Exploring Donald Glover’s ‘Community’ Exit And The Evolution Of The Show’s End Tags

Features Editor
08.01.18 6 Comments

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In 2017, Dan Harmon told The Hollywood Reporter that he could agree that Donald Glover’s departure from Community signaled the beginning of the end for the series, but that he had “needed to convince [himself]” that that wasn’t the case at the time. That denial wasn’t for naught. There’s good stuff in season five and season six of Community, particularly in Harmon’s approach to the brief scenes, or tags, that appeared at the end of each episode. Scenes that had often housed some of Troy and Abed’s best and silliest moments before Glover’s exit.

When we started work on this article in 2017, one of those tags was the primary focus. Appearing at the end of the season six episode “Basic RV Repair And Palmistry,” the nearly three-minute-long “Giant Hand” tag tells a tragicomic tale about a bickering couple (Matt Besser and Danielle Schneider), a missing kid, and an obsession with oversized things. All of this loosely tied into the episode’s main storyline about the study group’s doomed RV trip to transport a massive fiberglass hand — an attempt at a bottle episode that wound up being more complicated then the crew had imagined, Community creator Dan Harmon told Uproxx.

We were going to talk exclusively about details like that and how the giant hand started as a pencil, a large bowling pin, and a taco that didn’t look like a taco — fun bits of trivia. But a loose tie between Glover’s departure and that darkly funny end tag and some of the deeper philosophies at play in season six were revealed when speaking with Harmon. This prompted a brief look at the history of the end tags, Glover’s impact, and the subtle long goodbye that Harmon laid on fans in what would be the show’s final episodes.