show. At least, that's what I tell myself, because I think it's the only way to stomach the rest of season 4.