‘Community’ Open Thread: Six Timelines and a Movie

This post contains spoilers through the May 10 episode of Community.

I should start this off by saying how pleased I am by Community’s renewal, even at thirteen episodes rather than a full season. It’s really nice to see this wonderful, experimental little show that’s been so marvelously dedicated to exploring the boundaries of television’s forms get a chance to go out at a logical time for the world in which it’s set, as its characters get the degrees they came to Greendale to get and head out into the world. Though now that we’ve achieved this and are one year closer to six seasons and a movie, I think it’s time to set a new impossible dream: a season of Community set in all the remaining timelines.

As for the episode itself, this was more clip show than anything else, but I think it got at an important point that the show doesn’t always address head-on: what if landing at Greendale hasn’t been great for all of these characters? Of course, their shrink is lying in Chang’s service when he tells the now-former study group that “There is a place called Greendale, and you all spent three years there, but it’s not a community college.” But as we journey through it, the show kind of suggests that their time there has been neither educational nor salutary. There are classes in advanced breathing and the ability to fry things. Parking spots are determined by chess matches with human pieces. Abed may be going through the early experimental period of his filmmaking career, and the Dean may be getting his jollies, but making movies with him isn’t exactly what everyone else came to school to do. “If you’d gone to school there, you’d be obsessed with it too,” Jeff explains. And oh, we are. But that’s not the same thing as it being what all of them needed or intended.

And now that we get one more season, I’ll be curious to see if and how Community sets up these people to go out into the world. Will Troy go to air conditioning repair school? Will Jeff actually get his law degree back? Will Shirley open her business? What about Annie? And what experiments are yet to come? As Garett put it, “I want to see what happens if we confiscate one of their pens.” So do I, Gareth. So do I.