Community wraps up its sixth (and probably final) season today with “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” on Yahoo! Screen, posted now. The school year has ended and Elroy (Keith David) reveals he has a job elsewhere, leaving Greendale behind, maybe for good. His departure, combined with other early reveals, sparks other members of the Save Greendale Committee, especially Jeff (Joel McHale), to wonder if their time together is over or close to it.
I absolutely adore Community, but I’m not sad if this is their final season. I will miss it ferociously, but it’s had a very good, almost entirely solid (*cough* season four *cough*) run, and it has fulfilled the ‘six seasons’ part of its popular hashtag, #sixseasonsandamovie. To me, that feels like a very natural end, especially in the way this episode is presented.
Jeff is the one who is most against the group forming in the beginning, but he’s also the one who needs it the most. While others have lives outside of their troupe, evidenced by how, one by one, they’ve all just faded away, Jeff does not. He is in a terrible place when he comes to Greendale, a broken, directionless man. As he says in “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television,” these people literally saved his life.
It’s not natural for most people to remain stagnant, though, which has been a major theme of season six. As much as Jeff might want to hold the status quo in stasis, no one else spends their life at a community college in this manner, nor do they want to. They came to Greendale to improve themselves and move on. That’s the fate of all of them, and by the end of this episode, Annie (Alison Brie) is heading to an internship in New York and Abed (Danny Pudi) has a job in L.A., removing two more of the original crew.
Much of this half hour is given over to each individual, Annie, Abed, Jeff, Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Chang (Ken Jeong), Frankie (Paget Brewster), and The Dean (Jim Rash), relating their pitch for a seventh “season,” using Abed’s frame of reference. This results in some fun cut-scenes that highlight the personalities of each member, as well as gives us another glimpse of Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), who departed at the start of the season. Jeff is the only one, though, that seems truly bothered that this is merely a thought exercise and not what is going to happen.
Eventually, Jeff does have to be happy for his friends and accept that they are leaving. Even Annie, whom he briefly wonders if he should marry and start a family with, even though they couldn’t make their relationship work in the past, isn’t destined to stay by Jeff’s side, though they have a wonderful goodbye kiss. That should satisfy most fans, even the shippers.
As “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” closes, the remaining five share a toast. It will never be the same, and those left behind are the ones that haven’t grown enough to leave yet. But eventually they might, following in their friends’ footsteps. It’s this hopeful note, combined with the knowledge that Greendale is not inescapable, that gives peace of mind to the viewer.
Oh, and did I mention the episode was funny and meta, too, serving Community well? From finally finding out who the ass crack bandit is, to Chang farting through the fourth ‘cool,’ to Jeff’s glimpse of being at the study table with a bunch of the second-string recurring cast members, and a black screen that said #AndAMovie, there were answers and references left and right. We may not have figured out Frankie’s sexuality, but you gotta leave something for the film, which she deserves to be a part of as much as the original cast, more so than most of those that have come and gone from the table because of the way she so effortlessly slides in and feels like she’s always been there.
Too bad Community screws up the landing slightly with the board game tag. I’m not saying the story should have forced a joke at the end, and barring Troy and Abed being reunited or a movie tease, I don’t know what else could possibly go there. But as has happened repeatedly this season, the tag takes us out of the show. The sort-of-rant (from? about?) Dan Harmon almost saves it, but not quite. I’d rather the series went out without a tag than to use this one.
Still, there’s no denying the impact Community has had on me, nor the almost-perfect sense of closure “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” leaves me with. I’ll be ever grateful for Dan Harmon’s brilliant mind and the fantastic way he ends his genius work.
Now, let’s get started on that movie, whether it’s studio-financed or Kickstarter-ed! (I really, really hope everyone has to band together to save Troy and LeVar Burton from the pirates!)[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00HT8517S][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00JAQFV0O]