Community Finale Rant

Have you ever had a chronic pain like a headache or a soreness that you don’t bother complaining about because 1) no one would really care, 2) it won’t do anything and 3) it might even make it work bringing attention to it? That’s how I’ve felt for the past year or so with the mishandling of the (probably very) last season of my favorite sitcom Community. Now that the season/series is officially over I feel that now I can break my silence and let some frustration out.

Community castI love Community from the first season even until now. It started like any other oddball single camera prime time  show but over the seasons it gained its own distinct voice and personality. The assemble cast was spot-on. Every character had their trademark that made them unique and lovable in their own way. It became meta, self-aware and as creator Dan Harmon says, “had its head up its own ass.” It appealed to the film geek and television nerd. It was a higher and smarter comedy.

Now, I knew that dark days were ahead with the ratings war was going on last season. It was getting crushed by the heavy hitters of The Big Bang Theory over at CBS. And that’s all that matters to networks; ratings are what appeals to advertisers. Without good ratings, there is no show because there will be no funding. So what is NBC’s solution? Cut it in half to save money. Okay… I think the writers can work with half the time, they’re smart. No. There goes the creator, the main brain behind the writing. Dan Harmon is removed from his position and made a “creative consultant.” And if things can’t get any worse, it gets pushed to mid-season. Great. We’ll have Christmas and Thanksgiving episodes in the spring. Perfect. Mishandling on no one’s but the network’s. Pitiful.

It all translated to the quality of the show. It was easy to see. This past season wasn’t the same. How it was before was an interaction between very different characters where everyone was correct in their own right. But now, the dialogue turned to the traditional set-up/punchline rinse and repeat bull that all other sitcoms were great at doing. No. Not Community it’s not like that. It’s not those shows.

Let’s go back to what should have happened in season 4. The set-up of the last episode of season 3 was flawless. The darkest timeline was destroyed. Jeff made the decision to contact his dad; an shadow that hung over him for the entire show. Chang was setting up to take over Greendale for City College. Britta was apparently moving in with Troy, Abed, and Annie (at least that was my impression.) These three things weren’t capitalized on. Jeff’s dad was supposed to be a conman. How great would it have been to have that kind of psychological battle that Jeff wages with himself? It would have made an incredible episode! The whole over-arching season should have had the infiltration of Chang and City College. No. They had to mess around with the idiot “Changnesia” and waste Ken Jeong’s talent on a horrible version of the most maniacal professor/student/officer. Lastly, there could have been another “bottle episode” of the four in the apartment and the differences with guys and girls in their living habits. Would’ve made a simple but brilliant episode.

But I try to critique what a product IS and not what I hoped it could have been. What it is is horrible. Sorry. I had high hopes…maybe they were too high? I don’t know, but the idea of an Inspector Spacetime convention was riveting to me. Had great potential. Squashed by an incompetent writing staff. The puppet episode would have been great to explain why Pierce was cut from the cast (except he showed up in the last episode or two) but I guess the creators couldn’t be inventive.

I don’t know the specifics and logistics behind making a TV show, I’m just a writer, but I’ve seen more clever things coming from this staff before. Anyway, this was just my rant. I’m sorry that Community had to go down in such ugly fashion. At least we’ll have season 1-3 to watch for forever.

The last episodes were passable, I’ll give them that.



Neflix Fix: Breaking Bad 1-4

Break Bad with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.

Walter and Jesse break bad in each episode.

There is an abundance of TV shows on Netflix. Those with high reputation like How I Met Your Mother, Arrested Development and Glee. And others that no one cares to ever watch like Supernatural, Blue Mountain State or Trailer Park Boys. Other TV shows serve as a continual narrative which captivates fans to watch every single episode, follow each characters arc and understand the ins and outs of the show’s universe. Shows that re like this are Lost, Mad Men and Heroes. But the one of these types of shows I am an avid fan of and can’t wait for its 5th and final season is Breaking Bad.

Breaking Bad is a story of Walter White, chemistry genius and high school chemistry teacher who is working another job at a car wash just to provide for his pregnant wife and handicapped son. Season One sets up his situation: after Walter goes on a ride-along meth bust with his brother-in-law and after realizing how much money is made in the production and distribution of those drugs an idea occurs to him that will solve all his financial woes. At that drug bust he sees a former student who he supposes is in the underground industry already. Jesse Pinkman is that student. Eventually they meet up and Walter convinces Jesse to partner with him. Walter does the manufacturing and Jesse does the business end. Sounds like a good plan, right?

The 4 season arc follows these two in their cover ups, exploitations all while dodging the law. Each episode is 48 minutes long giving enough time and attention to each character and their developments.

Bryan Cranston plays the lead protagonist. He gives a believable and captivating performance each and every performance. He’s an anti-hero; a hero you root for while they’re doing the wrong things. Jesse Pinkman is played by Aaron Paul. He has this presence on the screen where you just can’t help but love his “don’t give a crap” attitude and sharp lines. By the way, these two have each won Golden Globes on the same year. So, I’m not the only viewer that appreciates their performance.

Okay, so one concern I had when I was starting to watch this was the content. Yes, it’s about manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine. It’s a sketchy and ugly subject to have a whole show based on. But the protagonist has a moral code to not use it himself, his purpose is to provide for his family. It’s the characterization of “would you steal a loaf of bread to feed your family?” It’s about how far a family will go to protect and provide. A noble mission but just done the wrong way. Every one of his actions affects those around him negatively. He gets so far deep that it becomes impossible to get out. That’s the appeal of this show.

Fair warning: if you get into this show you’ll be addicted. Netflix only has season 1-3 for stream and season 5 will be available on the 15th of July, the same day the final season will premiere.

So stream! Now on Netflix. Let me know what you think.

Disclaimer: this is a repost from my other blog “Fixing Netflix” that I’m integrating into this blog.