Friday, 23 May 2014

endings for beginners

As everyone who cares already knows, Community finally got the axe we've all been waiting for almost from the very start. In all honesty, I'm not too surprised; in terms of relative quality season five definitely lagged a bit behind the first three, and I started the show late enough that I never knew a version of Community that didn't have a background anxiety about cancellation. To be entirely honest with you as well as myself, I've been putting off writing this post. Because while its cancellation wasn't necessarily shocking, losing Community still hurts.
Part of my attachment to Community might just be a combination of timing and emotional state and associations-- I'm sure everyone has those things whose value lies somewhat more in the when than the what-- but the heart of it is what drew me back time and again. That heart, to summarize loosely and imprecisely, is a simple optimism-- life is hard and it sucks but sometimes it isn't and it doesn't, you aren't alone even when you feel like it. Dan Harmon called it a show for people who are "smart and nice" which is key to understanding it I think. Cleverness without (all) the cynicism. Some people have called it an heir to the tradition of Arrested Development, but that makes me wonder if they've really seen both shows. Technical tricks and some general structural work aside, they are different in theme and message and character types (considering this, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia seems like the better choice as descendant)
It suffered a lot of hits, both creatively and logistically, that I doubt any show could ever have recovered from, and it's almost miraculous it lasted to season five (especially given season four, which we don't talk about). But I at least let myself settle into it. Maybe this week's episode wouldn't be one you enjoyed, but it would still be there. It has not-a-few flaws, even before season four, but I'm not here to talk about those right now except perhaps to say "Greendale may be a toilet, but it's our toilet."
This was I guess just to say that I love Community and that I will miss it and that it changed me for the better and I am very grateful for it. I doubt I can whip up a Winger speech to bring us all home, but I can when the time comes wish you a happy October 19th.

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