And with one last cafeteria dance party, Greendale has once again been saved, and Community has almost reached its ultimate goal of six seasons and a movie.
But the group’s hard-earned victory felt somewhat hollow, and the fifth season was brought to a close in a particularly lackluster way. Despite last week’s episode, “Basic Story” setting up a slightly different, more interesting take on the idea of the study group contemplating moving on and growing up, the finale threw all of those developments out the window for what turned out to be their most formulaic adventure yet. In fact, lackluster the best way to sum up season five as a whole, which got off to a great start, but seemed to fall flat after losing Troy and Pierce.
Since “Basic Sandwich” brings to a close a season surrounded by controversy and media attention, it seems only fair to look back on all of the episodes to see what worked, what didn’t and what we think Community can improve in the event that get the season we’ve been waiting for.
Worked: Duncan and Hickey The loss of Troy and Pierce left the study group somewhat off-balance, but Duncan and Hickey were the ideal replacements for two of the gang’s most important members. Like Donald Glover, John Oliver has the ability to deliver almost every punch line perfectly, and so he’s given this season some of its best and weirdest jokes. Jonathan Banks has also made a great addition to the group, giving their adventures some edge and playing the “grumpy older man” role with hilarious results. We’re not sure if they’ll be back next year, as both are committed to other series, but we sincerely hope they are. After all, we still need to find out how Hickey’s gay son’s wedding went.
Didn’t Work: The Finale The fifth season kicked off with “Repilot,” which allowed the show to start over again from a fresh, new perspective, which is why it makes no sense for the show to end on another push of the reset button. What’s the point of setting up interesting storylines or putting the characters through major changes of everything’s going to be wiped away at the end of the season with some Dave Matthews Band? The whole point of this season was to rebuild the show after the “gas leak,” and so ending up at the same place we started essentially renders everything that happened this year pointless.
Worked: Abed Abed was by far the MVP of Season 5, and his combination of meta commentary and heart gave the show some much-needed life this year. Between his heartbreaking goodbye to Troy and his long, rambling monologue about Britta and Jeff’s spinoff in “Basic Sandwich,” Abed continues to be one of the show’s strengths, and he has truly become the heart and soul of Community. Plus, he does the best Nicolas Cage impression we’ve ever set eyes on.
Didn’t Work: Lack of Shirley Her relationships with the other members of the study group have given the show some of its best episodes and most iconic moments, but the fifth season of Community saw Shirley shunted to the side in favor of the other characters. She never once received a story line of her own, and all of the things we’ve learned about her over the years – her devotion to her family, her dedication to her business, her secret foosball past – were touched upon at all this year. It’s not enough to simply reference her lack of screen time. You need to actually give her some more attention in order for it to work.
Worked: Higher Stakes This year’s highlights came whenever the characters dealt with big issues: the loss of two of their own, the threat of mortality, life turning out differently than they expected, and having to leave behind their safety net. These stories provided the funniest moments and the cleverest parodies and gave the fifth season some much needed weight. We’re hoping the writers will bring keep exploring bigger issues in the sixth season, as everything gets a little more serious now that the study group understand what failure in the real world feels like.
Didn’t Work: Jeff/Annie/Britta Look, we don’t care if he dates Britta, Annie, both or neither, but the show needs to either follow through with this plot or let it go completely. We can’t suffer through any more of Jeff and Annie pining over each other, and while we love Britta and Jeff’s bickering, their fake-out attempts at a relationship are losing their charm. Pick a direction and stick with it, and please, spare us all any more will-they-or-won’t-they-is-this-a-love-triangle-or-are-they-all-just-friends nonsense.
Only Kind of Worked: Season 4 Bashing We get it: Dan Harmon hates Season 4. It’s understandable. But while we loved the small references to the issues everyone had with those episodes, much of this season felt like Harmon was just attempting to prove how much better he is at running Community than everyone else. The parody episodes felt less like homages than an opportunity to showcase how much better his references were, and many of the characters’ plots felt like a deliberate attempt to undo everything the show runners of season four came up with. Now that we’ve all made peace with the past, how about we just look forward for season six, and allow everyone to just move on. (We're still on board with the gas leak idea, though.)
Still Doesn’t Work No Matter How Hard We Try: Chang Ken Jeong still has some brilliant moments, but Chang hasn’t felt like an organic part of the show since he was fired way back in season one. He flip-flops back and forth between good and evil as the story requires, but he doesn’t’ add anything to the show. If the writers can’t figure out a decent story for him for the next season, it might be best to just reduce his role to a recurring one, so that we get all of the best parts of Chang without him wearing out his welcome. Or just give him and Garret a spinoff. We’d watch every episode of that.
