For those of you that have ever wondered which timeline you’re in, be assured that this is the darkest. Not because you have a solid semester of 9ams, but because of the indefinite postponing of Season Four of Community. A collective wringing of hands accompanies this news from Community’s small but loyal fan base. And why wouldn’t it, when what could easily come across as an offbeat and frankly weird TV show turns out to hold the answers to all (yes, all) of life’s problems? Just been through a nasty breakup? Easy, write a catchy reggae anthem referring to your ex as a “B” and play it on the Downs. Can’t find your pen after a seminar? Don’t let anybody leave until all trust has been done away with (or don’t, because a monkey probably took it).
And it’s not even just the keen and nerdy among us who appreciated Community. It has a long history of nominations and awards behind it, including nominations for the best Comedy series at both the 1st and 2nd Critics’ choice television awards and a 2011 Creative Arts. Community was a success, at least as far as the critics and the fans were concerned.
So we can all join Troy in crying unreasonable amounts now that the proposed date of Friday 19th October has been changed. But could we have seen this coming, given the show’s continually decreasing ratings? It was also a bad sign when the show was pushed into the infamous Friday Night Death Slot, which has seen the demise of many a well-loved show programme. There was that extended hiatus before season 3, when Community’s existence hung in the balance. Then there was perhaps the final nail in the coffin, the firing of the show’s writer and all-round daddy, Dan Harmon, after his disagreements with Chevy Chase, and his subsequent hiring as the show’s “consulting producer”. This means that Harmon will have no input, apart from, in his own words, “I guess sharpening pencils and stuff”.
Community’s low popularity and resulting postponement can also be blamed on the environment it’s being aired in. In a country where the show receiving the top ratings for the last five years running is American Idol, is Community just too darn weird? I, being a die-hard fan, would say no. Community in its later seasons, was having to contend with being put into the same time slot as The Big Bang Theory, which is probably the closest thing in terms of pure nerdiness, although more accessible to the American Idol-watching masses. Then, it was actually scheduled at the same time as American Idol. Thirdly, Community hasn’t even been that weird since season 3, which concentrated more on fabulous adventures and continuing story lines.
So what are Community’s prospects? Well the producers are adamant that this is only a hiatus, not a cancellation. It’s likely that one of the shows currently running will soon be cancelled to make way (*cough Animal Practice cough*). It’s also likely that a space will be opened up with the ending of 30 Rock in January, as far as that may seem. Finally, the Friday Night sentence is not necessarily one of death – other classics like Fringe made it! All is not lost for those of us who want a bit of Troy and Abed in the morning, so all I can say is to keep those black goatees in the drawer just for now.