TV Review: “Community” Season 6 – A Return to Form

Written by Michelle Young June 02, 2015

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Well, they’ve done it. “Community” has finally made it to its highly coveted sixth season which, for a show that has been “on the bubble” since its first season, is quite a feat. The last few seasons haven’t exactly been all sunshine and rainbows for this little show that could. “Community’s” behind the scenes drama often manifests itself on the screen, whether it’s Chevy Chase’s antics or Dan Harmon’s displeasure with network executives. This year, the big change came from the show being released on Yahoo! Screen instead of NBC. But this switch actually seemed to benefit the show. Without some of the limitations of network TV holding them back, “Community” was really free to be its wacky, irreverent self.

The sixth season of “Community” begins with the study group coming off the high of having just saved the school from being sold to Subway. But the good time is quickly brought to a halt after the cafeteria ceiling collapses from the weight of a decade’s worth of roofed Frisbees. The Dean (Jim Rash) decides to hire hard-nosed administrative consultant Francesca “Frankie” Dart (Paget Brewster) to oversea the upgrades. From here, hijinks ensue, as initially the group doesn’t take too well to Frankie, but eventually come around when they see that she’s just as messed up as the rest of them.

“How much can you improve Greendale before it stops being Greendale?”

The rest of the season involves exactly what we have come to expect from “Community”, with an eclectic mixture of high concept episodes, homages, and parodies filled with callbacks, inside jokes, and pop-culture allusions. They have once again achieved a steady balance of their own brand of absurd humour and self-reference without going so far up their own butts that they come out the other side dressed as Muppets. The jokes and concepts make sense again and don’t diminish the work that came before it by simply trying to cash in on the popularity. The episode that brought back Rick (Travis Schuldt), a.k.a Subway, deftly spoofed its own advertising without relying too much on the great episode that inspired it.

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The quality of this season of “Community” is also admirable when you consider the fact that nearly half of the original cast has left the show. The last two seasons saw Pierce (Chevy Chase) die and Troy (Donald Glover) leave to sail around the world with Levar Burton. At the beginning of this season, we also learn – through a wonderfully zany spoof on network TV crime procedurals – that Shirley has moved down South to work as the personal chef for a wheelchair-bound homicide detective. The addition of new faces certainly helps overcome these losses. Last season they brought on Jonathan Banks to fill the void, and this season they’ve added Paget Brewster and Keith David who both fit in pretty well with the rest of the cast.

“Good shows change, I assume. Personally, I don’t own a TV.”

This season really bring home the idea that “Community” has returned closer to what it was before the disastrous fourth season (which is now referred to as the “gas leak year”). It takes all the momentum the fifth season brought and keeps it going, setting themselves up perfectly for (hopefully) many more seasons, as well a movie. The season finale of the sixth season of Community airs June 2, and with the title “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television”, I’m sure it’s going to be an awesomely self-aware end to a great season overall.

My Rating: 8/10

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