Community" fans had a lot to celebrate this week. Not only is the show scheduled to return for a fourth season (a renewal that seemed unlikely only a few short months ago), but the third season ended on a bang. NBC opted to air the final episodes of the season on the same night, allowing fans of the show to binge on their favorite comedy."
While critics of the show argue that the various genres and wacky storylines can make the show inaccessible to new viewers, these final three episodes proved that "Community" has embraced its status as the weirdest show on TV. In doing so, viewers were treated to some of the strongest/strangest episodes of the season.
The three episodes, in order of airing, were "Digital Estate Planning," "The First Chang Dynasty," and "Introduction to Finality." The first episode featured Giancarlo Esposito of "Breaking Bad" and "Once Upon a Time" fame as (spoiler alert!) Pierce's brother. The retro gaming feel of the episode was a perfect experiment in form for a show that excels in bending genres and breaking the traditional sitcom mold, and proved once again that "Community" excels at all things weird.
Next up, the video game references continued as Troy and Abed acted like Mario and Luigi while the gang prepared to take down Chang. But despite all the goofy antics, the show still retained its emotional core (a recurring strength of the show's creative team), and Britta and Troy were absolutely fabulous.
The true finale of the night, "Introduction to Finality," gave the entire ensemble meaningful and amusing stories to work with. Britta's counseling sessions with Evil Abed have been a long time coming, as has Shirley's sandwich shop. And bringing back Rob Corddry was a great way to tie the show back to Jeff's dark roots. It was a season finale that thankfully won't be a series finale (but still would have been a good note to end on). What other show could so deftly master the weird combination of legal drama, sci-fi, and slice-of-life storytelling?
But one question still plagues "Community" fans: Will creator Dan Harmon return for the show's fourth season? Harmon has yet to renew his commitment to the show with NBC, even though the show itself has been renewed. After the finale aired, Harmon tweeted, "Thank you for supporting Community through its December. I owe you all for making the most satisfying project of my life possible," a statement that some TV blogs interpret to mean that he might be preparing to say goodbye.
Combine that with the news that Adult Swim picked up one of his pilots, and Harmon may already be preparing to throw himself wholeheartedly into a new endeavor. Can the weirdest show on TV work without its creator? Only time will tell.