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Seven questions about the return of Community

- February 4th, 2013

Community

Greendale’s back in session! After an agonizing nine-month wait – a delay more painful than watching videos of Leonard reviewing snack food on YouTube, or listening to Pierce Hawthrone describe his airplane bathroom encounter with Eartha Kitt – Community returns to television screens this week. Looking ahead to Thursday’s season-four premiere, here are seven questions we’re pondering as the members of our favourite study group, The Greendale Seven, start their senior year.

  1. What will it be like with series creator Dan Harmon gone? Though new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port have assured fans that they’ll be maintaining the spirit of Community, you’ve got to look at the new episodes with some skepticism. Wasn’t this series based on Harmon’s real-life experiences with a community college study group? It’s difficult to imagine the show without his voice. It’s like firing Quentin Tarantino halfway through the filming of a Tarantino movie, or removing Phil Jackson from behind the bench of those championship Chicago Bulls teams of the ’90s.
  2. How will they explain the absence of Pierce Hawthorne? With Chevy Chase’s departure last November, Community lost one of its most hilarious characters. It’ll be interesting to see how the writers deal with the fact that Chase only appears in 11 of the 13 episodes. He does make an appearance in the season finale, however, and the reported cliffhanger ending will leave the fate of his character in the air. Will they deal with his death later, in a season-five premiere, Two-and-a-Half-Men style?
  3. Will the storylines become more conventional? Community’s clever meta-humour and daring plot choices have helped the series develop a loyal following. But the esoteric plots from season three – such as the alternative realities episode, or the episode where Abed films a documentary about Dean Pelton’s commercial – felt a little too off the wall for some viewers, including Sun television columnist Bill Harris. Guarascio and Port will likely dial down the crazy. But that’s not necessarily a good thing.
  4. Will the season’s delay affect the plot? NBC’s decision to bump season four from its original October launch date to February could create some out-of-sync storylines. Will we be watching a Christmas episode in April? Will some cultural references seem dated? Some bloggers have noted that Thursday’s Hunger Games parody – The Hunger Deans – may have felt fresher in the fall.
  5. Will any new romances crop up? Teaser clips for season four seem to hint at the continuing sparks between Troy and Britta. Are Jeff and Annie completely over? Will Magnitude finally find a companion for lengthy conversations consisting of only “pop pop”? One thing’s for sure – Dean Pelton will still be holding a candle for Jeff Winger.
  6. What will Ben Chang’s new role be? So far, he’s been a Spanish teacher, a student and a security guard. We’re hoping his new persona lends itself to a cornucopia of fresh Chang puns.
  7. What guest stars will show up? We’ve already seen appearances by Jack Black, Patton Oswalt, LeVar Burton, Drew Carey, Rob Corddry, Hilary Duff, Luis Guzman, French Stewart and Taran Killam. And John Goodman excelled last season in his recurring role as the intimidating Vice Dean Laybourne. So far, we’ve heard that season four will include glimpses of Malcom McDowell, Jason Alexander and Little Britain’s Matt Lucas. And James Brolin playing Jeff’s father? Sounds good to us.

Whether or not this becomes Community’s final season – and whether or not the quality of season four is “streets ahead” – we’ll definitely be tuning in. Six seasons and a movie? We can only dream.

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2 comments

  1. Ottawa_Paul | February 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    You are telling me the episode where Jeff rolled the dice to create alternate realities was a weak one?
    I think it is considered one of the all time best!..??

  2. Don Duquette | February 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    This 1st episode left me thinking that the show is REALLY missing Harmon’s influence.
    I also agree that the rolling of the dice episode in season 3 was one of the best ever, along with the blanket forts in season 2.

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