Fans are understandably up in arms over the show’s recently announced ominous and indefinite mid-season hiatus.
Right now the critically acclaimed and criminally under-appreciated NBC comedy “Community” is entering a network television limbo. While the peacock network vows that the show isn’t being cancelled, its mid-season vanishing act from the winter schedule isn’t reason to be optimistic. Fans of the show — critics included — seem to be preparing for the atypical “Save (Enter Show with Loyal Fans and Low Ratings Here)” campaign. These demonstrations of support have been both successful (see: “Friday Night Lights“) and not so much (see: “Freaks and Geeks”). As of now it appears as though “Community” is primed to join the ranks of the prematurely cancelled shows forever stuck in arrested development.
NBC isn’t exactly the best run or most successful station on network TV, however for the past couple years they had been doing one thing correctly — Thursday night. Their comedy block, which featured “Community,” “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office” and “30 Rock” was the finest two hours of sitcoms on basic cable and possibly all of television. However instead of showing all four shows back-to-back-to-back-to-back for an entire season NBC uses their popularity to try and force a lesser sitcom into a hit — last season it was “Outsourced” this year it’s “Whitney.”
This attempt to manufacture a highly rated new comedy instead of deftly crafting one has lead to truncated seasons of “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock” and now “Community.” Fortunately for “Parks” and “30 Rock” the shows have a bit more power and influence than “Community” considering their SNL connections and star power. Nevertheless last year “Parks and Recreation” faced a similar situation when they were surprisingly pushed back to a January premiere, yet proceeded to produce arguably the funniest show on TV on a week-by-week basis.
“Community” has been responsible for Chevy Chase’s comeback, Donald Glover’s unfathomably quick rise, introducing Danny Pudi and allowing Joel McHale another outlet to be smug and sarcastic. Last week, creator Dan Harmon was even discussing the possibility of casting Bill Murray—now he’s unsure he’ll still have a show. But you never know—this could give “Community’s” talented writing staff more time to do pen an incredible second half of the season. What I’m trying to say is nothing is set in stone, however the future doesn’t look bright for a show that has been rather up and down in its third season — however an up and down “Community” season is still better than anything else NBC has up its sleeve.