Today was a weird mix of good and bad news on the pop culture front. The ratings for Once Upon A Time, my new favorite show, were rising even higher than expected – good! The new Hunger Games trailer was released and despite the reservations on casting, it looked absolutely amazing – good! Chuck officially released it’s series finale information, complete with dates and a title – bad! And then on the way home from work, I received a curious text on my iPhone from my friend, something about benching Community and taking it off the schedule.
I think it says a lot about my priorities that I immediately sprinted the rest of the way home. Apparently, news must have just broken with the announcement of NBC’s mid-season schedule, because all of a sudden my Twitter feed was flooded with friends, fans and fellow journalists bitching, complaining, and reporting on the news. I kept hoping it wasn’t true, that people were overreacting but unfortunately, it was soon confirmed – Community would not be returning (at least, not right away) when the network came back from its hiatus in January. Instead, with six comedies now on Thursdays, the Peacock decided that for the moment two had to go. That would be the struggling Whitney, and our beloved Human Beings.
The difference is that while Whitney was relegated to a different time slot, Community was taken off the schedule indefinitely.
If NBC had released this news with the caveat that Community would be back on a certain date or reported that it was just being moved to make room for other comedies, I don’t think the fans would have reacted as vocally as they did. But of course, the first thing on everyone’s mind (including my own) was cancellation. And sadly, for a show that’s been so low in ratings and on the bubble for so long, it’s not something that’s out of the question, given how fickle networks are these days about shows that don’t pull in certain numbers.
NBC needs its comedies. It needs its Thursday night line-up, and part of the reason that Community hasn’t been in as much danger as it should be is because of NBC’s current status in the network rankings. The ratings may be low, but execs know that pulling the show would be a bad move – and judging from the outbreak and outpouring of support following tonight’s announcement (which may have been the only good thing to come out of the news breaking the way it did) it’s clear that the show has a fanbase. A rabid one. One that appreciates everyone from Jeff Winger to Pierce Hawthrone, and one that at least wants a dedicated ending if the show really is going to go out before its time.
Journalists are already posting articles about NBC’s decision. Other stars and writers are twittering their disdain. And a website has already popped up: www.save-community.com. While the headline may be a little extreme (“save our show from cancellation!“) it’s still empowering to see the support pouring out for this little bubble show. I’m hoping the network takes notice at how many people are vocal about this scheduling change, if nothing else to realize that the show does have an audience beyond what the ratings show, one that will do anything to keep it on the air. Hey, Chuck managed 5 seasons thanks to its fans, so the least Community can do is finish out with 4, right?
I love this little show. It’s my happy place, it makes me laugh and I love every single person in the cast, all of whom are amazingly brilliant and kind and talented. Every single Thursday night, I sit down and I watch it once. And then I watch it again. I spend up to 3 hours carefully crafting a review and a recap of each episode, sometimes staying up until 1am to do so, just to make sure I’m servicing every brilliant episode the best way I can no matter how many people read it the next day. Some people would be glad to get a break from reviewing and writing all night, but in truth, I’m devastated because I don’t want to not write reviews of my favorite show. I love doing it, and I want to continue to do it.
And so I’m hoping that with this news that it’s not cancelled, just “benched” we’ll see Greendale in session sooner rather than later. Because the world needs more smart comedies. Trust me. This is why we can’t have nice things.