“I’M NOBODY’S’ FOURTH GHOSTBUSTER.”
Note: The following review is SPOILER FREE!
Ever since that fateful throwaway gag in which Abed shouted “Six seasons and a movie!” it’s been the rallying cry for Community fans as they attempted to save Greendale from an uncertain fate when the show was on the bubble (and eventually cancelled) at NBC. Then the unlikeliest of revivals occurred when Yahoo! of all companies picked up the show and positioned it as the cornerstone of its new Yahoo Screen service. It’s been a long road to this point, but the real question is: How was it?
In short, great. Dan Harmon & Chris McKenna continued to deliver a fine half hour of television as the show moved from network TV to digital, and while not every episode was an instant classic, Season 6 will go down with its share of memorable outings, particularly “Grifting 101,” “Modern Espionage” and “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television.” While the show still had to compensate for the loss of many key cast members, Harmon & co. were still able to craft some great episodes, which ranged from the big satirical epics we know and love to smaller, more emotional stories. Not to mention there was great acting from the main cast, as well as a slew of guest stars like Nathan Fillion, Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz and Kumail Nanjiani.
However, the season wasn’t without its caveats. A big hurdle that the show had to face after being picked up by Yahoo! was the loss of another main cast member, as Yvette Nicole Brown left the show, and John Oliver & Jonathan Banks also departed for other shows. To fill that void, Keith David and Paget Brewster joined the cast as ‘90s tech wiz Elroy Patashnik and serious-to-a-fault Francine “Frankie” Dart, respectively. While Elroy fit in almost instantly with his dated references and stark worldview, Frankie never quite gelled with the rest of the cast. While every comedy certainly needs a straight-man (and Dan Aykroyd has shown us that the serious person can be just as funny as his unhinged friends), Frankie always felt more like an instigator than a member of the group, always introducing the central problem of the episode and not much else. While similarly straight-laced characters like Annie and the Dean have grown over the course of the show (the Dean is but a shadow of his former self), Frankie feels like the one character who has yet to find her inner Human Being.
The other major change of Season 6 was the extra time allowed by moving to Yahoo!. Freed from the restrictions of lengthy commercial breaks, episodes were now around 30 minutes long, giving the stories more room to breathe and add in extra scenes. This proved to be a double-edged sword, though. While it gave us some great endcaps (and a few great commercial parodies), they sometimes also served to run jokes into the ground or weird sketches almost entirely separate from the main plot. There was also a great amount of intertextuality this season, with the show constantly referencing its own production and in-jokes among fans. While amusing at the first, Season 6’s obsession with referencing itself got tiring, annoying even.
Community Season 6 will be one for the history books, as how the season was produced will likely continue to be as infamous as the season itself. The show had a few problems to work past after returning from the grave, and while it didn’t quite overcome them all, the writers were able to deliver a consistently good and sometimes great batch of episodes. Having a longer runtime and new characters like Elroy helped to keep the show fresh, and when Season 6 is looked back on, it’ll definitely be placed in the win column. Now, how ‘bout that movie?
88/100 – Great
How was ‘Community’’s sixth season? Did you enjoy the new cast members? Tweet me @MaxMielecki. And be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
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