Danny Pudi, Alison Brie
After mixed reviews of Season 4 so far, many Community fans are considering calling it quits, but stars Alison Brie and Danny Pudi beg you to reconsider. "This is what I'll say about change: Hang in there, fans," Brie said on a conference call Thursday. While there's no denying the void Dan Harmon's absence has created, Brie insists the season finale is more than worth sticking around for. "I think the finale is such a special treat ... and it's one of my favorite episodes this season. I think that ... it's really just made for the fans," Brie said.
Has Community been canceled? Check out Fall TV Scorecard
NBC's decision last spring to fire Harmon, who created and oversaw the series, was only the latest in a series of obstacles Community has faced since its inception in 2009. "I think there's a lot of challenges our show faces. The No. 1 thing is that there's so much on television, and how do you get to our show? We're not a show that's marketed all over the place, you know, and we've always faced a lot of competition," Pudi noted of Community's timeslot rivals The Big Bang Theory and American Idol.
When Community returned Feb. 7, the series enjoyed a small increase in ratings but has since failed at maintaining its Season 4 premiere audience of 4 million viewers. This is no anomaly for Community, which has always struggled to connect with a larger audience thanks to its unorthodox storytelling and meta humor. But while Community is ahead of its time in many ways, Brie and Pudi acknowledged the show's penchant for current referential humor might ultimately date it. "Some of the jokes may not necessarily age well, but I think the story lines and the characters will be appreciated a few years from now," said Pudi, acknowledging the series' possible shelf life.
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But thanks to DVDs and online streaming, the stars hope Community will find more viewers as time goes on. "I've always felt that it's a show that is better the second time you watch it, because there's so much going on that you catch it again later," Brie said before comparing the show to Arrested Development. And much like the recently revived series, Pudi believes Community fandom has the same potential to keep expanding until it also becomes its own little subculture. "I think there is an amount of that within Community as well, where people will start watching the show and saying, 'pop, pop' to each other 10 years from now and it will be a nice little secret language," he said.
But before "pop, pop" becomes the new Pop Pop, Community fans need to stick with Season 4, new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port, and all. When asked to share any advice for those struggling with the changes, Pudi's responded: "No, that's a life question."
Will you "hang in there" with Community? Check out this sneak peek of Thursday's all-new episode:
Community airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.