One of my least favorite things to do is write about a show part way through. I usually dislike talking about a series when its full hand hasn’t been revealed, and there is still more to discover. But what if you don’t like what has been shown? What if it hasn’t instilled confidence in the viewer that the show has a leg to stand on? That’s how I feel about the current season of Community.
Six seasons and a movie felt like a far off dream after Community’s cancellation by NBC, and then perhaps a slight possibility when Yahoo! resuscitated the show. And though season five was a vast improvement over previous seasons for the favorite cult show with the return of Dan Harmon, perhaps it was not enough to keep the ship sailing correctly. In the new season, we see the continued loss of two of the original Greendale Seven, Troy and Pierce, while also losing two more characters. First, Buzz Hickey, the criminology teacher played by Jonathan Banks and introduced in the previous season as a seat filler for Pierce, but more importantly, Yvette Nicole Brown who portrays Shirley, one of the original cast members. The show’s character dynamic has, for lack of a better phrase, become completely f’d up. While Chang has been promoted to fill the void of the racist and incompetent that Pierce embodied, a lot of the humor from the character is lost by over-saturation. Two new characters, the organized and mature Frankie Dart that consults for the school seems to me to just be an older Annie, and the crotchety computer scientist Elroy Patashnik feels like a second Hickey.
Moving past the character relationships, this season has done nothing to set itself apart. The only memorable or “special” episode I’ve seen this season was the virtual reality episode, and while that one was good, no others have matched that standard. While certainly not as bad as season four, after the rollercoaster of quality, it is hard for me to remain enthusiastic of a show that feels like half of the product it was even two seasons ago.
While only seven episodes in, Community season six is more than half over and has a lot of ground to make up if it wants to be worthy of my continued support. I like Harmon’s work, and still look forward to Rick and Morty season two, but this show seems out of his hands with all the patchwork characters and boring scenes. I remain hopeful for a turnaround that would explain why I wanted this sixth season, and why a movie should even be considered. But so far, it all just feels streets behind.