Dan Harmon may have gained widespread fame and critical acclaim thanks to the Adult Swim smash hit Rick And Morty, but he was changing the sitcom game years before he teamed up with Cartoon Network’s “mature” older sister. If you aren’t familiar with Community, now’s the time to get educated, because #sixseasonsandamovie might just be the most important hashtag since #releasethesnydercut.
The half-hour sitcom began airing in September of 2009 on NBC and it would eventually run for six seasons. The series starred Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Donald Glover AKA Childish Gambino, Danny Pudi, Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs, and Yvette Nicole Brown. These six actors portrayed an eclectic group of community college students who come together in a study group, although very little studying ultimately took place. Their adventures together brought love, laughter, and eventually heartbreak to fans for years.
Community’s Rocky Road
Community’s long and storied history wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns however, as it saw several drastic alterations to it’s cast and crew take hold throughout the years. Creator and showrunner Dan Harmon was fired after the third season, due to low ratings and creative differences, and with him went the heart and soul of the beloved series.
David Guarascio and Moses Port, creators of the terrible television series known as Aliens In America were then brought in. The duo were handed Dan Harmon’s baby and then allowed to play kickball with it’s head. The fourth season isn’t the worst thing to ever happen to television, but it’s a far cry from the thoughtful, clever, and wonderfully postmodern stylings of the first three seasons. The third season became the bastard son of Community, and thankfully, the Sony executives realized their mistake and brought Harmon back for the following seasons.
Despite Harmon’s return, the series’ future had been changed irrevocably. Chevy Chase left the series after season four, and Donald Glover left the series approximately halfway through season five. In universe, Chase’s character Pierce Hawthorne masturbates to death (not a joke) and Glover’s character Troy Barnes leaves to sail around the world with LeVar Burton.
The void left in their absence was filled by new additions to the study group (now the Save Greendale committee) such as Jonathan Banks’ Buzz Hickey, Paget Brewster’s Frankie Dart and Keith David’s Elroy Patashnik. While these three brought a new energy to the show and each character was special in their own right, the show just wasn’t the same without Troy and Pierce. Even though the writing was arguably stronger than ever, the team dynamic wasn’t as special, and as a result, the series came to a conclusion without fulfilling its true destiny.