It’s a brand new year! A fresh start. A clean slate. A chance to turn things around. So what do we need? Resolutions of course! From changing our diet, to embracing life's little moments, or mending strained relationships, resolutions are a wonderful way to make you feel amazing for the first two weeks of the year. And for our favorite pop culture characters, this new beginning is the perfect way to fix the messes they made in 2012. As the winter TV premieres draw closer, we at Hollywood.com have channeled the thoughts of our most beloved (and flawed) characters to share with you their resolutions for 2013. Read on for all the confetti-filled commitments from Leslie Knope, Jack Donaghy, Mariah Carey and many more!
Leanne Aguilera's Picks:
Rachel Berry (Glee): I resolve to stop acting like an overly sexual wannabe, fighting with my teachers, and flirting with Brody. I resolve to call Finn more and realize that I can achieve my big city dreams and have a wonderful relationship at the same time. I also resolve to bring back knee socks.
Oliver Queen (Arrow): I resolve to continue making my father proud and take down the criminals of Starling City. But more importantly, I resolve to continue making millions of women swoon with my chiseled abs, huge biceps, and sexy man-scruff.
Penny (The Big Bang Theory): I resolve to realize that Leonard is the greatest boyfriend I am ever going to have and to tell him I love him at least once a week. Okay maybe once every two weeks. Oh and I resolve to (eventually) stop working at The Cheesecake Factory.
Kate Ward's Picks:
Mariah Carey (American Idol): "I will not encourage Nicki Minaj, I will not encourage Nicki Minaj, I will not encourage Nicki Minaj." Mariah Carey, please tell yourself this every day and promise us that you will not provoke your hot-headed fellow American Idol judge into another televised screaming fit in 2013. All we want for Christmas is for you to help American Idol continue to be the only singing reality series left about the contestants, not the judges.
Abbey Stone's Picks:
Walter White Jr. (Breaking Bad): In 2013, I resolved to eat three square meals a day. All foods cannot be breakfast foods.
Leslie Knope (Parks and Rec): I resolve to renew my library card. Just kidding! I will never step foot in a library.
Aly Semigran's Picks:
The Walking Dead Cast: The cast of Walking Dead should revolve to stop eating their showrunners.
Michael Arbeiter's Picks:
Dave Rose (Happy Endings): I resolve to cut down my v-neck usage to only three v's per day.
Michonne (The Walking Dead): I resolve to work on my people skills.
Ted Mosby (HIMYM): I resolve to get to the end already. Sydney Bucksbaum's Picks:
Zoey Hart (Hart of Dixie): I will be happy in my relationship with Wade, and not think about George Tucker, or how much I love George Tucker, or how much I want to marry George Tucker, or how perfect I am for George Tucker, or George Tucker’s beautiful smile… wait, who’s Wade again? The CW: We will give our freshman series at least a full season before making the final judgment call so we won’t make the “Emily Owens MD” mistake again… (I’m not still bitter, or anything…)
Christian Blauvelt's Picks:
Troy Barnes (Community): I resolve to spend less time in the Dreamatorium.
Abed Nadir (Community): I resolve to spend more time in the Dreamatorium.
Shaunna Murphy's Picks:
Entire Miami Metro Dept (Dexter): We resolve to finally get good at our jobs and after seven seasons, catch a serial killer.
Britney Spears (The X Factor): I resolve to learn more adjectives that aren't "amazing" for next season of X Factor.
Carrie Matheson and Deborah Morgan (Homeland/Dexter): I will buy a "cuss jar" and put a quarter in it every time I say "f--k"
Lindsey DiMattina's Picks:
Regina Mills (Once Upon a Time): I swear not to use magic for evil ever again.
Dexter Morgan (Dexter): I will not murder anyone else that does not fit the code.
Alicia Lutes' Picks:
Ron Swanson (Parks and Rec): Ron Swanson does not make resolutions because he is a man run by rational thought, free of emotions (unless you're at a funeral, or the Grand Canyon). Ron Swanson will eat all of the breakfast meats he likes in 2013 because big, grandiose ideas and declarations are as useful to him as big government.
Miami Citizens (Dexter): Similarly to Shaunna's, everyone in the fictional Miami of Dexter should resolve to move, because—damn, that's a lot of serial killers in your town.
Lady Edith (Downton Abbey): I resolve to take up knitting to prepare for my inevitable life of spinsterdom.
Jack Donaghy (30 Rock): I resolve to stay handsome and continue tailoring my suits.
Taylor Swift: I resolve to be less surprised when I win every single award on the planet.
