Well I finally caught up with the final few episodes of this season of Community and after the recent announcement that Dan Harmon is being replaced next year, I felt the need to write a short eulogy for this fantastic show. (Yeah, I know it’s not actually canceled, but I don’t expect it to last much longer.) When Community first premiered, I don’t think there was anything particularly noteworthy about the premise and, to be honest, Joel McHale and Chevy Chase may have been the only real draw. However, as early as the third episode (the one where Abed makes a documentary about his life), the show’s more experimental and “meta” elements began to shine through, hinting that something else was in store.
Then came the special “themed” episodes, most of which have gone on to become some of the show’s biggest talking points. From “Modern Warfare” (aka the paintball episode) to “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” and “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons”, the creative team behind Community let their imaginations run wild, pulling in the most obscure and random pop culture nuggets into this medley of madness. Sure, these episodes can and have been accused of being gimmicky, but somehow they always manage to be true to the characters. For better or worse, this is the stuff that Community will be remembered for.
This season’s “Digital Estate Planning” found the group playing an online video game with the majority of the episode taking place in a pixellated 8-bit virtual world. What delighted me most about this episode was not the fact that it simply referenced old games, but that each character interacted with the game in a way that was both appropriate and familiar (not to mention, hilarious). Since the episode aired, a Community fan out there has even taken it upon himself to recreate the actual game that they play in the episode, Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne. How many other comedies out there can inspire this kind of creativity and dedication? Whatever happens next season, Community will live on in the hearts and minds of its fans.