Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time to hit the books! Community is back!

On a rare occasion when I stayed home to watch TV due to heavy rain storms hitting Central Florida, I caught Saturday Night Live and was greeted by a surprise commercial:

Community is back! Yay!

The sitcom, which airs on NBC, had been temporarily cancelled for three and a half months, but will return tonight, Thursday, March 15 at 8 PM.

I’m not trying to brag, but I told you so. Some shows are too good, fans too persistent, and too popular with advertisers to be expelled so easily.

Joel Mchale, who plays the lead character, Jeff Winger, explained how he was overwhelmed by the support, “One of the big reasons we’re coming back is because of the fans and their devotion to the show. It’s been great… With the flash mobs, the petitions, all the online support, the way it’s exploded on facebook and twitter, they should be their own army, because they could conquer any country at this point.”

Fans organized “occupy” chants, such as one outside NBC’s offices at 30 Rockefeller Center in NYC where they sang, “Oh, Christmas Troy,” and chanted, “Six seasons and a movie,” while donning fake “evil Abed” black goatee cut outs, the symbol of the “Save Community” movement. A small group met in Chicago. Fans in LA came out sporting signs, chanting, “Go Greendale,” and singing songs from the show, surprisingly well, I might add. All were filmed and posted on youtube.

An online petition garnered nearly 95,000 signatures.

A “tweet-the-advertiser” campaign was organized and fans were urged to contact advertisers such as Hallmark, Geico, Sprint, and Sony on twitter, asking them to help save the show. Other advertisers, such as Yoplait Yogurt, Dunkin Donuts, Poptarts, Old Navy, Macy’s, Toyota, and Orlando-based Olive Garden were contacted by fans via email.

“We’re the Pu-Pu platter of comedy,” said Gillian Jacobs, who plays Britta on the show.

Whoever’s been making the cut-or-keep decisions at NBC really needs their head examined. First it was the Playboy Club, then Community. I think even I could do a better job planning out the NBC primetime weekly schedule. I mean, really… the show is slotted at 8 PM against CBS’s Big Bang Theory, one of my other favorites, as well as FOX’s American Idol. What do you expect? Swap it with “30 Rock” or “Up All Night” after the Office, when continuing-adult-education students are home from night school, then see how it does. The last show, which aired in December, was watched by “only” 4.2 million viewers, while Big Bang was watched by 13.2 million. I believe the two cater to the same intelligent geek demographic and should not be pitted against each other. Both will do better in complementary time slots.

Fortunately, NBC succumbed to fan and advertiser pressure and has agreed to air the rest of the season of Community, which the cast and crew continued to film on a wing and a prayer, promising to make each show the best and most creative they possibly could. Beginning tonight, Thursday, the Ides of March, we will see the first of the remaining twelve episodes as the students of Glendale Community College return from their winter break and launch into a new semester of higher education.

If you’re into fun novelty items, you can also get a special 20% off discount off all Community merchandise by entering the code word: KRUMPING into the provided box until midnight tonight. I personally have my eye on a Troy and Abed mug.

Star Joel McHale is humbly appreciative, “It’s been just terrific. And I wish I could French kiss each and every one of them, man, woman, and child.”