Looking Back At COMMUNITY - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Looking Back At COMMUNITY

When the pilot episode of 'Community' aired on September 17, 2009, few could predict the cultural phenomenon it would become. On the surface, it seemed like a conventional sitcom about a diverse group of community college students. However, as episodes unfolded, it became evident that this show, spearheaded by the creative genius Dan Harmon, was destined to be anything but ordinary.

Origins and Premise

'Community' was loosely based on Dan Harmon's own experiences at a community college, where he attended with the intent of keeping his relationship afloat. The show takes place at the fictional Greendale Community College, where a disbarred lawyer named Jeff Winger enrolls to earn a "legitimate" degree. He forms a study group, initially with the ulterior motive to woo a fellow student. The group, however, quickly grows, pulling together a diverse mix of individuals: the idealistic Britta, pop-culture obsessed Abed, former high school quarterback Troy, motherly Shirley, Type-A personality Annie, and the eccentric millionaire Pierce.

The storylines vary from episode to episode, ranging from traditional character-driven plots to elaborate parodies of film genres, TV tropes, and pop culture moments. As a testament to its genius, episodes could shift from heartwarming moments of camaraderie to intricate homages to movies like 'Pulp Fiction' or TV series like 'Doctor Who' (with their own version, "Inspector Spacetime").

Behind the Scenes

The writing and production team behind 'Community' was a melting pot of creativity. Dan Harmon employed a unique method of storytelling, often referred to as the "story circle," an adaptation of the hero's journey, ensuring each episode was both entertaining and emotionally resonant. Alongside Harmon, directors like the Russo Brothers, who would later gain fame for their work on Marvel films, contributed to the show's distinct style and comedic rhythm.

The casting was another stroke of brilliance. Joel McHale led the ensemble as Jeff, with a supporting cast that included talents like Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Chevy Chase. Each actor brought depth and nuance to their characters, making them relatable and endearing to audiences.

Comparisons and Legacy

In the landscape of sitcoms, 'Community' often drew comparisons to shows like 'The Office' and 'Parks and Recreation' for its character-driven humor. However, its frequent breaking of the fourth wall and meta-humor set it apart. It wasn't just a sitcom; it was a commentary on sitcoms, media, and society.

Throughout its six-season run, the viewing figures were a rollercoaster, peaking in the earlier seasons with an average of 5 million viewers per episode. While it faced multiple cancellations, a fan-driven campaign rallied by the mantra "Six Seasons and a Movie" displayed its immense cult following.

Beyond ratings, 'Community's legacy is multifaceted. It introduced the world to the comedic brilliance of Donald Glover, who would go on to create 'Atlanta', and showcased the range of Alison Brie, who later starred in 'GLOW'. Its creative influence can be seen in later series that weren't afraid to experiment with format and break the fourth wall, like 'BoJack Horseman' or 'Rick and Morty' (another Harmon creation).

Furthermore, 'Community' was lauded for its representation. Abed, portrayed by Danny Pudi, was one of the few TV characters that presented an authentic portrayal of someone on the autism spectrum without reducing them to a stereotype.

Reuniting at Greendale: The Anticipated 'Community' Movie

The aforementioned fervent chant of fans, "Six Seasons and a Movie," which began as a quip within the show, is now manifesting into reality. The upcoming 'Community' movie has become one of the most eagerly anticipated projects, stoking the fires of nostalgia for fans worldwide.

Plot details remain tightly under wraps, but buzz suggests a reunion of the original study group, potentially revisiting Greendale for a special event. With the series known for its unpredictable nature, from paintball wars to alternate realities, the possibilities are tantalizingly endless. Fans are speculating whether the movie will follow a grand, cinematic style or stay true to the intimate, quirky dynamics of the series.

The potential return of Donald Glover's Troy Barnes is a major talking point. Having left the series in the fifth season for a voyage around the world, his character's return would be momentous. The ensemble cast, each of whom has since ventured into various successful projects, reuniting on-screen would be a cinematic event in itself.

The cultural significance of a 'Community' movie cannot be overstated. It's not just a continuation of a beloved series; it's a testament to the power of fandom, perseverance, and creative vision. As fans eagerly await more news, one thing is certain: the return to Greendale will be nothing short of epic.

In Conclusion

Looking back, 'Community' stands tall as a masterclass in television production. Its ingenious blending of humor, heart, and meta-commentary elevated it from a mere sitcom to a cultural touchstone. While its initial run faced challenges, from cast disputes to fluctuating ratings, its impact is undeniable. In the ever-evolving landscape of television, where shows often come and go without leaving a mark, 'Community' has etched its place in history. It's not just a testament to the power of creative storytelling but also a reminder of the communities we form and the stories we create within them. It showed us that, sometimes, the most unconventional families are the ones we choose.

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