Community Season 4 – Inside the Fandom May 9, 2013 Community, Featured, TV Chat As the Community season 4 finale approaches tonight, the show’s future remains uncertain as NBC has not yet decided whether the Greendale Seven Six will return for a fifth season. In a perfect world, the network would grant another thirteen episode order and allow fans to have closure and say a proper goodbye like NBC previously did with Chuck. Unfortunately, given NBC’s recent history of Britta-ing the show, one can only be cautiously optimistic at best. Although I’ve got my NBC rant already prepped, should the network make the wrong decision, this TV chat will celebrate one of the terrific off-camera aspects of the show – the Community fandom. Rather than spend the waiting period full of speculation and anxiety, this passionate, technologically savvy group is rallying the masses in support of a fifth season for the show. I had an opportunity to speak with several Community fans – Catherine, Gillian, Kim and Mike – who graciously took the time to tell me more about the fanbase and their Herculean efforts to save their favorite show. COMMUNIES UNITE! Communies or Human Beings are made up of a group of passionate Community fans who have connected through just about every social media avenue available. They are a diverse, dynamic group that includes electricians, attorneys, pop culture bloggers and a violinist who was memorizing Metallica songs to play at an upcoming event when we spoke. From their vast, impressive occupations, it is clear that these are very busy people with active social lives, which is a testament to their ability to find time in their schedules to rally for the show they love so much. FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE DARKEST TIMELINE When NBC announced the decision to bench Community during the middle of its third season, it appeared as though fans were embarking upon the darkest timeline in which goateed, evil alter egos ruled. Everyone agreed that NBC’s first Britta-ing of the show was the moment that propelled them from enthusiastic viewers to an active, outspoken fan base determined to keep the show on the air. STEADY MOBBIN’ No, this isn’t about the Ice Cube song from the Nineties – although it always gives me great joy to make references to music from that decade – it’s about the Communies, who have truly become masters of “mobbin.'” Taking it to the streets . . . Fans have come up with a number of fun and interesting ways to show the world how much they love Community. At the live-streaming of last year’s Community panel at PaleyFest in New York City, fans organized a “Greendale Pep Rally” that took place before streaming began. During the Season 3 hiatus, Communies also braved the brisk winter weather, donned their “Darkest Timeline” goatees and participated in a huge flash mob at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree where they sang “Oh Christmas Troy.” Those who could not attend in person did so virtually, thanks to cell phones and Twitter. And taking it to the tweets . . . Fans have also used Hash Mobs to show their support for the show. What’s a Hash Mob, you ask? It’s when Community fans all over the world agree to flood Twitter timelines with tweets using a show-related hash tag. With apps like TweetDeck, fans in any country and any time zone can schedule their hash mob tweets in advance. When the network announced that the show’s creator and executive producer, Dan Harmon, was leaving the show, the Communies took it to the “tweets” and trended worldwide as they tweeted their appreciation for with the hash tag #SixSeasonsAndWeLoveYouDanHarmon. When NBC Britta-ed it again and pushed back the Season 4 premiere from October 19th to February 6, fans organized an e-gift for cast and crew in the form of weekly tweets every Friday in which they professed their love and appreciation for the show using the hash tag #DarkestTimeline. Fans also banded together on the day the premiere delay was announced and actually created their own episode on twitter using the hash tag #Darkest401. Fans kept up the tradition each week, live-tweeting under sequential hash tags – #Darkest402, #Darkest403, etc. *Retweet by Kim (@dramakim) from Yvette Nicole Brown’s timeline. If you’re like me and you watch television with your iPad or tablet in hand, you will frequently see Community-related trending on Thursday nights when the episodes air. This too is driven by the fans, who hope that NBC will see the love and support for the show in homes that don’t have Nielsen boxes. You’ll also find Communies urging