Community
The cast of "Community" (Photo courtesy of digitaltrends.com)

by Mike Reistetter

The former NBC comedy “Community” aired the first two episodes of its sixth season on March 17, now available for online streaming at Yahoo! Screen.

“Community” battled extremely low-ratings for years, and was forced into hiatus on a few occasions by network executives. But it’s cult fan base proved time and time again to save the show from imminent death, frequently starting online petitions to reverse NBC’s plans.

After five seasons, NBC got it’s way, and officially axed the show in June of last year. With actors’ contracts expiring on Jun. 30, creator and show-runner Mark Harmon, on the backs of the “Community” cast, crew, and most importantly, it fans, was able to find the show a new home with Yahoo! Screen.

In order to “Save Greendale”, fans of the show adopted the mantra and hash-tag, “#SixSeasonsAndAMovie”. The iconic slogan is a reference to a line uttered by Danny Pudi’s character, Abed Nadir, many times over the course of the series in regards to his hopes that one of his own favorite programs could avoid imminent cancellation.

“I’m so excited because now there will be no commercial breaks, the restraints I’m assuming will be way less and it’s just like this playground now for Dan. Unencumbered Dan Harmon is very exciting,” said Joel McHale, who plays series lead Jeff Winger. McHale is also well known as the host of “The Soup,” a late night talk show for the E! Network.

“Community” is a single-camera, situational comedy that followed the paths of many similar hit, non-laugh track NBC comedies before it, such as “Scrubs,” “The Office,” “30 Rock,” and “Parks and Recreation.” It’s praised for its meta-humor, commitment to heavy usage of pop cultural references, and elaborate homages to famous movie and television tropes.

Other notable members of “Community”’s cast include Allison Brie, Gillian Anderson, Jim Rash, and Ken Jeong. Departed members of “Community” include Chevy Chase, an NBC staple as a member of the original “Saturday Night Live” cast, and Donald Glover, who more often than not now will take on his stage persona, the 2015 Grammy-nominated rap artist, Childish Gambino.

Catchphrases. Holiday Specials. Bromances. Epic Paintball showdowns. “Community” covers it all. It started as a show about an ex-lawyer who applies to the fictional Greendale Community College after his firm learns that his college degree is a fake. But it transformed into something much more: A show about how a quirky, seven-person study group could unlikely blend into a quite humorously satisfying family unit.

“Community” is not the first popular show to be revived after its cancellation. Fox’s “Arrested Development” was a critically acclaimed comedy that suffered low ratings from 2003-2006. In 2013, Netflix rewarded fans with a season 4, available for streaming in Netflix’s “all-at-once” style.

However, Yahoo! Screen plans to air one episode per week, stressing the importance of maintaining the show’s dependency on “TV-style” customs. Harmon suggested to USA Today, “Maybe old school is best; it is for rap.”

What is important to note about the survival of “Community,” is that in this day and age, a powerful networking empire like NBC no longer has jurisdiction over whether a program lives or dies. If the fans want it enough, they might very well get it back. There are alternative streaming providers now, and they are currently re-defining the scope of media production.