What resolutions would your favorite pop culture characters have? Shout ‘em out in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: FOC (3), ABC, WENN]
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If you like your art so meta that it makes you question the very fabric of reality, then you're probably a big fan of two active creative forces in showbiz today. In the realm of film, there's Charlie Kaufman, the brilliant man who wrote Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as well as his directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York. In the realm of television, there's Dan Harmon, the mastermind behind the cult phenomenon/new wave religion Community. Harmon was recently ousted as showrunner shortly after NBC announced it would be picking up the sitcom for a fourth season, and now that he is a free agent, the man is able to pursue cinematic projects, including collaboration on an animated film with Kaufman. No bit of news has ever been so sweet, or potentially self-referential.
According to the Kickstarter page created by the filmmakers, the 40-minute-long film called Anomalisa is "about a man crippled by the mundanity of his life.
The project also involves Harmon's friend and writing partner Dino Stamatopoulos, famous to Community fans as the portrayer of Starburns, and director Duke Johnson (who works with Stamatopoulos on the Adult Swim series Mary Shelley's Frankenhole).
In addition to the fantastic parties involved, an interesting part of the report is that Kaufman and Harmon have in fact opened a Kickstarter account to fund the project. In return for donations, their page is offering prizes such as premiere tickets, Skype conversations with Harmon, Stamatopoulos, or Johnson, an original screenplay by Harmon about whomever the donor may be, and, for the big bucks, an EP credit on the film.
Fans of Community shouldn't be too surprised by a Harmon-Kaufman collaboration. The Season 2 episode "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples", in which Abed (Danny Pudi) takes it upon himself to make a self-referencing student film based on the Bible, takes several lovingly mocking jabs at Kaufman and his work.
In addition to this project, Kaufman also has his super-cast Frank or Francis on the horizon.
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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Could anything be more exciting than this teaser for Community's third season, which depicts a hyperdramatic John Goodman, playing the head of a dismal community college's air-conditioner repair department, delivering an articulate and heavily threatening speech to the diminutive Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), who will, this season, take a well-deserved "series regular" billing, and an even more fundamentally stupefying goatee? Maybe the snippets of a ragged Jeff (Joel McHale), a befuddled Pierce (Chevy Chase), or a shrieking Abed (Danny Pudi). In any event, Season 3 of NBC's Community, which premieres on Thursday, September 22 at 8/7c, be looks to be television wildfire.
Click the below picture to see our galleries for the first and second seasons of Community.
S2: E4 After last season’s ambitious “Modern Warfare” episode, we’ve been itching for Community to dish out another epic episode and this week’s was our answer. Inspired in great part by Apollo 13 (and a handful of other space movies), the Greendale gang embarked on a (simulated) space mission, and I'm happy to say they did it without a single reference to "Houston, we have a problem."
The cold open got right into the theme, replicating a 1960’s meeting room, where the dean lays down the issue: City College is launching a space simulator and Greendale has to beat them to the punch. The dean’s handful of yes-men (dressed a lot more like Mad Men; seriously, one of them looks an awful lot like Paul Kinsey) nod and take unnecessary notes as he shows them the plan. He’s acquired the Greendale Museum’s old KFC sponsored “Eleven Herbs & Space Experience” which needs a little work, but he’s got just the crew to do it. Cut to the study group walking in slow motion through the parking lot in white janitor suits (but yeah, they look an awful lot like space suits) when Jeff asks if they can stop walking in slo-mo. “20 more yards.” Oh Abed, you’re going to get your movie reference-riddled episode after all.
The reason the dean is making the gang clean the old bucket o’ bolts (get it? Bucket, because it’s sponsored by KFC? Ha!) is because they submitted a design for the new Greendale flag and it won. The flag has a pink circle with black star at its center surrounded by the phrase “E Pluribus Anus” – yeah, that’s not a symbol for “the crossroads of ideas,” it’s an anus and it’s now the school flag. Bravo.
The dean forbids them from going inside the simulator – that’s reserved for the real fake astronauts in training (the old guy at Greendale in a cardboard box with a paper-plate steering wheel). Before the gang gets to scrubbing, Abed and Troy sneak inside the simulator to Annie’s dismay. (She’s got a really bad feeling about this.) Abed continues to act out his film fantasies and the whole gang jumps into the simulator as well. Pierce jumps in last and in a panic, accidentally starts the simulator causing the handle-less door to lock them all in. Whoops.
The Systemaitc Android Network Diode Energy Rocket System (or Sanders) begins the simulation (and this is only the beginning of the KFC references, folks). Everyone panics, but Jeff insists that they’re just in a Winnebago, until everything starts shaking – “I don’t think this is a simulation…I think we’re being towed.” Duh duh duh.
