… and a movie?

I finally caught the last episode of the weird Season 6 of Community as streaming on Yahoo! Stream, called “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television”.  As could be expected of Community, it was wonderfully meta and self-referential.   As could be expected of a series finale, it was actually quite touching.

 It definitely hit all the right beats for the finale to a show of this nature (although, in truth, Community is pretty sui generis and there are no other shows of this nature).  Without being too obvious, the show acknowledges that its focus is Jeff and Abed, with the others really orbiting their center.   It’s Abed’s pet theories that frame the story — which is, appropriately enough, a series of pitches for a notional Season 7 — but it’s Jeff’s long-simmering insecurities that drive the story.

They do the obligatory “everything’s changing” bit with both Annie and Abed getting jobs in far-off lands — Annie in DC with the FBI(?) and Abed, of course, in LA, on a FOX sitcom.  We get peeks inside everyone’s head, even Chang’s (which should come with a caution sign).  Some of them are callbacks to versions of the characters that haven’t existed for years, roads not taken for one reason or another.

And even though it’s patently manipulative, the emotional journey Jeff takes rings true.  Lurking in the background has always been his fear that he’ll get stuck at Greendale, that this is all his life is ever going to be.  He’s terrified of getting older, of getting stuck, and most of all, of getting left behind.  The changes that occur here stoke that fear and he has to experience one last burst of growth.  By the time the characters depart, it feels entirely natural and appropriate.

Even in what could well be its final episode, Community takes risks … like bringing back Shirley for a series of cameos, which really drive home how far the show has wandered, in its own drunkard’s walk, from its original conception.  But the writers execute it deftly, so that the journey feels plausible and the endpoint appropriate.  The sign-off is not as epic as leaving on a boat with LeVar Burton to the strains of Styx; it’s more down to earth, more intimate.  It works, though, and it sends the show off on a high note.

I’m still waiting for the movie, though.


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