Photo Courtesy of impawards.com
Jon Poilpre ‘15
Sitcoms have long been the Mexican food of network television. They’re either enticing and original, or disastrous and a cause of great regret on all sides. Or, in other words, their quality has an impressive range, extending from the pillars of modern culture like Seinfeld, The Simpsons, or even Arrested Development, to the lesser-known Cavemen , My Mother the Car, or Homeboys in Space.
However, it could be argued that Community lies closer to the top of the gamut of sitcoms; in fact, it’s been called one of the best. The confusing truth, however, is that Community has been on the fringe of being cancelled for the past two seasons, and many expect the 2012-2013 season, the show’s fourth, to be its last.
The reason for Community’s popularity and cultural significance could be credited to it’s generous use of the idea of “meta”. The show is, in a sense, a clever sitcom pretending to be an unoriginal sitcom in order to poke fun at other unoriginal sitcoms. A theme the show centers around is taking classic plot lines– such as “the heist movie”, found in Ocean’s 11, Mission: Impossible, or Inception– and performing them in an outrageous and hilarious way on the campus of a local community college.
The driver for the show’s meta-ness is a main character Abed, a student/amateur filmmaker at the college. His role is unique because although he serves as the third man in the three-men-three-women main character distribution, he really is more of a storyteller, a guide of sorts on the group’s adventures. His attention to the mechanics of filmmaking is a reason that the show appeals to film buffs or those in the creative industries.
Despite the show’s uncommon approach to what a modern sitcom is, Community’s Nielsen ratings are continually lower than anticipated. However, the show has a strong following on social media sites such as Twitter, which will hopefully influence NBC’s decision in the coming weeks of whether to renew the show for season 5.
The season 4 finale was on May 9th, but you can tune into the episodes for free online at http://www.nbc.com/community/ .