TV Review: “Community” Season 4 – Time for Graduation?

Written by Hana Elniwairi March 26, 2013

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While “Community” likely does not need a synopsis, here is a short one, just in case you’ve never been to the Internet. “Community” is a comedy centered around a mis-matched group of 7 community college students, with ages varying from 18 to 100+, who form a study group at the beginning of their first year. The show then shows the progression of their relationship, as a group, and individually, all while utilizing some witty meta-comedy and rarely taking itself too seriously. “Community” truly is one of the best comedies on TV currently.

Or at least it was. After uncertainty regarding whether the show would even be renewed for a 4th season, then losing its creator, and the delay of its premiere, fans of “Community” were pretty much happy just to have a 4th season. Nonetheless, a good look at the show so far might just indicate that it’s time for the show to wrap things up.

A Post-Harmon “Community”

One of the biggest changes that occured to “Community” is losing Dan Harmon from the writing team. Harmon was praised for his ability to inject “Community” with natural humour that never felt as though he was trying to force it down our throats. It was funny, light-hearted, and just a good time. Season 4 of “Community” opened up by seemingly completely throwing all that out the window. The premiere episode, “History 101”, started things off with a unique concept -The Hunger Deans- but it complicated things by layering plotline over plotline, all of which would have been quite good – had they been separated.

Fortunately, the rest of season 4 does not seem to be continuing on that track. “Community” retains some of its natural humour, but to some viewers, the loss of Harmon is still evident. But here’s the thing: if you watch season 4 of “Community” on its own, without comparing it to the previous three seasons, you’ll most likely find that the differences aren’t as drastic as most make them out to seem. Yes, the show can sometimes feel like it’s trying just a little bit more than it used to, but considering how much worse it could have been, “Community” is doing pretty well.

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Where “Community” does seem to need the most work, however, is in the relationships within the Study Group. In the past, Jeff and Annie’s complicated relationship was implied, the attraction between Britta and Troy was subtly hinted at, and most importantly, the friendship of the group as a whole always took precedence. In season 4, “Community” appears to be following suit with most of the TV shows on these days, and making the relationships painstakingly obvious. Britta and Troy dating sometimes grates at my nerves and distracts from the rest of the show. Annie is often made out to seem like a bit of a psychopath in her ‘love’ for Jeff (see Conventions of Space and Time), and everything just feels a little off.

However, season 4 of “Community” is doing a couple of things pretty well. The most obvious one that appears to be working pretty well is Jeff’s plot line with his father. The fifth episode, Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relationships, took us deep into that relationship with the estranged father, and introduced a refreshing comedic face in Jeff’s half-brother, William Winger Jr., played by Adam Devine. Both the storyline with the father, and Devine’s performance made that episode, and I sincerely hope we see more of that in the upcoming six episodes.

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The Final Verdict

Season 4 of “Community” is not a total bomb. Yes, it’s not exactly the same as it once was, but the show still retains the essence of what made it amazing in the first place. Most likely, though, season 4 is going to be time for “Community” to graduate away from our TV screens, and let me say that for once, that might be a good things. Some things are best when they come with an expiration date, and as painful as it is to say, I would rather “Community” end now than come back mangled out of recognition.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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About Hana Elniwairi

Hana is a student at UWO, studying Psychology and Creative Writing. She enjoys watching movies and TV, no matter how much she complains about them or claims otherwise.

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