I have been a fan of Community since it’s debut in 2009. The first season was stomach-busting funny. The second season, I lost a couple of kidneys. The third season continued with loss of internal organs although the show was starting to get a little weird, and then Season 4…definitely weird, but still funny, in that look-at-each-other-and-laugh kind of funny.
And that should have been the end of it, Season 4, that is. Always in danger of being cancelled because of low numbers (easy to understand: American Idol, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory…Community is a tad bit out of those viewers’ reach), Season 4 was what the few of us faithful fans figured was a good send off: everyone graduates, so to speak, and goes on to new lives that may, or may not, involve possible reunion episodes.
But, there’s a Season 5.
Which is nothing short of a miracle, given the self-inflicted body blows that Community has endured, such as the removal of producer Dan Harmon (who appears to be someone who doesn’t play well with others) and the epic struggles with Chevy “get-off-of-my-lawn” Chase. Besides, the nature of the show didn’t lend itself to a 5th Season: it’s about a community college, and even three seasons was a bit of a stretch.
So, I figured Season 5 was going to be a jumped shark year, a sad, pale shadow of its former self, like watching Terrell Owens trying to get back into football. But, no.
It’s freakin’ great.
First, they brought back Dan Harmon, which is like Los Alamos realizing they can’t do without Robert Oppenheimer. Second, they preserved the characters but changed their roles in a way that makes sense, at least, for another year. Then there is the introduction of a new character, Professor Buzz Hickey, played by Jonathan Banks of Breaking Bad fame. Ordinarily, this gets the bike over the shark, but he plays something the show has long needed—a sane human being as counterpoint to the rest.
And look what they’ve done:
Butt Crack Bandit: Law and Order on Greendale.
Lava Floor: a bow to the previously epic Blanket Fort and Paintball episodes.
So, another year of freaking hilarious, hyper-fast patter that you have to rewind and listen to again in order to catch everything. And Starburns is back.
Thank you, TV Gods.