their Twitter followers to give their thanks and support to show sponsors, like Subway or H & M. The Communies are not only a model fandom, they’re a pretty good study in social media marketing. MOVE OVER COMIC-CON . . . Dedicated Communie, Gillian, made the dreams of many fans come true – CommuniCon! With the help of her fellow Communies, including Catherine and Kim, Gillian organized a series of panels, trivia games and even a birthday celebration for show writer Andy Bobrow (whose cake included the same message from “Mixology Certification”). It should be mentioned that none of the organizers live in Los Angeles (CommuniCons’s location) and they managed to pull off an event attended by show writers, crew members and actors like Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley), Gillian Jacobs (Britta), Charley Koontz (Neil) and Danielle Kaplowitz (Vicki). There was also a special session with show creator, Dan Harmon. Yes, Dan Freaking Harmon came to CommuniCon and as Kim put it, “he rapped, he philosophized on the state of television and the process behind creating Community and wandered through the auditorium taking questions.” Check out Kim’s full account of CommuniCon here. The event was an amazing feat and it should be noted that it was completely fan-organized. It also allowed an opportunity for the fans who’d spent months rallying together online to actually meet in person. Who needs long lines, crowded hallways and sore feet in San Diego in July, when you can have a much more intimate experience and connect with other fans at CommuniCon? Take that, Comic-Con! The event was such a success, Damien Barriga and Brittany Sterrett have collaborated with the CommuniCon organizers and created a documentary called “Intro to Communal Conventions.” The perfect Community-inspired name. A trailer for the documentary is below.** I also strongly encourage you to visit CommuniCon’s tubmlr, which you can access here. If you’re wondering, there will be another CommuniCon in 2014, so follow the tubmlr for details. **Trailer created by Damien Barriga and Brittany Sterrett. Flash mobs, hash mobs and conventions – the Communies rally for the show and generate public discourse about it. MASTERS OF THE (SOCIAL MEDIA) UNIVERSE As you can see, the key to the Communies’ success is their active participation in just about every form of social media imaginable, including Reddit, Twitter, Tubmlr, Pinterest, Facebook and Get Glue. If there is a fan-based poll, you better believe that Community fans will rally the troops in support of the show. Community recently bested Game of Thrones in Hulu’s “Best in Show” poll. If you’re interested in getting becoming more active in the effort to get Community off the renewal bubble and officially into a fifth season, here are a few sites where you can get more information or connect with other fans: – maegwen.tumblr.com – http://savecommunitynow.blogspot.com – http://pinterest.com/violincatherine/nbc-community-street-team/ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/100965377307565791798 – http://www.headoverfeels.com/2013/02/07/my-love-letter-to-community/ – You can find the Community subreddit here. If you’re on Twitter, check out these Communies (including those who graciously made themselves available for interviews for this TVChat): Catherine @violincatherine, Mike @Communitynut, Kim @dramakim, Gillian @uhohmorshedios, the official CommuniCon handle @communiconnews, @maegwen, @CommunityGiveaw and @eviltroyandevilabed. It’s pretty easy to spot fellow Communies these days, as most have changed their Twitter avis to include a “save Community” message. WATCH IT LIVE! As the finale airs tonight, while NBC contemplates the future of the show, the biggest thing fans of the show can do is watch it live! So as 8PM approaches in your timezone, prepare your snacks, follow a few Communies on Twitter and enjoy! If you’re a master multi-tasker, check-in on Get Glue and join in on the live tweeting with other fans, cast and crew. Photos courtesy of fellow Communie, Kim R. Are you part of the Community fandom? Share your love for the show below! Data1001 Allow me to make an analogy. Community has a terminal disease. If you really love Community, you’ll allow NBC to perform an assisted suicide by ending its life. It’s been suffering this past year, and I’ve suffered alongside it, as I watched the show I once loved turn into a shell of what it once was. Time to say goodbye, and let it slip away gracefully, rather than seeing it continue its death throes as it gasps for breath for one more year. Lisa Oh hush.