‘Community’ is back, but how’s it doing?
“Community” has attempted to handle this problem by getting weirder and weirder. It was all fun in season one, but things just don’t make sense anymore. Consider the character arc for Señor Chang. Student Chang? Security Guard Chang? Back in the day, he was a fairly simple, funny character—the Chinese guy teaching a Spanish class (even though he clearly didn’t know much Spanish). When that joke ran out, he became extremely bitter in season two because the central study group wouldn’t let him join in its fun. His character is even crazier in season three.
This season, the creators of “Community” have revealed that a major character will die. My money’s on Chang. If the writers take him any further into mental instability, the only possible results are death or a padded cell.
The entire cast has gone through a similar evolution. Jeff has gone from “lovably narcissistic” to “taking anti-anxiety drugs that turn him into the Hulk at some kid’s bar mitzvah.” Abed has gone from “autistic kid trying to make sense of the world through TV tropes” to “evil genius about to start a school-wide war over a pillow fort.” In fact, Abed learns about his future character arc when he meets his goateed shadow self. Abed’s alter ego tells him, “This is really crazy. And inaccessible, and maybe too dark.” A metaphor for “Community” itself, perhaps?
I understand that in order to keep viewers interested, a show has to grow and progress. And I’m glad that “Community” seems to have achieved the ratings necessary to allow for a fourth-season renewal. I’m just a little concerned about what the show’s writers plan to do with that potential fourth season. Because if it does carry on being “inaccessible, and maybe too dark,” then “Community” will eventually end in disaster—with or without Twitter campaigns.