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Community: Introduction to Finality

“Cruel, cruel, cruel.”

I'd like to start by apologising for taking so long with this review. It has been one hell of a turbulent week for Community fans and I've been having trouble articulating my thoughts and feelings about this episode, Dan Harmon's departure, and what the future holds for the show. I still am. Too bad I didn't have Sony to tell me what to say and think (way to Thought Police, guys). Anyway, after struggling for a week, this rambling mess is the best I could come up with. I hope you enjoy it.

When I first watched this finale I had a lot of reasons to be happy. So very happy. Community, along with all my other favourite shows, had been renewed for a fourth season. Yes, it was only for 13 episodes. And yes, it was exiled to Friday nights. And yes, it is going to be paired with Whitney. But a renewal is still a renewal. And for a show that has danced with death as much as this one it is an even happier event. One worth celebrating.

But that was before the dark times. Sure, it had been rumoured for some time. But many of us, myself and Joel McHale included, hoped and prayed it would not happen. Sadly, no one was listening and now the worst has come to pass. The show will be back in the autumn but without creator and showrunner Dan Harmon. I'm not going to comment on the circumstances surrounding Harmon's departure. I don't know all the facts about why it happened, just hearsay and rumours, so I'm not going to talk about it until I do.

But there's no doubt that Harmon's removal is a major blow to the series. Our timeline is now 90% darker as a result. Not a full 100% darker, that would require Community to be cancelled. But it's still pretty damn dark. I'm already wearing my felt goatee. So what does this mean for the future of the show? I honestly have no idea. It is too early to tell. But it is safe to assume that Community as we know and love it is over. While 'Introduction to Finality' does not mark the end of the show as a whole, it does mark the end of an era. What originally worked as a possible series finale, now works as Harmon's goodbye to the series and as his thank you to the fans.

There's a distinct “we hoped for the best but planned for the worst" vibe about this entire episode. When it was being written, it was more than likely that Community would be cancelled at the end of this season. As such, 'Introduction to Finality' was clearly designed so that, if need be, this episode could work just as well as a series finale as it does a season finale. And it works quite nicely. It was one of those "let's give everyone a sense of closure without actually concluding anything" endings. Unlike previous season finales, it's a surpassingly low key episode, despite Evil Abed crossing over into our universe and the general bizarreness of the Air Condition Repair School (those guys are really weird). If this had been the end of Community it would've been a nice, satisfying ending. Sure, it wasn't a perfect ending, but it was one I could've been happy with.

As I said before, it is too early to tell whether or not the show is going to suffer because of Harmon's removal. Last week I was all excited for season four. Now I'm dreading it. History has shown us that when the creator(s) leaves (or is forced out), the show tends to suffer as a result. The West Wing, Supernatural and Gilmore Girls are all good examples of this, while Fringe is actually a bad example. I'm not really familiar with any of the new showrunners' work (I saw about half an episode of Happy Endings and thought it was somewhat amusing) so I'm not going to criticise them. I'll just wish them both a lot of luck because they're going to fucking need it. Please, don't Britta this, guys. Or we will come for you and your children. Okay, maybe not your children, but we will come for you.

Notes and Quotes

-- Unless it happened off screen, Jeff and Annie did not sleep together this season. You lied to me, opening musical sequence! Yeah, I'm waving my fist at you. Wanna make something of it? Come on, bring it, come at me, bro! Oh shit, it spotted me! Leg it!

-- Jeff proved that his epiphany at the end of 'Pillow and Blankets' was no fluke. He really would do anything for his friends, including sacrificing his dream so that Shirley could have hers. I would love it if when Jeff does graduate he decides to turn his back on being a lawyer and becomes something else entirely. I don't know what, my head canon isn't working at full power today.

-- Speaking of Jeff, he finally decided to confront his daddy issues and track down his father. Proud of you, Winger.

-- Good thing this wasn't the series finale because Annie had virtually nothing to do after the cold open.

-- Evil Abed with the bone saw was probably one of the best sight gags the show has ever done.

Evil Abed: “Because you think you’re broken you’re gonna get diagnosed by someone who said her favourite superhero was ‘X-Man’?”
-- Hey, Nate Grey happens to be a very underrated character!

Dean Pelton: “My goodness, this molehill is becoming a mountain. You guys work it out while I put together an alpine costume.”

