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Worldly Distractions: Community 6.13 - Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television


crazyforkate

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blog-newhart.jpg 

broadcast

Well, it's right there in the title. Tonight is very likely Community's series finale. And yeah, I know I've been saying that for like three years, but come on, guys. It's had more lives than your average housecat. We're at the end of six seasons. We've gotten what we want (well, except for the cinematic incarnation). Even this sixth season has managed to rally with some interesting new characters. If this is goodbye - let it be a good one. We'll miss you, Community.

Leonard and the Dean proudly announce that the school year has come to an end, despite ENORMOUS opposition. The campus has more or less emptied, except for the study room, where the Committee sits in silence. Us too, Committee, us too. Frankie wants to rename the Committee, since Greendale has already been saved, something that gives her uncharacteristic enthusiasm. Everyone suggests some terrible alternatives. They go with "nipple dippers", mostly based on domain name availability. The Dean appears in his first strange outfit of the season (like we didn't notice), mostly composed of floral patterns and scarves. Frankie officially adjourns the year, and the group heads to Britta's bar. However, Elroy can't join them, since he's moving to California to work for LinkedIn. (Lampshaded: does anyone actually used LinkedIn?)

Also, he has a girlfriend, for which everyone congratulates him. He does intend to return in the unlikely chance of renewal eventually. Everyone squeals. Opening credits.

They play pool in the bar, which Abed metas the fuck out of. Everyone wonders who will be coming back to Greendale, while Jeff points out that it's high time they all left. Of COURSE Abed has to talk about how he can't imagine Season 7. Okay, there's being cutely meta and then there's sucking the fun out of it. They briefly discuss bringing Shirley back, which leads Abed into explaining the show's "formula", which brings us... back to the opening credits? Now I'm intrigued.

The scene plays out as any opener for Community does, only the characters explain what they are saying rather than saying it ("Abusively cynical one-liner dismissing everything you just said," scoffs Jeff), and OH MY GOD YVETTE NICOLE BROWN SETTING THAT IS DEFINITELY YVETTE NICOLE BROWN. Now all we need are Donald and Chevy and I'll officially be a blubbering mess.

Shirley mostly wonders how the hell Frankie fits into this dynamic. Abed is basically comatose. The Dean wanders around practically naked.

Back at the bar, the characters protest that they can't be reduced to a simple formula. Abed begs to differ. When the Dean challenges Abed's view, Abed in turn challenges him to pitch Season 7. The Dean does so. He suggests a show with three whole black people - Shirley, Elroy, and some guy sitting in the background. Also, everyone seems to have been hit on the head a few times. And they talk just like the Dean. Lots of mumbling and stating exactly what their emotions are. Everyone thinks it's ridiculous.

Chang, in turn, suggests his own alternative, though Jeff vehemently protests. His vision includes Jeff being an even bigger sleaze than usual, and random animated characters that could only have come from the Twisted Mind of Chang. The group gets hit with lightning bolts, which for some reason makes them giggle, and the Dean is still mostly naked.

Upon hearing this, Jeff decides to go home, since he's tired of not just his friends, but Greendale and all related conceptual riffs. Annie finally arrives with the momentous news that she's going to intern for the FBI (thus conveniently writing out Alison Brie if need be). She assures them, though, that she's definitely coming back, which throws Jeff into his own idea of Season 7.

In this one, Annie is gone and Garrett and Leonard have joined, along with Todd and Scrunch. Essentially, the group is composed of people who belong as extras, which is exactly as terrible as you might imagine. Back in reality, Jeff suddenly gloms onto the idea of Season 7, confusing everyone around him. Abed suggests that they just hang out instead.

For some reason we go into another potential Season 7. Jeff is an uber-cool partier, Britta is quitting smoking for the umpteenth time, and Annie commutes from Greendale to the FBI headquarters. You know, in DC. Britta's parents get murdered, so Annie is quickly on the case. And the Dean still won't put on clothes.

Britta is understandably upset about hinging the next season on the death of her parents. She dreams up her own season, which looks like a Bono music video and revolves around Greendale seceding and becoming an independent nation. With Britta at the helm, of course. The Dean, at the very least, is fully dressed, though he has come out as transgender so that Britta can keep him in a neat little box. Personally, I prefer him undefined.

Frankie scoffs, so Britta suggests that she come up with her version. It's...well, picture Frankie's ideal version of Greendale and you've more or less got it. Lots of actual learning and the occasional fart joke for humour. She marks a first of being outright booed. Abed, perhaps addressing the audience, claims that it's very difficult to keep up a TV series, and it shouldn't push an agenda or try to "beat" the rest of television. "It's TV. It's comfort," he concludes. Incidentally, his speech does justify all those terrible episodes from mid-Season 3 onward. Everyone is moved, including Britta, who cries over the fate of her pitch. Jeff launches another idea.

