Monday, April 6, 2015

Six Seasons and a Movie

You may have noticed or will possibly notice in a time to come, that I have been making a lot of references to an out-of-the-limelight show called Community recently. I generally reserve bingeing to eating. It's how I got the name Big Anklevich, after all. Nobody calls me Trevor after I weighed in at three bills for the first time. So, I can't say that I have been binge watching Community, but I have been watching a lot of episodes of the show in a short period of time.

It started a while back when I noticed that all the back seasons of Community became available on Hulu Plus. I first came to Community in the middle of the second season, back in 2010. I managed to see a few re-runs from earlier that year, as well as seeing all the episodes from that point forward, and Rish loaned me a couple of episodes from the first season. But, my experience with Community couldn't be said to be anything better than spotty.

Then, after the end of the third season, which looked like it would be the last season (after all, they even had a final episode and everything), we jettisoned our cable in favor of Netflix, and I no longer could follow the show. But it wasn't cancelled after all. It turned out to go on to the fourth season, which was weird, because they fired the creator, Dan Harmon, from the show, and tried to run it without him. Rish continued to watch for a few episodes, but told me that the show went drastically off course, and he quit watching.

But, like I said, now it's on Hulu Plus, from season one all the way through season five. So, when I walk the treadmill in the morning, I punch up episodes of the show, and forget all about the pain in my feet and legs, laughing along with Jeff, Britta, Troy, Abed, Shirley, Annie, and Pierce.

And I'm here to recommend the same thing to you. If you've never seen this show, let me tell you now that you would love it. If you're reading my blog, then you are the kind of person that would love this show. It's so clever and fun, and does things that no other sitcom would dare to try. My wife watches a lot of sitcoms. She puts them on and uses them as background noise while she cleans the house. Usually, I do the piggish-man thing and don't help her at all. It's not because I'm a piggish-man, though. It's just that the shows she chooses are so awful that they drive me from the room. Just the laugh tracks alone are enough to push me out, and that awful way that the characters pause to wait for the studio audience to finish their forced laugh before they say their next line. In an episode in season 4, Abed imagines that they are in a sitcom with a laugh track, and it only serves to point out just how awful laugh tracks are. Why did any show ever do that?

Um, I got off track. Oh, yeah, my wife watches these shows like Last Man Standing and Baby Daddy, which I see as the normal fare you might get on television sitcoms. And then there's Community. It got low ratings, because it doesn't always play to the lowest common denominator, and it gave things time to happen. For example, check this out:

They said Beetlejuice three times, and in the background, Beetlejuice walked by...but each use of the word Beetlejuice was from episodes in three separate seasons!

Also, Community does things that other shows would never try. For example there was an episode in season two, where one of the main characters, Abed, makes almost no appearances in the main stories of the episode. But if you pay attention, in the background, he has a whole storyline in which he helps a pregnant woman deliver her baby in the parking lot of the school. Check it:

And there's so many other fun things. I noticed in the third season they started a running gag with the song, "Daybreak" by Michael Haggins. It began in their Halloween episode. Each character was telling their own messed up version of the man with the hook for a hand urban legend. When Abed told his version, he insisted that it would be unlikely that the people in the story would turn on the radio at exactly the time that the pertinent news broadcast came on to inform them about the hook-handed man who had escaped from prison. So, he had them listen to "Daybreak" for a while. The other characters were frustrated with his inability to get on with his story, but he really started something. They just kept playing, singing, and humming that song again and again from there on out.

And it goes on and on and on like that. But it's not just that. Sure, the show rewards you more than any other show I can think of if you pay attention, but each show is enjoyable and funny all on its own. They do a lot of really fun themed episodes...or meta episodes as some call it.

There was the mob movie episode. The bottle episode. The Dungeons and Dragons episode. The Ken Burns-style documentary about the pillow fort/blanket fort war. The claymation Christmas episode. The singing glee club Christmas episode. The Law and Order episode. The flashback clip episode made up entirely of clips from shows that didn't exist. And the season finale of seasons one and two involved some of my favorite television of all time, the paint ball episodes.

And, of course, there was the episode called "Remedial Chaos Theory" in which they explored all the different alternate dimensions created by rolling a die to see who has to go downstairs and get the pizza. Apparently, it's won Splitsider's award as the "Best Sitcom Episode of All Time". What's a Splitsider? I don't know. But my cousin Butch says it's also way funnier than that Baby Daddy show, which is for lamos.

I'm completely enamored of this show. I recommend it to anyone who wants hours of fun and enjoyment. The first five seasons are streaming on Hulu right now. Check it out.

Now, for the happy ending of all this stuff. Remember when I mentioned that the show's creator got fired off the show after season 3, and the show went drastically off course? Well, weirdly, the show's creator was brought back after season 4 to reinvigorate the show. The first episode of season 5 was called "Re-pilot". They sort of started it all over, and got things back on course.

But then, after season 5, NBC cancelled the show. But wait there's more! The show's still not dead. Instead of letting the show die off, Yahoo picked the show up for it's online channel called Yahoo Screen. So, now you can see the sixth season of the show too. It started on March 17th. I'm tyring to catch up to the present, so I can start watching those episodes too.

There's a catch phrase that started on the show in season 2, where Abed wanted that show, The Cape to last for a long time. When Jeff said it wouldn't last three weeks, Abed proclaimed it would go for "Six seasons and a movie." The phrase was brought up again and again throughout the run of the show, referring to how Abed wanted other shows, like Cougar Town and the like, to have long lives.

This year is Community's sixth season. And what's cool is that Sony is now talking about making a Community movie.

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