The Cast of Community (Source: Rolling Stone)
The Cast of Community (Source: Rolling Stone)

Community: Thursdays at 8pm Eastern on NBC   

Since we last saw Community: A ton has happened in the last 9 months since any new Community last showed new episodes. Community was narrowly re-upped for a fourth season. The show’s creator was unceremoniously canned due to budget issues with Sony, Chevy Chase got really mad for a bunch of reasons, the show was moved to Friday (to be paired with Whitney…ewwww) only for that move to be rescinded when the Peacock had a disastrous developmental season left too few shows to be called up from the bench. As a result, the show was pushed back to spring, which is perfectly acceptable to me as it means that we will be replacing one of my least favorite holidays (Valentine’s Day) with one of my most favorite holidays (Halloween). Finally, Barack Obama was reelected president and the Manhattan Digest was created.

Oh wait, that section was supposed to be a recap of what happened on the show to catch people up? Ok. So when we last left off, the Greendale Seven had just saved the school from Chang, who had taken over the school in pure Napoleonic fashion after installing an imposter dean and kidnapping the real dean. A few months later, Jeff was forced to choose between his career and his newly found friendship when Shirley and Pierce struggle to determine who would run their new sandwich shop. Troy saved the air conditioning school and moved into the room that was formerly the Dreamatorium. Finally Britta was giving Abed therapy, which almost led to Evil Abed trying to recreate the darkest time line by being generally evil.

Our season premiere looks to revolve around two key points. First and foremost, the Dean has a limited number of tickets to a course titled “The History of Ice Cream”, which in true Greendale fashion leads to a Hunger Games style campus-wide fight for those precious few tickets. Additionally, we learn that last year’s beloved dictator Chang has acquired a case of amnesia, meaning that he has completely forgotten about his psychotic reign of terror last year (though hopefully he hasn’t forgotten how to play the Key-tar).

What I’m looking forward to: One of the things that last season finale did well was leave a number of plot threads open for season four while leaving an ending that would not be a complete let down in the case of cancellation. We should finally meet Jeff’s dad this season, which I’m awaiting with baited breath as Jeff’s daddy issues played a large role in season 3. Finally, even without a fifth season renewal, season four seems like a natural closing point to the story about college, so the absolute worst case scenario is the story reaches what would be it’s natural conclusion.

What I’m not looking forward to: No new episodes after may? A possible change in tone in an attempt to “broaden” the show under Sony’s behest? Whatever line it was that made Chevy Chase blow up midseason? This topic is pretty difficult for me as Community is easily one of my favorite shows on the dial and I am way too happy to see it return (hence the column title: Many Happy Returns). However, knowing the creative tour de force that is Dan Harmon (and if you haven’t checked out his podcast Harmontown I strongly recommend it) is gone, the show could lose some of the intricacy that was it’s hallmark over the last two seasons.