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Community is an American comedic sitcom created by Dan Harmon that premiered on September 17th, 2009 on NBC. The series follows a diverse group of students at a community college in the fictional locale of Greendale, Colorado and heavily incorporates meta-humor and pop culture references, often parodying film and television clichés and tropes.
Creator Dan Harmon wanted to write a show based on his personal community college experience with a study group that, despite having different personalities and backgrounds, meshed well together. After developing the pilot in 2008, Harmon focused on casting the actors who would best exemplify his writing. Several well-known actors signed on to the show after reading the scripts, including E! comedy talk show host Joel McHale, AMC drama series Mad Men actress Allison Brie, The Hangover actor Ken Jeong and Academy Award winning actor Chevy Chase.
After running three seasons, Sony Pictures Television executives fired Dan Harmon from his position as the showrunner in May 2012, replacing him with writers David Guarascio and Moses Port. A few hours after the news spread online, Harmon issued a response in a blog post revealing that he was informed about the decision through social media. Reflecting the loyal support of his fanbase, Harmon’s blog post on Tumblr received more than 12,000 notes and his name became a trending topic on Twitter. After a fourth season heavily criticized by fans and critics, Harmon returned as showrunner for the fifth season. The fifth season premiered on January 2nd, 2014, and the finale aired on April 17th, 2014.
On May 9th, 2014, NBC announcedCommunity would not return for a sixth season. Several cast members tweeted their disappointment and support for their fans including Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Ken Jeong and creator Dan Harmon.
Fans showed their frustration and disappointment by tweeting #darkesttimeline, a reference to a recurring theme in the show introduced in the episode titled “Advanced Chaos Theory,” where there are different timelines, and the darkest contains the most horrible turn of events. Within an hour of the announcement the hashtag had been tweeted over 8,000 times.
Yahoo Screen Renewal
On June 30th, 2014, YahooScreens tweeted out the hashtag #CommunityLives.
The same day Harman released a statement about the future of the show on YahooScreens saying:
““I am very pleased that ‘Community’ will be returning for its predestined sixth season on Yahoo. I look forward to bringing our beloved NBC sitcom to a larger audience by moving it online. I vow to dominate our new competition. Rest easy, ‘Big Bang Theory.’ Look out, ’Bang Bus!”
The series’ sixth season will premiere in the fall of 2014 and run for 13 episodes. Several of the cast members tweeted out their excitement about the series’ renewal, including Joel McHale and Gillian Jacobs.
Also on June 30th, Zack Van Amburg, President of programming at Sony, told The Hollywood Reporter there is a strong possibility of a Community movie saying:
“I don’t know, let’s see how our movie does! Isn’t that our plan? There’s no way we’re not making the movie now! I think once we make the movie, let’s look up and decide how much more Community the world wants. We promised six seasons and a movie, how much more do you want?! [Laughs.] … I’d be lying if I told you that we have not had some very early and preliminary conversations that are very exciting about what a potential movie could be and who might direct it. It’s early but it’s completely in our thought process.”
As of July 2012, the series has completed three seasons and performed an average of 4.49 million viewers per season, a figure that is considered less than impressive in comparison to other shows in NBC’s Thursday primetime lineup. Despite its struggle with viewership, the series has received several critical acclaims; In 2010, Community received a positive rating of 88/100 by Metacritic, the #2 ranking in the A.V. Club’s list of the 25 best television series in 2010 and the Best Comedy Series of both 2010 and 2011 by the gaming site IGN. Additionally in 2011, Community was named as one of the top five shows of the year on Paste Magazine, The Huffington Post, Hulu and TV.com.
The show has also been nominated for several awards at a variety of ceremonies including the NAACP Image Awards, the Teen Choice Awards, The People’s Choice Awards, the Comedy Awards, the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Hugo Awards. In addition to these nods, Community won a 2011 Creative Arts Emmy Award for Individual Achievement in Animation, the 2012 Hulu “Best in Show” award, Best Comedy Series in the 2012 Critics’ Choice Television Awards and five awards at the 2012 Pan-American Association of Film & Television Journalist Awards.
In September 2010, 14 fictional Twitter accounts were created after the main cast of the show, whose scripted interactions (excerpted below) provided a prequel for the season premiere. As of July 2012, Community’s official online presence consists of a Facebook fan page that has 1,261,768 likes, a Twitter with 120,842 followers, a tag on the official NBC Tumblr, an alternate universe website for Greendale Community College and three series of webisodes to complement the on-air episodes.
The first fan site Community-TV was launched via LiveJournal on September 18th, 2009, the day after the pilot episode aired. As of July 2012, This community has more than 4000 posts and 3752 members. On Tumblr, there are several Community themed single topic blogs, including one dedicated to GIFs from the show and another dedicated to illustrating the tropes used in the show. These fan communities are also known for using several catchphrases associated with the show’s characters, such as Abed’s “coolcoolcoolcool” and Magnitude’s “Pop Pop.”, as well as puns made by the characters Senor Chang and Dean Pelton. The fans of the show also maintain an active presence on social networking sites including LiveJournal, Twitter and Tumblr, where they interact with each other as well as cast members directly involved with the show.
