It’s no secret that television programming of late has, according to me, been on a downward curve. News channels are spectacularly inept at everything except sensationalizing whatever it is that they peddle in the name of “news”. Movies are hilariously and rather ham fistedly censored. And English entertainment channels? Well, let’s just say that I can watch season 4 and season 10 of Two and a Half Men back-to-back, on two different channels, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Why? Because it just serves as a stark reminder of how Mr Kutcher isn’t funny and can’t act (and definitely should never have played Steve Jobs in a movie). And how studios will flog their (once respectable) properties into submission, even when the only punch line of any and every joke happens to be the viewer who decided to stay faithful to the sow in the first place.
Anyway, I digress. This piece isn’t about how syndication makes it possible for all channels to carry the same basic list of shows, most of which are well past their prime. It’s about this little show I happen to be one of the most vocal supporters of. I’m sure you haven’t heard of it. It stars nobody breathtakingly famous, except probably that Asian guy from The Hangover (his name is Ken Jeong, and even I had to Google “Leslie Chow” to get his real name). It’s this little show called Community. Even if you have heard of it, I’m sure you wouldn’t have given it a second’s thought. After all, nobody in your immediate friend circle is talking about it the same way they talk about a House, or a Suits, or even a Big Bang Theory.
What sets Community apart from everything else on the telly is its originality. And its pop culture references. And its funnier than funny one liners. And the heart and care given to each character. And the fact that even though a Wikipedia description of any of its episodes sounds like an absolute hodgepodge, which can be nothing but a train wreck once filmed, each episode just about manages to somehow still make sense and shine through all of the zany brilliance.
I mean, seriously. This is a show which refuses to stick to any particular format. There have been stop motion animated episodes. There have been episodes entirely set within (and presented like) 8-bit video games. There have been episodes centred around paintball which still somehow manage to riff on Star Wars, the movies of John Woo, The Matrix, and classic westerns like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly—all at the same time. More than anything else, here is finally a show which places a premium on the writing.
Such care and spark of originality should always have been celebrated on TV. Sadly, after a mere five seasons, NBC decided to cancel Community forever. Meaning, that those who never knew about this gem would go about life still safe in the assumption that Brooklyn Nine Nine is the funniest new show on the block. And those who did know about this gem? Well, we folks are just left ruing the decisions made by NBC, and writing semi-nostalgic, extremely fanboy-ish pieces like this. Because that’s what the show does to you. It grabs your imagination, and never lets you be satisfied with anything else on TV after it.
Thankfully for people like me, there does seem to be a slight silver lining to the cancellation cloud. Community would be back on Yahoo Screen. Hopefully, soon. Hopefully, better than ever. I am certainly waiting with baited breath for it. Are you?
©Rachit Agarwal for PosterGully.com