Monday, November 14, 2011

Say What? Greendale Halts Classes In Winter 2012...

They say absence can make the heart grow fonder, but when that absence is one of the smartest, most original television series on the landscape (let alone one of my personal favorites), it doesn't seem to be like a good way to play coy or hard to get with viewers. It seems like the worst idea ever. And NBC is committing to it by benching Community in mid-season 2012.

I never thought the return of modern classic 30 Rock would be the removal of such a modern classic like Community. I have been pushing for a three-hour Thursday night comedy block since the peacock network announced the pick-up of so many new half-hour comedies in May of this year, and in all honesty, I was hoping Whitney would fail so miserably, they'd have no choice but to pull it from the schedule early, bringing 30 Rock back to air sooner than planned. But maybe I should have been more specific because it appears the universe only heard part of my wishes.

You can see the NBC mid-season 2012 line-up, with premiere and return dates, here.

Whitney is still going stronger than I'd like-- though the move to Wednesday nights at 8pm isn't exactly the network hanging all of their hopes on her the way they were at the start of this season. And instead of simply putting 30 Rock where Whitney used to be, NBC has decided to shake things up even more by moving Up All Night to Thursdays. Refusing to air six comedies on Thursdays, this leaves Community off the board.

Now, not having Community on-air in January doesn't necessarily mean the series will be on indefinite hiatus. Assuming Are You There, Chelsea? fails, it could come back almost immediately, but the current consensus seems to be that it will be back sometime in March, leaving a HUGE hole between its mid-season musical holiday finale and its eventual return. But at least it will return, right?

So, what to do in the meantime? Well, Twitter has already erupted in a show of support for Greendale, with users changing their profile pictures to the "Evil" versions of themselves from the most sinister of timelines-- the one we seem to have found ourselves in now. Some fans are banding together and deciding to send paintballs to NBC, a campaign which seems to have been spurred by former Community writer (and current Happy Endings staffer) Hilary Winston. All good ideas, but are they enough!?

Back when Chuck was on the bubble (the first time!), a campaign was started to have the viewers and loyal fans patronized Subway, a sponsor of the show, and use comment cards to mention that they were there because of the nerdy spy series. Demand was in dollars, and the voices were heard. I'm not saying Community fans should fear the worst-- NBC has explicitly said this benching is not a cancellation-- but what I am proposing is that Chuck fans and Community fans band together on this. Strength in numbers, right? Besides, Community's Danny Pudi will be guest starring on Chuck in December, and he expressed desire in having some of the Chuck guys over at Greendale when they were wrapped on their own season. But if production is halted on Community, that reciprocation cross-over won't come to pass. And that would be a shame upon shames!

Click here for my storyline ideas for Chuck stars on Community.

So for starters, get #occupyGreendale trending. And then have it stay trending for as long as possible. The "save our show" mentality may not be fully justified right now, but any time fans rally, especially in this social media day and age, the Powers That Be can't help but take notice. Maybe the gang will even get together (hopefully here in L.A.!) and do a stage reading or some kind of Improv show to tide us all over until they grace our screens once again.

Community's final episode of 2011 will be an all original music musical Christmas pageant extravaganza. In some ways, it is comforting to know that if it's going out for awhile, it's going out in such a big way, but at the same time, all that means is the hiatus is going to feel that much longer. Especially with no return date in sight.

Stay tuned right here for my exclusive from the Christmas Community set!

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