On October 11, 2011, “Remedial Chaos Theory,” arguably the greatest sitcom episode of the 2000s aired; less than two years later, on May 9, 2013, season four ended with a dud with “Advanced Introduction to Finality.” Community was nowhere to be found in any best-of 2013 list; most fans were ready to say goodbye to Greendale, united in sadness of what the show had become and admiration of what it used to be. I know I was ready for it to be over — without Dan Harmon, it was a completely different show, and not the one that I wanted to see.
But then Harmon announced his return, as did Chris McKenna and a new batch of writers from shows as varied as American Dad! and Key & Peele, and despite my better judgement, I was excited again. Said excitement turned into genuine glee when I read the early reviews for the two-episode premiere, all of which were highly positive. And rightly so. “Repilot” and “Introduction to Teaching,” which were wisely aired together (best to get the plot catchup out of the way immediately) felt like Community, not Community fan fiction, the problem that so defined the fluffy and fan service-y season four. The colors were muted and dirty (not loud and harsh), the dialogue felt true to the characters, the jokes were fast and clever (like the misdirect of the study group receiving an F for their table-shaped birdhouse), the pop culture references pop-pop’d, and best of all, the words “Inspector Spacetime” were never said.
Community is back, you guys.