Sunday, February 10, 2013

TV Review: Community Season 4 premiere (Confirmed: Epic)

Community has had an immediate cult following, one you can see the cast is quite grateful for.

     We here at The Epic Review tend to only review series premiere’s and finales when it comes to TV shows, but for the Epic season 4 debut of the already cult classic NBC series Community, an exception had to be made.  Sice the end of Season 3 fans of this beloved series have been an absolute roller coaster ride.  After the normal speculation that the show would be cancelled was subdued, series creator and show runner Dan Harmon left the show, and had quite a nasty falling out with NBC.  Shortly after that Chevy Chase who plays the very inappropriate Pierce Hawthorne announced he was leaving the show, due to his own differences with staff behind the scenes.  All of this combined with fact that NBC decided to delay the start date of season 4 to February 2013 left fans waiting with bated breath to see what was to become of their favorite show? Despite all of these uphill battles the group came roaring back stronger than ever!




New show runners Dave Guarascio and David Moses left, were able to capture some of the original heart of  Community that series creator Dan Harmon right has lost somewhere along the way.
     Since around the middle of Season 2 the dynamics of Community have really been shifting, the show that was once about a group of semi geeky misfits at a Community college shifted toward a full blown commentary on Geek culture with almost every episode.  This shift in focus made the show the dream geek sitcom, but hurt the show with general audiences resulting in sub-par ratings.  When Community was at its best it provided a seamless blend of geek culture and Community College hi jinks, and the season 4 premiere finally brought the group at Greendale back to that place. 

Fred Willard as an Alternate reality Pierce was one of the best Hi jinks from History 101! 
     The season 4 opener played to the collective geeks wishes of Community fans while at the same time staying just grounded enough.  In the episode History 101 the group is finally on the verge of getting into the history of Ice Cream class they all need to graduate.  Upon finding out the news that Jeff took Summer classes at Greendale, and is on the verge finishing a semester early the group becomes distraught Abed in particular, and a classic Community tales ensues. 

Jeff has to compete in the Hunger Deans, in order to win the group class spots in History of Ice Cream.
As it turns out Dean Pelton overbooked the history of Ice Cream course, and he plans on making the student body compete in his versions of the Hunger Games the Hunger Deans in order to gain admission to the class. (Remember Hunger Games was just a little bit more relevant when this episode was originally scheduled to air.)  While a supposed all new Jeff Winger fights to the death dean Abed chooses to escape to multiple realities in order to escape the fact that this is the groups last year at Greendale.  Realities that include: A laugh track sitcom where Pierce has been recast as Fred Willard (This is hilarious considering the fact that Chevy Chase is leaving the show, and you could see the recast as feasible within the main community reality), and communities version of the Muppet Babies this is all done by Abed using very Inception like techniques in order to jump from reality to reality.  All of this takes place as Jeff is competing to win each member of the group a spot in the history of Ice Cream class, as hosted by Dean Pelton who for some reason is dressed as Katniss Everdeen the girl on fire. 

Greendale Babies, Communities version of the Muppet Babies  was one of the many spoofs in History 101.
     The overall results were quite possibly Communities most masterful spoof show, while there have been other spoofs I liked way better (Modern Warfare and Basic Rocket Science come immediately to mind) this one was just done so well.  History 101 also came at a time when NBC had to deliver an Epic community episode to ensure fans that new show runners David Guarascio and Moses Port where going to be able to maintain Communities spot on the television Geek throne (Sorry Big Bang Theory!), and the results were just that, and then some.  History 101 gave all the diehard fans that incredible commentary on pop culture that they have come to expect, and at the same time kept the show just grounded enough.  It also captured the original heart of a show that at its core is just about a group of friends navigating through day to day life at a Community College, and that heart is what really made this show work in the first place.

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