NBC Renews All The Stuff People Still Like


This was not unexpected given that Parks & Recreation does okay after The Office and Community has become The Show in its second season (not the most popular show, not even the one that will win Emmys, but the one that has the most buzz around it), but NBC has taken both of those comedies off the bubble and renewed them for 2011-12.

Bob Greenblatt’s statement that Community is “a solid foundation for Thursday night” sounds ominously like he’s planning to keep it at 8 on Thursdays, which I think would be a bad sign, not for the show (which has proven it can do just enough to survive anywhere, at least while NBC has worse problems) but for the network’s willingness to be aggressive and not settle for low ratings in important time slots. Though you could argue that, especially if Idol remains on Thursday next season, NBC’s chances of regaining any kind of leadership on Thursdays are pretty much gone and they should concentrate on trying to find hit shows on other nights. Whatever; the network will have plenty of holes to fill and a show like Community, with a small but indestructably loyal (and demographically-desirable) audience, is perfectly capable of filling them.

The reputation of Community, as I said, has developed very quickly from a sort of charming cult show into the most worshipped comedy since, probably, Arrested Development. (And it looks like it will end up making more episodes than Arrested Development ever did.) Modern Family creator Steven Levitan said a while back that he “like[d] some aspects of Community,” causing Dan Harmon to get really angry at what he saw as a damning-with-faint-praise insult. This season Levitan has been effusive about how great Community is, and it’s gone from a show that was neglected by the Emmys to one that many showrunners worship — it’s the show they wish they were making.

I preferred the first season, or rather the second half of the first season. I theoretically love it when shows do different types of episodes every week, and one thing I’m grateful to Community for is that it’s showing the importance of the individual episode as a unit, at a time when many shows have given up on it and go into full-fledged soap opera (or in the case of sitcoms, two or three little stories woven together with no real unity of approach). But I just found it funnier last year. My reaction to a lot of the “big” episodes sometimes winds up being silent admiration (except for the Christmas episode, which I didn’t like); the “little” episodes are usually the ones that make me laugh, even when (like “Mixology Certification”) they’re not particularly jokey.

Obviously the show deserved to be renewed and I’m glad it was. I wonder if the show’s new status in the industry will be reflected in the Emmy nominations — or if it’s still not popular enough with some voters (older voters, perhaps? voters who find it too gimmicky?) to get over the hump. We’ll see; I’d expect Modern Family to dominate again, since like Community (and 30 Rock) it represents much of what insiders think a sitcom can be at its best, and it has the advantage (from an Emmy-winning point of view) of being a hit.

As to Parks & Recreation‘s Emmy chances, I have even less of a clue; it’s my favourite current sitcom but while it did get a nomination for Amy Poehler, it’s not clear just how far its reputation has spread, and its late start this season might not help. Rob Lowe probably raised its profile a bit, but I would still expect some Showtime thing to get the nomination instead.


NBC Renews All The Stuff People Still Like

  1. Hoorah! Great news. And if it weren't St. Patrick's Day I'd actually be home tonight to watch these great shows .

  2. Community was funniest at the end of its first season, I think, but if you check the first few episodes the characters, in particular Troy, weren't as fully distinguished as they are now. The evil-Pierce arc was overlong and underexplained (glad that's over) but actually my favourite episode of this year was the one set in the bar, which was the least 'funny,'

  3. Last September, Community received an award nomination from the Casting Society of America, but only in the Pilot category, for which there's no Emmy equivalent. (Modern Family won both the pilot category and the regular episode category.) This winter, Community received an Art Directors Guild nomination for "Basic Rocket Science" but lost to Modern Family's Halloween episode. The various organizations representing the producers, actors, writers, directors, costume designers, picture editors, and sound editors have failed to nominate Community for ANYTHING either this year or last.

    That doesn't mean Community won't be nominated for any Emmys; for starters, the ADG nomination's a good start in the production design category, and, hey, Betty White guest-starred! (Though if Community's only Emmy nomination goes to Betty White, then Community would be the new Yes, Dear.) But when critics spend the next 4 months declaring that Emmy voters will definitely nominate Community in the Outstanding Comedy category because [insert grasping at straws excuse here], don't believe them. There's not nearly as much industry support as critics would like there to be.

    • You're probably right. There are certainly more than five good comedies on the air right now; and whoever does the Emmy nominating does tend to keep picking the same shows, again and again.

  4. I just got a glimpse of the future: Rob Lowe's Emmy clip for Supporting Actor simply consists of him saying: "Stop. Pooping." And he wins!

  5. To paraphrase Sloan, it's not the show I hate; it's the fans. One can hardly get through an online discussion about any other comedy without a rabid Community fan trying to hijack the conversation. It's become the new "What about Firefly?"

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