Sunday, March 22, 2015

Open The Door To Season Four

I recently rewatched the dreaded season four of Community.  The first three season the show was at full strength--all the study group seven were there and creator Dan Harmon was in charge.  But then Harmon got fired and new producers were brought in.  The behind-the-scenes people weren't all changed, but without Harmon is wasn't the same, and the first time through the season seemed hollow.

Did I change my mind?  Not entirely.  But while there are a fair number of dreadful episodes, such as "Paranormal Parentage," Alternative History Of The German Invasion" and "Cooperative Escapism In Familial Relations," just as often there are shows that would have at least been considered passable in earlier seasons, such as "Herstory Of Dance," "Intro To Knots" and (written by Community actor and Oscar-winning writer Jim Rash) "Basic Human Anatomy."

Still, it's hard to ignore the problems.  Above all, the show just isn't as clever.  A lot of the lines land with a thud, and rarely surprise, as they so often do when Community is at its best.  About as bad, the show doesn't pay off on the emotional side--changes in relationships are too rushed, and there are too many unearned moments where people simply speak their feelings rather than demonstrate them.

What the fourth season seems like is fan fiction--they know the characters and their plots from the past quite well, but don't generally capture the magic that made them special.  But maybe I'm looking at it as half empty.  Even in so-so episodes, such as "Conventions Of Space And Time" or "Heroic Origins" (which makes a hash of the past) there are some solid  moments.

So, overall, I guess we should consider the season part of the show, not simply a mistake. But if you want to watch the ten top episodes, or even the top fifty, they're not here.

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