Study Group: Our Final Grade from Community

logan j. fowler and lauren stern give their final thoughts on the season …

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Lauren Stern: If I could describe this season of Community in one word it would be… brutal. I never thought I’d say this, especially because it really didn’t start out that way, but overall, it was a huge facepalm. The characters were poorly developed, the story lines were boring or unfinished, and what were supposed to be cool ideas were just totally lame.

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Needless to say, this wasn’t my favorite season. But despite all the eye rolls and sighs, there were some good moments. I really loved both the premiere and the finale. I thought they were the only two episodes that closely resembled the quality of previous seasons. I also enjoyed the Inspecter Spacetime episode and the episode where the cast were singing puppets. Those episodes were the most innovative and also kept to the same quality as its predecessors.

If I were to grade Community this season, I would give it a C+. It was for the most part not the best, but there were a few bright lights in the midst of all the crap. Since NBC is officially renewing the show for Season 5, I hope that Dan Harmon returns and the show goes back to its original glory.

Logan J. Fowler: I think I was more forgiving to this season of Community then most other fans. I don’t think an episode went by where I didn’t laugh once. And to be fair, Community has been unbalanced when it came to strength. There have been really brilliant episodes, some pretty good episodes, and then episodes that were just “meh.” Season 4 was no different and while some people were looking to blame creator Dan Harmon’s absence for the weaker episodes that we saw recently, the newest episodes that aired since the show came back in February were a experiment in if the show could survive.

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When Community returned, I was both excited and scared. Season 3 was so out there at some points that it began to worry me. When Harmon exited and Chevy Chase’s leaving the show was made public, it seemed that the show didn’t have a leg to stand on. However, NBC gave us back the study group but there was some alterations; the Dean dressing up became overdone, Troy and Britta entered into a relationship that was out of left field, Abed’s pop culture personality became forced instead of natural, and Jeff was no longer an ass who texted all the time but had some real emotional growth. Chang had “Changnesia” and pretended to be some guy named Kevin while really being Chang, and according to many people, Annie never was there in character.

But we were patient, hoping that the show we all loved would figure itself out. It was rocky, many episodes failed to meet expectations or had elements that were in the right place but everything else in the episode brought it down. As the season progressed, the fan base became angry and frustrated. Had Harmon’s departure really destroyed Community?

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No, because in the past few weeks, by some miracle of fans’ own design, the brilliant backing of Community returned in full force, providing us with a genre spoof on puppets, and excellently layered “body swap” episode, and a very good series finale that gave us a paintball battle of regular timeline vs. dark timeline, which gave us more insight into Jeff’s future. While only three episodes, they demonstrated that the writers behind the show can tap back into what made it so great, and hopefully- rumors are abound for a fifth season-can keep it afloat. While season 4 may have been bumpy, there was a strong finish to it, where some of the best episodes of the series became a reality. Let’s hope they keep that aspect going.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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