Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Touch of Death

Woe! Utter woe! Cult favourite series (and best damn comedy on television) Community has been pulled from NBC's mid-season schedule, starting in January. Officially it's not cancelled, and NBC has stated that all 22 episodes this season will be completed and air. But it's not exactly reassuring.

It's not like my life revolves around what's on TV. I've got too much going on. I do have a small list of shows I watch regularly, but even then it's hard to keep up with them all the time. Community, though, I almost always watch live, because I'm too damn excited for each episode not to. And that's the thing - the show may not be getting huge ratings, but the fanbase is extremely passionate and devoted. The writing is some of the sharpest, funniest stuff out there right now and the cast is phenomenal across the board. In that way it makes me flash back to Arrested Development, another brilliant show that struggled in the ratings and failed to find a large audience for reasons I just can't understand.

I'm used to having my finger a bit removed from the pulse of the general public. It's not something I seek out, but it seems to happen pretty regularly; I like what I like, and what I like isn't always a massive hit. This isn't always the case -- I mean, it's not like Spider-Man, Back to the Future and the White Stripes are in any way obscure -- but I've fallen head over heels for a lot of series teetering on the brink of cancellation, and it almost feels sometimes like my love for something is essentially giving it the touch of death.

(Okay, I'm being dramatic. But it's a pattern!)

What's popular, on the other hand, I can't always (or even often) get into at all. Not that I haven't tried. I've watched about a dozen episodes of The Big Bang Theory, for example, which is a pretty massive hit. I don't think I've laughed once at it. I even get most of the geeky references, but its format just feels too safe and played-out and the characters all feel to me like the same "nerd" stereotypes that have been overused -- and used badly at that -- for the past 25 years or so. It doesn't feel fresh, it doesn't take risks, and that means it bores me.

But it's popular. Very popular. A lot of people love it. I may not dig it, but it's hard for me to claim it doesn't have value. A lot of people love American Idol and Two and a Half Men and the Twilight movies and the Black Eyed Peas and comics written by Jeph Loeb, too. Me, I really don't. And time was I might be inclined to judge those things and their audiences, but for whatever tongue-in-cheek jokes I may make about them, that's a time I've moved past. Those things are popular, they have large audiences of people who value them, and that's just fine. Ones' personal tastes and opinions aren't facts, and that's something I learn more every day.

So where am I going with this? I don't know, honestly. Maybe I'm feeling like I've got a family member in the hospital and I'm making peace with the idea that they might not pull through. (Okay, being dramatic again...) But until the prognosis comes in, I'm gonna keep watching my favourite show and I'm gonna hope that it comes back soon and strong, and if I'm lucky, even gets picked up for another year. I'm gonna keep telling people how great it is and hope that they start following it too. And if it does wind up being cancelled, I'm going to appreciate the years of entertainment the show, its cast and crew gave me, and feel good knowing that, like Arrested Development before it, it'll be fondly remembered and respected for a long time to come.

That said, now I'll end this on a video proving that the show was made just for me:


  1. How you livin,?

    ARE YOU SERIOUS!? This is the saddest news all day, and I just saw a kitten watch his brother die.
    No for real, there is nothing overdramatic about this. THIS IS THE TIME TO BE DRAMATIC.
    Sad kitten face on me.
    Community is the best thing on television.

  2. Well, people are FREAKING OUT about it, and considering how beloved the show is amongst fans and critics alike, I hope the message will be received.

    And to be fair, NBC *does* love the show too, and they've kept it on longer than it would have lasted anywhere else. But at the same time, it's not doing significantly worse than most of their other comedies, so I would hope they wouldn't axe it and throw away so much audience/critic goodwill for the sake of something nobody cares about (ahem, Whitney).

    Also: for whatever good internet petitions do, there's one up at http://www.save-community.com