Abed: “I'm reading the novelization of The Chronicles of Riddick.”
Evil Abed: “Can you really say that's a saner decision?”

Britta: “Shut up, Leonard. I know about your crooked wang.”
Leonard: “No such thing as bad press.”

Pierce: “Don't use gay as a derogatory term. Boo-yeah! Good person.”
-- Who are you and what have you done with Pierce Hawthorne?

Evil Abed: “Do you know what kind of person becomes a psychologist, Britta? A person that wishes deep down that everyone more special than them was sick. Because healthy sounds so much more exciting than boring. You’re average, Britta Perry. You’re every kid on the playground that didn’t get picked on. You’re a business casual potted plant. A human ‘White Sale’. You're VH1, Robocop 2 and Back to the Future 3. You're the centre slice of a square cheese pizza. Actually, that sounds delicious. I'm the centre slice of a square cheese pizza. You're Jim Belushi.”
-- Please, don't let Harmon leaving be the end of those peerless digs at Jim Belushi.

Jeff: “Shirley's helping me. It's that easy. Stop thinking about what's good for you and start thinking about what's good for someone else. And you can change the whole game with one move. Now if you like this idea, you can make it true by doing something good for everyone here: throw this case outta court, it's dumb. That is all.”

AC Clergyman: “Gentlemen, take him to the infinite labyrinth of eternal ice.”
Troy: “No! Take him to the police. He murdered someone. You guys are weird.”

Four out of four evil felt beards. And that brings another season of Community to an end. Thank you, Dan Harmon, for three brilliant seasons. You will be deeply missed. Again, apologies for the late review and I'll leave with, as promised, the Top Ten Dean Pelton Costumes of Season Three in no particular order. Good night and good luck.


#sixseasonsandamovie
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

8 comments:

Mario said...

Mark that was hands down the funniest review i've ever read. You properly conveyed how the entire community feels about DH's departure... In a way this really was Community's series finale.
I am infuriated by Sony's memo. Wow that was low. Where's that V costume when you need it.
Seriously awesome review. Deserving of the wait.
I'll stick around just for the sake of our incredible cast, but i won't like it.

Mario said...

Did anyone else have an allergic reaction to oxygen when #sixseasonsandamovie appeared on screen?

Juliette said...

I was really surprised Jeff and Annie didn't sleep together - or even kiss outside of alternate timelines and the holodeck - but it's probably a good thing.

Will reserve judgment on Harmon leaving until we see the results. The West Wing dipped badly in s5 but picked up a bit in seasons 6 and 7, so you never know. Or it could be a total disaster.

9I quite like Happy Endings btw - it's no Community but it's reasonably entertaining and fairly kooky).

Harry Earle said...

Ahhh great review Mark :) I can't believe Dan H has left though, it's just completely Rude behaviour to shaft him like that. Still, I am sure Season 4 can be good, even if it can't be the same kind of good.

Hilarious and moving swansong for the end of the season, especially Jeff's 'helping people' epiphany.

#sixseasonsandamovie

Patryk said...

Fitting series finale. Real Community will be missed. I will watch Watered-down community though.

Unknown said...

Hey Mark, great reviews!

I have been reading them while watching Community and I must say season 3 has been a disappointment to me. As a Jeff/Britta shipper, I never really got into the romantic angle of the season and also felt that Chang was way overused and had a bad plot line.

I also missed Duncan. Someone know what happened to him? Was it explained? The group as a whole seemed to lack that chemistry that was there in the first 2 seasons, but I blame that on the lack of Jeff/Britta interaction. They were the reason the group was formed in the first place. And this season did not have much of their banter and crappy fights. I loved those.

Though I'm sad about Dan Harmon's sacking and am kinda scared about what will happen to the show, but as long as they have half decent writing and some comedic moments, I'm sure the actors can take care of the rest. But please have more of Britta!

ChrisB said...

Great choices for the Dean's costumes. They are among my favorite parts of this series.

Thanks to all who suggested this as a, if not the, comedy to watch. I have really enjoyed it and I have loved having the reviews as well. Great job, Mark. And, thanks for doing them.

celticmarc said...

SOB !

How come I haven't commented this before ?!?! Shame on me !

The final scene with the show's music was a very nice ending.

Jim Belushi. Ah crap, forget it. I'm mixing him the late John B.

And now, in 2 days, we will finally have access to the dreaded season 4. I am embracing it with both open arms, and with my sarcastic eye open.