“Save Community” Petition
When Community was put on an indefinite hiatus beginning on December 8th, 2011, an online petition to save the show was immediately launched, earning 97,201 signatures as of July 2012. On Twitter, the hashtags #SaveCommunityand #SixSeasonsAndAMovie began to trend, while a Save Community page was launched on Facebook, which has more than 10,000 likes. On YouTube, fan-made videos calling on other fans to take action (shown below, left) began to surface and College Humor released a skit starring cast members from the show (shown below, right).
Many of these videos referred to the cancellation of the show as “the Darkest Timeline,” referencing the season three episode “Remedial Chaos Theory,” in which six different timelines of the same event are presented. The online reactions to the production hiatus culminated in real life flash mob outside of NBC’s offices in Rockefeller Plaza on December 22nd, 2011, during which a group of fans sang “O Christmas Troy” from the first season’s episode “Comparative Religion.”
In the wake of the fan protests, Community returned on air in March 2012 with better ratings than the previous season three episodes. It was subsequently renewed for a fourth season with new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio in a Friday 8:30pm timeslot. In July 2012, Port and Guarascio appeared on a panel at the San Diego Comic-Con stating that they had no desire to change anything about the show.
Journey to The Center of Hawkthorne
In June 2011, a group of fans led by Redditor Deferman announced a plan to create a 16-bit Community video game titled “Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne,” inspired by the fictional game with the same name that appeared in an episode titled “Digital Estate Planning” in May. The game is available for free download and it has been routinely updated with new level stages, enemies and fan-designed costumes. As of February 2013, the title remains a work in progress and the /r/Hawkthrone subreddit, which serves as the hub of the project for fans and video game developers involved in the process, has attracted more than 12,000 Redditors.
As of July 2012, there are at least 463 fan works on deviantArt featuring Community characters and 722 stories tagged under Community on Fanfiction.net. Harmon has recognized the Shipping section of the fandom in an interview with Vulture in 2011, stating that shippers were the first indication the show was positively affecting people.
There are also several musical tributes to show, most notably DJ Steve Porter’s Community-themed remixes which are available on his YouTube channel.
In the episode “App Development and Condiments” aired on March 6th, 2014, Dean Pelton (portrayed by Jim Rash) introduces his latest project MeowMeowBeenz, a mobile social networking app that allows its users to rate others on a scale of one to five. Despite its generic feature, the app becomes extremely popular across the Greendale Community College, leading to a new world order in the social hierarchy on campus.
On March 7th, the day after the episode broadcast, Redditor pnewhook created a subreddit community named after the fictitious app with a mission to crowd-develop the app for the fans of the show. That same day, the official website MeowMeowBeenz.com was launched with a pre-launch registration form, which drew more than 1,300 subscribers within 24 hours, as well as a YouTube demo video of the app’s interface (shown below).
Donde Esta La Biblioteca / Spanish Rap
Donde Esta La Biblioteca is a YouTube fad revolving around a Spanish rap from the closing credis of the episode “Spanish 101.” The phrase “donde esta la biblioteca” translates to “where is the library?” in English. It is often one of the first phrases taught in beginner’s Spanish class. YouTubers either remix the original song or reenact the scene while rapping in another language.
I Have The Weirdest Boner
I Have The Weirdest Boner is a catchphrase often found in image macros where the subject is either making an odd expression or is in a situation where it would be inappropriate to have an erection. The phrase came from the February 4th, 2010 episode “Romantic Expressionism”, where Donald Glover’s character is sitting at a desk and says “I have the weirdest boner."
Senor Chang’s “Ha, Gay!”
“Ha, Gay!” is a catchphrase attributed to Señor Ben Chang in the episode “Anthropology 101”, where Jeff Winger tries to inspire his students by saying “the most important tool is respect,” to which Señor Chang responds “Gayyyyy.” Because of Chang’s unusual enunciation of the word, the scene has lent itself to many parodies and YouTubePoop remixes on YouTube.
Streets Ahead is a catchphrase first used by Twitter user @amyfairycakes who claimed that Glee and Modern Family were “streets ahead” of Community. Dan Harmon retweeted her sentiment and spent the next month, using the phrase to mock her. Harmon wrote the phrase into the script of April 23rd, 2010 episode “Contemporary American Poultry”, when Chevy Chase’s character tried to push the term throughout the episode.
Huffington Post – ‘Community’ Fans Have Flash Mob At NBC To Save Greendale (VIDEO)
The Hollywood Reporter – ‘Community’ Revival: Sony Exec Talks Studio Persistence, Movie Odds