Basically, everyone works for Greendale in some capacity, which means they have a better excuse to spend lots of time together. Also, Frankie is a lesbian (explaining why she has never made a pass at Jeff). Annie, meanwhile, is just like she only was, only more mature. And Jeff is the Dean, just because. Group hug!

The team finds this all rather heartwarming, but it's not meant to be. When Jeff tries to make it serious, they all shy away. Abed announces that he's also leaving, to write for a TV show which is even more meta than he is. Everyone applauds Abed's newfound path in life. When Jeff begs him to come back for six seasons and a movie, Abed sadly tells him that this is reality. This prompts Jeff to imagine a season where he is in a room with multiple clones of Abed, and strangles them all. Sometimes you really can't get what you want. Jeff can't take it anymore, and stomps out of the bar.

Alone in the study room, Jeff imagines a different future for himself - one where he's set up in domestic bliss with Annie, and they have a son named Sebastian, who is always eager to come out and be accounted for before being sent back to his child-area. When Jeff leans in to kiss his wife, however, she asks if it's really what he wants. She suggests that, though this future might look appealing, he doesn't really know what's good for either of them, or what they might want.

In reality, Annie follows Jeff to the school. He confesses that he wants to be young and carefree again. Annie, on the other hand, wants stability and respect. It's clear the two are not compatible, as we suspected all along. Even if they both hate superhero movies. He clearly regrets having let her go, so Annie suggests that he kiss her goodbye. He can regret it for the rest of his life, and she for maybe a week. And so they share a long, passionate kiss, just enough closure for the army of Jeff/Annie shippers out there. It's quite touching, to be honest.

Just as they break apart, the rest of the gang arrives. Jeff tells them they were "saying goodbye to the room". "For Season 6," Annie quickly adds. Abed says "cool" six times, one for each season, and Chang makes sure to fart during the fourth one. Frankie, "a humble outsider that came in and nailed it", suggests that they each imagine their own version of Season 7, privately - but they can't cut to it, or it won't come true. We cut back to the first season, where Jeff declares the study group a community - but the group is now exclusively populated by identical hot girls. The more things change. Back in the abandoned room, Jeff tells his friends, very sincerely, how much they meant to him. Chang declares it gay, but everyone else is terribly moved. A real group hug ensues. And it looks like Chang was actually trying to come out?

Jeff drops Abed and Annie off at the airport. The rest of their group continues their friendship at the bar. Fade to black...

...and we get the hashtag #andamovie.

Intriguing.

In the tag scene, we get a fake ad for Community the cheesy board game, '90s style. Lots of in-show references and meta references (I know about St. Elsewhere, guys.) It even includes a butt spinner. Silly as it is, I wish it existed. At the end, the perfect family realizes that they're in a commercial and don't actually exist, which sends them all into existential crisis. The commercial gives a disclaimer that neatly sums up why this show is so much fun and yet so maddening. And that, my friends, is that.

Well, I never thought I'd say this - because like Jeff, I do not deal well with change - but I actually would love the show to end at this point. Why? Because this was the best darn season finale you could imagine. Strange and moving, with a keen feel for the characteristics that made this show so appealing, with just enough darkness to keep it grounded, it is an appropriate sendoff for the characters we know and love. Jeff has grown into a full person, Annie and Abed have moved on, and everyone else will be okay. It had just enough meta and just enough heart. Season Six managed to save itself quite admirably, all in all. Some of the humour was recaptured, the conceptual episodes were carried off with aplomb, and even the new characters managed to make their mark. Let's end on this contented note, and focus on the movie, which Abed would be the first to point out is an entirely different matter.

As for me, this is my last outing as the FJ Master Recapper. This is mostly because a) I'm going to graduate school in the fall and this is too much of a time suck, and B) I was mostly in it because of Mad Men anyway. It's been really awesome, FJ. This was a great focus for me during the final tough stretch of my undergrad years, and through an all-consuming - but rewarding - year in Russia. No matter what, I always had these shows and a chance to share them with others. We also sat through some great TV moments, including the horrible final season of HIMYM, the constant ups and downs of the Crawley family, and Don Draper teaching the world to sing. I'm a little sad to put it away, having had so much fun discussing these shows with you, but sometimes it's good to move on. So thanks, FJ viewers, for reading Worldly Distractions. It's been a real pleasure, and - wait a minute -

newhart

 

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