Community Season 4 Review “History 101”

Well, here we are folks! I thought this day might never come! It’s been almost 9 months since the season three finale, but “October 19th” is here at last! Community returns with the season four premiere “History 101”, and it’s so great that this show was able to come back to our televisions after a 9 month hiatus with absolutely no behind the scenes drama at all! Wait…whaaat?

So yeah, there was definitely quite a lot of crazy stuff going on since Community last aired on May 17th of last year. Most notably we had Community creator and showrunner Dan Harmon being fired and replaced by Moses Port and David Guarascio, NBC delayed season four and temporarily moved it to Friday, and Chevy Chase has left the show and will not appear in the last few episodes of the season! Phew! I think you could definitely argue that Community has had more off-screen drama than any other show on television in the last year, so the question on everybody’s mind is: What will season four be like?! Will the show feel different? Will it still be funny? Read on to find out…

The opening scene was pretty clever, considering that lots of people were concerned that the show might change with the showrunner shift in the off season. It was funny for writer Ben Wexler to tip his hat to the fans and joke about their worst nightmare coming true: Community turning in to a multi-camera sitcom! It turns out this is actually a coping mechanism for Abed to deal with all of the changes going on around Greendale, and there’s quite a few changes going on!

Most notably, Troy and Britta are officially an item now! We’ve seen them making eyes at each other over the last season, so it will be interesting to see how this relationship plays out, especially how it affects Troy and Abed’s friendship. We’ve never seen two of our group members officially dating before, so it will be neat to see how the writers handle this.

Another big change to the group is “New Jeff”, as a more resolute and hard-working Jeffrey Winger has returned to Greendale with a vengeance! He competes in the rather unfunny Hunger Games parody “Hunger Deans” for a chance to get the group into a history class! Why does Jeff want to get into this class so badly, you ask? Because he’s planning on {gasp} graduating after this semester! It’s weird how much they’re referencing this being their “senior” year so much, and now it looks like Jeff might graduate earlier, so it definitely looks like the writers are writing their way to a finish line here. Community has classically had a lot of problems in the ratings, and now the shortened fourth season makes it look like we’re going to see our study group graduate and move on with their lives!

Ok, I’ve talked about most of the major events of the episode and all of the off-screen changes, but I haven’t addressed what’s possibly the most important issue: Was tonight’s episode funny? Well obviously that’s a little subjective, but I really didn’t feel like tonight’s installment packed many laughs. It does feel a little like they’re just trying to make a show like Community, whereas in the first few seasons it all felt a little more effortless. I realize that this is just one episode, and obviously not every episode from the first three seasons was a classic, but if tonight’s episode is any indication then I’m a little worried over what the rest of the season has to offer.

What did you think of the season premiere? Did it live up to your expectations? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– I realize that tonight’s opening credit sequence was different because of the whole “Abed TV” thing, but I wonder if the regular opening credit sequence will still end with Dan Harmon’s name since he’s no longer on the show.

– Is it just me, or is Dean Pelton’s whole cross dressing thing going a little too far now? It used to be so funny because he kept his hobby in the closet a little bit and it was so random to see him bust out a dress, but now it’s like he puts on a dress and nobody bats an eye.

– I did enjoy the fake promos for TV shows that kept popping up in Abed’s mind. “Blind/Blond” was my favorite.