After being unexpectedly prompted by a friend on Facebook who was doing the same, I recently decided to take another trip to Greendale Community College by revisiting all six seasons of the sitcom Community. The series, which aired five seasons on NBC from 2009 to 2014 and was resurrected by Yahoo! Screen (the web company Yahoo!’s meager attempt to enter the streaming market) for a sixth and final season in 2015, was one of my favorites during its initial run on broadcast television but I lost track of it shortly after its transition to the web. So returning to Greendale offered some exciting prospects. I was not only excited to return to the show’s delightfully quirky and brilliantly written early years, but I was also completely stoked to finally see how the series wrapped things up in the end.
While the first half of the show’s lifespan could be considered smoking hot, the latter three seasons are lukewarm at its best and a far cry from its former self at its worst. But in the end, I was glad to get through the duration of the show’s 110 episodes. Furthermore, while the last season was easily one of its worst, the finale does offer a bittersweet emotional payoff that longtime viewers will likely be looking for. It also promptly ends with a screen displaying only the hashtag #AndAMovie, a direct reference to the character of Abed’s second season mantra of “six seasons and a movie.” Community was miraculously able to squeeze in the requisite six seasons (though they narrowly dodged cancellation every single time), but will the movie eventually materialize as well? For something as meta and hyper-aware of itself as Community was, it would certainly be appropriate for Abed’s mantra to instead become a prophecy.
The show first started losing itself during its “gas leak” season. This occurred during the fourth season when Dan Harmon, the creator and showrunner, was dismissed by NBC and replaced by Happy Endings writers David Guarascio and Moses Port. Though Guarascio and Port likely tried their best, Community just wasn’t the same without Harmon’s quick sense of humor and biting wit. NBC eventually realized as much and re-hired Harmon after the fourth season ended and instead fired star Chevy Chase — the likely culprit behind Harmon’s ouster in the first place. Once he took back over the following season, the cast of characters blamed a school-wide “gas leak” for the previous year’s uncharacteristic nonsense. The show got off to a dramatically improved start this season as well, handing John Oliver’s beloved character of Ian Duncan more screen time and adding Breaking Bad star Jonathan Banks to the cast in the wake of Chase’s departure. But things would only worsen from there once original stars Donald Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown said their goodbyes shortly thereafter.
Though the last few seasons of Community weren’t great, there is still plenty of reason why it needs its movie. With perhaps the exception of Chevy Chase, I cannot foresee a scenario in which this cast wouldn’t want to reunite. Star Gillian Jacobs even agrees, having told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year that, “I just know whenever we all see each other as the cast, we all reiterate that we would love to do the movie.” Not to mention it would set the stage for both Glover and Brown to return and reunite with their favorite study group without having to commit to a lengthy television contract. It would also give the writers an opportunity to play them off of the fantastic new characters they weren’t given the chance to act opposite after their departures.
Perhaps most importantly, whereas the series finale left only Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Jacobs) as the remaining two members of the “Greendale Seven” left behind, a film could see them finally reunited with their wayward friends and beginning a new adventure they can tackle together. Maybe not back at Greendale, but perhaps something on a more global scale. They could even fill the seat vacated by Pierce (Chase) with someone like Frankie Dart, the consultant who was superbly portrayed by Paget Brewster as one of the final season’s rare bright spots. I’m even picturing the movie’s plot: a dilemma brought to the group by Annie (Alison Brie) — because most of the show’s best episodes revolved around Annie inconspicuously getting the group into trouble — after she takes a break from her crazy FBI job for an “innocent” visit. Sounds like the perfect set-up to me! The only other thing the movie would somehow need is a whole lot of paintballs.
Dan Harmon, if you’re reading: Where we at on this movie business?! And to the rest of the Community community: Where we at on this getting Dan Harmon on this movie business business?!
In the meantime, you can watch Community in its entirety right now on Hulu.