As the simulator is hauled away (did anyone catch the KFC bucket exhaust nozzles on the back?) Abed comes running out to the parking lot – he left to find an appropriate outfit for the occasion – in an orange spacesuit. Forever skirting the line between reality and his film-inspired imagination, Abed realizes they’re gone and instead of looking down the road, looks wistfully up into the sky.
Back in the simulator, no one can get a cell signal to call someone to stop the tow truck. Pierce can, but “it’s a black guy with the wrong number again.” (Nope, that’s an iPod and he’s listening to Wesley Snipes’ audio book. Oh, OldWhiteManSays.) Troy takes a “long shot” (essential in any space adventure movie) that his “crazy” idea to shake the gravy nozzle handles (KFC sponsored, people!) might save them, but it doesn’t and the dean’s voice starts to crackle through the simulator’s speakers. He says if they don’t get back in time the world will end – as far as Greendale is concerned. The only way they can find out where they are so that they can get back to Greendale in time for the three o’clock launch is if they finish the simulator which will trigger the porthole window to open and thus give them a view of their location. And here we go. Back in the study room the dean asks Abed to walk the crew through the simulator – this episode is really Abed’s dream. He gets to be both Ed Harris and Gary Sinise from the Apollo 13 control room. “I was supposed to be on that thing, I know how she works.”
Abed walks Captain Troy through the Kentucky Fried simulation (he’s got to raise his levels to “Delicious”) but the crew’s not so ready to cooperate. Jeff tries to break open the window before Troy “pulls rank” on him and Sanders is beginning to talk to Pierce but instead of “I can’t do that, Dave” the Colonel tells Pierce he’ll die alone. Clearly he’s got space (simulation) madness or “he’s just old or something” so they lock him up in the back. Annie starts freaking out and ends up admitting that she was the one who set up the tow truck because the dean at City College would guarantee her transfer if she sabotaged the launch. Completely skipping over all that psycho, conniving shit, the gang gets upset that Annie wants to transfer to the other community college. She explains that they hate the school so much and she doesn’t want to be at a school that’s a joke, with that Jeff is inspired to save the simulator mission and thus save Greendale. “Our school may be a toilet, but it’s our toilet. Nobody craps in it but us.” Slow claps…anyone? No? Okay.
Jeff pauses and looks at Troy, “Captain?” Cue dramatic music, and the gang is ready to man their stations and save Greendale. “Thrusters?” “Full.” “Thermals?” “On.” “Navigation?” “Three.” “Chicken?” “Yeah.” It’s “suppertime.” The gang furrows their brows as they jiggle their joysticks to get little yellow circles into a slightly larger center circle (the simulator’s basically a giant Atari). Suddenly they’ve done it and the single window begins to open. They tell Abed where they are, and he uses a map (that the dean has also used to mark and rate all the local truck stop bathrooms; do I have to spell it out for you?) to determine the bad news, “I’m sorry Jeff. You’re out of town.”
The study group sits around the ship like they’re stranded in space (I’m pretty sure they’ve been gone for like an hour, tops). Troy already misses Greendale, “What other school would let us make a butt flag and actually fly it?” They all apologize to Annie, but Jeff confesses that it was actually him who turned the gang in for the butt flag, and he told him it was a butt - the dean just wasn’t seeing it. “There is a time and a place for subtlety, and that time was before Scary Movie.” Yes, Troy, and what a wonderful time it was. Damn those Wayans Brothers.
They let Pierce out of his cage, but he’s still got space madness and he rips Sanders out of the wall revealing the driver’s seat for the space simulator. Jeff calls for the skinniest group member to weasel through the hole and drive the KFC mobile, so Annie takes the wheel. Jeff hops on the radio and tells Abed they’re coming home. Abed helps them navigate as Annie makes sharp turns, causing Britta and Troy to fall into an embrace (yup, the dancing duo’s sexual tension is back).
The gang arrives at the three o’clock ceremony just in time, being greeted and cheered by a crowd in slow motion and the music swells.
Troy’s giving interviews to the press, but waves them off to have a heart to heart with his space comrade, Jeff who puts aside their former differences to congratulate him on being a great captain (it’s a movie episode guys, these kinds of moments are kind of prerequisites). They ask Abed if he wants to sit in the captain’s chair, but he says it’s okay because nothing will be cooler than what he got to do all day – did he mean acting out a movie or saving his friends? We never know with that mega-meta kid anyway.
The ship’s cockpit suddenly explodes and the camera pans over to the dean who’s proudly flying the Greendale anus flag as the soundtrack draws to a close and the adventure ends…on a close up of the anus graphic. Typical Greendale… insert nostalgic sigh.
Before they leave us, Troy and Abed have put together a trailer for a new space movie: SPACE SHIPS. Totally epic. (Someone had to do something with those cardboard training cockpits.)