Saturday, April 19, 2014

Finale Ultimo

So I watched the season finale of Community, "Basic Sandwich," thinking it might be the final episode ever. The ratings have been bad and NBC hasn't picked up the show yet.  No doubt the producers understood this, as they sort of wrapped things up--against all odds, Greendale was saved, which meant Jeff and Britta didn't have to get married.  (Don't worry if that doesn't make sense.)  Abed also noted just in case the show doesn't return it will mean all humanity has been destroyed by an asteroid, and that's canon.

The funny thing is the show has been on the edge of cancelation the last three years, and each of those seasons had a finale designed to wrap everything up.  If it's possible to look back before we're certain the show is over, here's what I'd say about the series.

Mainly, it's been the best comedy on the air during its time (with the possible exception of Party Down, which was of such short duration I'm not sure if it can be included in any such list).  Community never got the acclaim of Modern Family or the ratings of The Big Bang Theory (in fact, it was scheduled against TBBT and was regularly crushed), and there were some other shows that were pretty funny as well, mostly on NBC Thursday nights, but nothing was as special as Community, and nothing was anywhere near as daring.  It didn't always hit its target, but when it did, nothing could touch it.

That said, the last two shortened season were letdowns.  Let's put it this way--the "real" Community was the first three seasons.  Fans may argue which of those seasons was best, but each offered more than its share of classic episodes.  The fourth season was the zombie season, when we still had the same actors, the same sets, etc., but without creator Dan Harmon, the show didn't have the same insides.  There were some amusing moments, but the characters didn't have the same charm and the plots generally seemed off.  Then came season five, with Harmon back--better than four, but something was missing.  Pierce was gone the entire season and Troy most of it.  The show was built around the main seven and losing two hurt the chemistry, no matter how many guest stars and recurring characters they added.  Also, whereas previously it was seven students in a study group, now it was a bunch of adults trying to save a school.  Not a disastrous difference, perhaps--something had to be done with the fact they'd graduated--but still, not the same thing.  The fifth season offered some pretty good to very good episodes, but nothing I'd call classic.

So while I'm still hoping for one more year, if this is it, at least we know we got three amazing seasons.  I can't complain.

By chance, I caught another season finale that was quite aware it could all be over--The Neighbors. I watched the show its first season because it was on between The Middle and Modern Family. The premise was pretty stupid--a regular family moves into a neighborhood where their neighbors are aliens--but it turned out to be fun.  Hardly great, but Larry Bird and Jackie Joyner-Kersee made the show work for me.  (Once again, don't worry if that makes no sense.)  Then it moved to Friday nights and that was pretty much the end for me.

The final episode of the second season, "There Goes The Neighbors' Hood," had all the aliens leave the community except the main family, which meant regular humans are about to move in. Also, Larry Bird got pregnant.

So clearly they're set up for a third season which probably won't come. So if this was the end, they went out in a blaze of glory. Early on the two aliens recap what happened last week for Tim Allen fans who may still be watching (and for me, since this was the only episode I watched all season).  Later, Jami Gertz as Debbie Weaver admitted she can't believe the nonsense that's been coming out her mouth this season.  Finally, all the regulars stood together at the end, certain that they're up for another season.

I hope they get it.  I may not watch it, but it'd be nice to know it's around.


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