Tonight is the night that Community returns to NBC’s line-up. Community has been off the air since early December mainly due to low ratings but NBC has been bombarded with angry letters, e-mails, and tweets from rabid fans who are demanding the show’s return. Given the state of NBC’s line-up, which hasn’t looked particularly strong in nearly ten years, the network may be wise to give the people what they want.
Community has reached cult status in a very short amount of time. The show frequently references pop-culture and teeters along the fourth wall barrier, leading one to suggest that the characters are somewhat aware that they’re in a TV show. This is all part of Community’s charm though and it’s blossomed into one of the most promising new comedies in a long time.
Community is about the daily adventures of a study group at Greendale Community College. It features an ensemble cast, which includes Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, and Ken Jeong. The show has attracted celebrity guest stars such as John Goodman, Drew Caret, Josh Holloway, and Betty White. So even though Community hasn’t achieved mainstream popularity, it’s still one of the most widely respected shows currently on television.
Like many before it, such as Arrested Development, Community suffers from low ratings. This can be attributed to the show’s frequent references to prior episodes, which alienates those who haven’t been watching since the beginning. Community is also a rewarding show for those familiar with pop culture, but more casual fans may miss a lot of the jokes.
Despite this, Community is one of the few things that NBC has done right. The network’s line-up has been completely decimated after years of bad programming and it’s suffered many years of “rebuilding” with more or less nothing to show for it. Many good shows have gotten the axe during this process but Community should not be among the casualties.
As Arrested Development’s impending return to Showtime has shown us, cancellation isn’t necessarily the end of the line for shows that we love. But in Community’s case, cancellation shouldn’t be on the table. Two and a half seasons is hardly enough time for a beloved show like Community to find it’s niche and the constant timeslot changes really haven’t done it any favors.
Community deserves a fourth season, even if ratings don’t drastically improve when it returns. The spring season, especially March, is not a good time to judge whether or not a show will perform longterm. NBC should give it another chance to shine and I implore the peacock network to do so.