Community has had one heck of a ride. Nearly every season finale of the series has seemingly allowed for the adventures of the Greendale crew to continue by the skin of their teeth. I can’t remember a time where the next season had been assured, and this is yet another of those times. Throughout the series run, one of the many running jokes has been that the show cannot be stopped until it has “six seasons and a movie.” Humorously, the show even gave one final acknowledgement of this by including a black screen toward the end of the episode with the simple hashtag: “#andamovie.” This season finale acts as not only a good conclusion to the gang, but a great conclusion in the journey of showrunner Dan Harmon. To be fair, for many, this can be seen as quite detrimental in that this episode takes the idea of the show’s own sense of what is meta, and pushes it to boundaries that we haven’t even seen before (I cannot imagine someone ever watching some episode of the show without having started from the beginning).
“Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” begins with the gang finishing their sixth year of school, as Elroy informs them that he has taken a position at LinkedIn, and will be moving to the West Coast. Keith David is the first one — when his character is asked by Jeff if he’ll return — to respond with “Yes … perhaps … maybe …” It’s apparent that nothing has really been set in stone. Season 6 itself seemed like a pipe dream, being picked up surprisingly by the new Yahoo!Screen. We don’t know who from the cast will return if the show returns, and this is actually a point brought up quite brilliantly a little later. The gang takes the chance, after meeting at Britta’s bar, to discuss with Abed what he feels their next year will be like, or as they jokingly put it, “Season 7.” It’s so strange, yet fresh and original, to hear characters in a television show talk about their own exploits from a “breaking the fourth wall” perspective.
Each member of the Greendale crew gets to present their idea for what the “seventh season will entail.” As each character begins their idea, the series’ intro starts and we’re presented with a skewed idea based on the personality of the storyteller. The weirdest coming from, of course, the Dean and Chang, wherein the Dean’s show revolves around him wearing a “Father Time” costume while touching Jeff’s abs and Chang’s includes a claymation character joining the study group named “Ice Cube Head.” This episode, while still having some laughs here and there, isn’t so much about the jokes as it is about Jeff Winger coming to grips with his situation. Jeff has changed more than any other character. Where once there was a slick talking, conniving attorney looking to easily breeze through a community college in order to get his law degree, now there is a man who has inherited a new family within the study group, and he’s almost punished in doing so. Jeff is the character who is terrified of being “left behind,” especially with Annie revealing that she has received an internship at the FBI.
Jeff’s imagination takes us into his “Season 7” as he imagines that every one of the main cast has decided to abandon Greendale, leaving only himself and a slew of Community’s secondary characters to steer the ship. Garrett, Susie, Todd, and the new cast member, “Scrunch,” played by Seth Green, frighten Jeff with the horror of not only loss, but change. It’s an interesting character study in general. Of course, the humor returns with both Britta’s and Frankie’s takes. Britta’s is a very politically correct outing with a skewed introduction of the show, using an almost Tom Waits-esque singer with flashes of the horror and devastation overlapping it. Frankie’s entry is appropriately boring, with the gang sitting around monotone, throwing in a fart joke from Chang, simply because there needs to be some humor in there somewhere. It’s a nice last look at each of the characters.
Things then swung back around to another concept of next year — which seems the most likely — created by Jeff, wherein the gang have all become teachers at Greendale. Chang goes back to being a Spanish teacher, Annie becomes a teacher relating to her FBI position, while Jeff becomes the Dean, who is teaching a class for Deans. This dream is shattered when Abed reveals that he is also leaving Greendale for a job working in television in Los Angeles. Jeff’s reverie is broken, and he places himself in a fictional world wherein he is married to Annie with a son. This leads into Jeff and Annie meeting up at the study room, with Annie informing Jeff that it’s time for him to “let the kid stuff go.” The two share a kiss and the gang joins them for one last goodbye.
We’re then given a montage where Jeff says goodbye to both Annie and Abed, only to return to Britta’s bar, sharing a drink with Britta, Frankie, Chang, and the Dean — the remnants of Greendale. Finally, in perhaps the most meta moment of the show, a commercial for the “Community Board Game” comes on, which shows a family struggling with their very existence, while Dan Harmon takes the opportunity to narrate his dislikes, his demons, and seemingly anything else on his mind at the time. It’s quite the look into the brain of the man who created a show such as this one. And while this episode may not have been as funny as episodes that came before it, it’s arguable the deepest and most clever of the bunch.
Season 6 was a really good entry into the show’s history, and considering the changes it had been through, was surprising in the levels it reached. #andamovie?
Episode Rating: ★★★★ Very good
Season Rating: ★★★★ Very good
– The writers certainly didn’t pull any punches when lambasting the Marvel Movies, huh? Jeff and Annie taking potshots at them beckoned back to an earlier episode wherein the security guard was giving them nothing but praise.
– The Dean wearing dozens of outfits to cap everything off was a sight to behold. I had forgotten that he hadn’t worn any costumes for the entirety of this season.
– Shirley’s return, albeit brief, was welcome. Shame they couldn’t get Donald Glover back into the fold though.
– The Dean dropping “fuck” into his language was pretty shocking, but a good reminder that they were never constrained by network regulations.
– I highly suggest you watch the documentary Harmontown to get a look into the mind of show creator Dan Harmon. It will certainly give you a better appreciation of this episode.
– Leonard: “School’s out, bitches!”