Community Review: Trying to Harmon-ize

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The Community Season 4 premiere was saddled with one of the strangest set-ups any episode will ever face: aside from being delayed multiple months, it took on the challenge of replacing a showrunner with which almost all viewers were familiar.

Dan Harmon is gone, a majority of fans were stunned to learn that news and they were similarly afraid that such a change would alter the unique aspects of Community we've all grown to love.

Community Season 4 Premiere Pic

So how did "History 101" deal with such a task? By addressing it straight-on, of course. By going Ultimate Meta. Even for Community.

We were told on numerous occasions that change was the theme of the episode. There’s something changed, Troy said at one point. I don't know why I was so worried about change. This year's gonna be great, Dean Pelton exclaimed toward the end.

And in between Aben went into his own universe, but this one was an extreme version of what scared many viewers the most: that, without Harmon, Community would simply become another generic sitcom... without the controversial Chevy Chase, that is.

The concept was ridiculous and hilarious, but it also tried a bit too hard to wink at the audience, to let fans who keep up with the show online know that the new creators (Moses Port and David Guarascio) were aware of their fears and were going out of their way to assure us all that it would be okay.

Abed would continue to be whacky; the Dean would continue to arrange absurd challenges and gawk at Jeff; Annie would continue to be more wholesome than she realized; Pierce would continue to be hated on; and so on.

I can understand where they were coming from, but the episode felt forced. It felt like exactly what it was: two guys, taking over for one guy, and trying as hard as possible to prove they were going to be just as silly as that guy.

The Shirley/Annie prank storyline was fun, and putting Troy and Britta officially together has a lot of potential. And it's beyond a thrill to just have these amazing characters back in our lives. But now that Port and Guarascio have made their statement about what sort of Community they'' be helming, let's hope they no longer feel a need to prove themselves and simply let these crazy individuals be their crazy selves on a weekly basis.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (113 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


My biggest complaint so far is having Britta and Troy dating. It makes absolutely no sense and feels very off. My least favorite aspect of season three was the two of them flirting. I may not be a big fan of Jeff and Annie, at least it is an understandable lead to follow.


Waiting for months to see this piece of garbage was so disappointing. I loved the show the past three seasons, but this first episode was so bad. The AbedTV thing that goes to a laugh track and multi-camera was not funny at all. The Dean was the best part of the episode, but overall it was not good, they jumped around so much with the story. It better get better than this.


I enjoyed it. Not the best Community's delivered, but probably not the worst. I had quite a few laugh-out-loud moments (oh man, STORAGE WARS!!)...but I agree, it's a little off. It just seemed like they were doing TOO MUCH in one. My problem with this episode was this: Community's parodies & homages - and even references - to single pop-culture events have been great in the past because they've been so detailed and so specific in their execution. My Dinner with Andre, Apocalypse Now: Redux, Law & Order - their parodies all worked because they nailed every aspect of them, and they were all pointedly purposeful. The Hunger Games, muppet babies and multicam schticks they did tonight seemed more like "ooh, look what we can do", rather than something with a point. That being said, I'm REALLY glad the show is back, and I'm still keeping my hopes up...


I hope this show will actually get the ratings it deserves. Honestly, though, I don't see it surviving past this season.


Loved it. Loved everything about it. COMMUNITY IS BACK. Six seasons and a movie y'all!!

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