“Community” Set to Revive via Online Streaming


F. Scott Schafer

Revived at the final hour by Yahoo! Screen, “Community” is set to premiere on Mar. 17. The cast from left to right: Jim Rash as Dean Pelton, Danny Pudi as Abed Nadir, Gillian Jacobs as Britta Perry, Joel McHale as Jeff Winger, Ken Jeong as Ben Chang, and Allison Brie as Annie Edison. Photo credit to Bing.


Moving on from the darkest timeline by surviving cancellation on major network NBC, “Community” is living up to its production quota of six seasons and a movie. Yahoo! Screen plans to step out of the shadow of popular streaming sites, such as Netflix and Hulu, with the premiere of the comedy’s sixth season on Mar. 17.

“Community” is set in the fictional Greendale Community College, where anyone (literally, anyone) is accepted. The primary focus is on “the study group,” seven students with distinct personalities. Acting as the de facto leader is Jeff Winger (played by Joel McHale), an egotistic and sarcastic lawyer aiming to validate his illegitimate law degree by taking the easy route at Greendale. Initially hoping to get together with Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), an anarchist who dreams of pursuing psychology, Jeff forms the group only to meet several other students in the process: former athlete Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), religious housewife Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), aged tycoon Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase), kind-hearted intellect Annie Edison (Allison Brie), and pop culture junkie Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi). Together, they form not only a surprisingly close-knit family unit, but they also grow alongside each other as individuals, deviating from their stereotypical personalities in some aspects.

Overall, the plot of “Community” follows the study group’s experiences throughout their initial four years at Greendale and their ultimate readmission sometime after graduation. Each episode is a story within itself, for a problem is presented in the beginning and usually resolved by the end. Continuity presents itself through the progressing seasons and through in-story elements such as final exams, traditional holidays, and daily college life.

However, what makes “Community” unique from other shows is the direction it takes in its episodes: paintball wars, videogame adventures, new footage clip-shows, and blanket fort battles among other things. Every episode parodies popular tropes and culture in some form. For example, in season 2, Abed and Jeff have a fancy dinner based on the movie “My Dinner with Andre” while the rest of the group dress like the characters in the blockbuster classic “Pulp Fiction.” In Season 3, the group experiences several alternate realities dependent upon who picks up a delivered pizza at a housewarming party, the most violent and evil of which being “the darkest timeline.” This practice of satirizing pop culture, modern television, and today’s society not only provides plenty of laughter and moments of discovery, but also allows the audience to relate to everyday situations with levity.

Yet amongst its critical acclaim and strong fan base, “Community” suffered from a lack of TV viewership compared to other popular shows. In addition, the departure of cast members Chase, Glover, and recently Brown, put a damper on the spirit of the study group. Furthermore, several controversies regarding NBC’s decisions to delay seasons 3 and 4, and to cancel the show after season 5 leave it with a broadcast history best described as “chaotic.”

However, thanks to its cult-classic following and Yahoo! Screen last-minute rescue and revival, “Community” now takes its broadcast to a wider audience. Infamous for its metahumor centered on pop culture, diverse cast of characters, and groundbreaking episodes, “Community” has established itself as a die-hard contender to its fans.