SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't watched the Season 5 premiere of Community yet, do not read any further.
The return of Community executive producer Dan Harmon to the series he created — and then was fired from — was a shock enough. But fans of the show were in for another surprise Thursday night, as another exiled Community member made a brief return:
Fans of Community are understandably wary about the fifth season, given the fairly hollow simulacra that aired last spring. But with the return of creator Dan Harmon, the show has regained the sense of deliberate chaos and freewheeling playfulness that originally earned it such a devoted (and vocal) fan base.
For Harmon's unprecedented return, you can thank none other than Joel McHale, who played a crucial role in NBC bringing back the controversial showrunner. Comparing Harmon to Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) and Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development), both of whom are guest-starring this season, McHale preached the benefits of letting a series be dictated by a singular vision. "There was some really good stuff last year, but it did not....
NBC couldn't kill Community, even if it tried — and it definitely tried. But lengthy hiatuses and unusual scheduling (including Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes airing last spring) wouldn't destroy it. A controversial decision to replace creator Dan Harmon as showrunner last season couldn't slay it. Even all that Twitter chatter about "six seasons and a movie" didn't jinx it.
"Community is like a Twinkie," says Yvette Nicole Brown, who plays Shirley, perhaps the sweetest of the community-college study-group members who form the show's heart. "The shelf life of this show has defied odds."
Chang the Halls! In preparation for next month's return of Community, the show's producers came up with "Miracle on Jeff's Street," an animated holiday-themed short that TV Guide Magazine has been given first crack at unleashing on the Internet.
In the cartoon, Jeff Winger...
Though Jeff (Joel McHale) seemingly got his happy ending he finally graduated from Greendale last year, judging by the first trailer forCommunity's fifth season, it was all downhill from there.
The lawyer has apparently hit hard times (in case his new beard didn't make that clear enough). In fact, his law career is looking so grim that Jeff decides that going back to Greendale is a better option. Only now the student has become the teacher.