When the finale of Season 4 aired, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the show. I wasn’t sure I wanted to pick it back up again in 2014. Then it was announced – Dan Harmon was returning! THE CREATOR! He may break Wheaton’s Law on occasion but he knows how to write a hilarious, smart show.
“Repilot” and “Introduction to Teaching” effectively reboot the series. They had to – Season 4 ended with the study group finally graduating at 4 years at Greendale!
“Repilot” shows us that Jeff has tried to embrace his good side after getting out of Greendale and…well, good doesn’t pay the bills. His office is being repossessed in the opening scenes and his slimey ex-partner (Rob Corddry) convinces him to infiltrate Greendale’s file room to find information on a client he has that wants to sue the school. Of course, things backfire and by the end of the episode the study group is back together (minus
Magnitude Pierce since Chevy Chase has left the show (speaking of Wheaton’s Law breakers, he is also a repeat offender)).
The thing about Community is the connection the writers have to the fans and their awareness of popular culture and also the drama around the show itself. For example, Abed refers to the “repilot” being similar to Scrubs season 9, when Zach Braff was only there for the first few episodes before handing it over to the new cast. Troy grumbles, “After everything Scrubs did for him!” — Troy, played by Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover, will also only be appearing in a handful of episodes this season while Glover explores the musical side of his career. See??? Brilliant. Even if you didn’t get the joke the first time you saw this episode, if you go back to rewatch the show on DVD later, the jokes will become obvious. THIS is the Community I know I love and have missed so much.
Honestly, I think I laughed more during both of these episodes than I did during all of Season 4 (the “gas leak” year as the characters refer to it). While they may not be the best episodes of the series, they are definitely the best we’ve seen in a year and it feels like Harmon and his writers have a plan for this season beyond spoofing everything. (Not that there is anything wrong with that. Watch Idea Channel’s Is Community a Postmodern Masterpiece? to make you think even deeper thoughts about this goofy show).
Here’s hoping that the rest of Season 5 has me laughing as much as these first two episodes. They were a solid start to a new year and a welcome return to one of my favorite shows.