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10 Reasons Why ‘Community’ Improved In Season 5

By Nadia Chaudhury | Seriously Random Lists | April 18, 2014 | Comments ()


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We can all say it: season four of Community was pretty…not good. True, it brought us the study group as puppets, but colorful felt doesn’t heal everything. What did repair the broken show was bringing Dan Harmon back to fix its mistakes, revitalizing it from fan fiction into the show we used to (and now again!) love. Here’s how Harmon did it.

1. Jeff stops being a jerk
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We are introduced to Jeff as a selfish man who has trouble connecting with anyone because of his daddy issues, but that doesn’t excuse why he was so mean in season four. His jerk-ness was even manifested through Evil Jeff. In the new season, he becomes slightly more mature and faces his issues, like growing older, while also dealing with his post-graduation-what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life woes the way everyone else does: with a drop, not a bucketful, of sarcasm.

2. Annie grows up
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Instead of acting like a high school student with a major crush on her older English teacher, Annie grows up. Sure, she still has feelings for Jeff, as seen in the finale, but she didn’t act out like a super jealous person. She even works well with him when they’re solving cases, like the Ass Crack Bandit. That being said, TEAM JITTA/BREFF.

3. Troy finds inspiration
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Troy and Britta never made sense as a couple, and the show seemed to recognize this, forgetting about them for long stretches of time. Though their breakup happened in season four, Harmon was wise to not pick it up again. We all knew Troy was leaving the show, but we didn’t know how. By forcing Troy to sail around the world in order to inherit Pierce’s fortune, he finds a new direction in life: exploring the world with LeVar Burton, his one true love.

4. Toning down Britta
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Britta, true to her anarchist roots, wasn’t as all up in arms as she was in the previous season, which was brought to the foreground in season five when she runs into her former friends at a benefit. When Britta did have a cause to fight for, like overthrowing the Fives in the MeowMeowBeenz era, it was perfection.

5. Abed stays meta, but with a purpose
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Abed is our narrative device, the person who’s conscious of the fact that he’s on a television show, but it became too much of an over-exaggerated wink to the audience in season four. He even admits as much at one point, saying, “I remember when the show was about community college,” which pretty much summed up that season. He tried too hard to fill in sitcom tropes, like his two-dates-at-the-same-time ploy, and it felt forced.

6. A less-dressed up Dean
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Don’t get me wrong: I love a dressed-up Dean, even a Dean as Effie, but enough was enough. Having the Dean only occasionally put on his finest sparkly dress brings more power to his nonsensical outfits, especially when he DRESSES UP as a peanut and raps.

7. Nixing Changnesia
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I want Changnesia to forget Changnesia ever existed.

8. Brie Larson!
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Dan Harmon wisely picked up Abed’s dropped romantic storyline with Rachel the coat check girl, which brought back the amazing Brie Larson. Remember how I said TEAM JITTA/BREFF earlier? Well, TEAM BRIE LARSON.

9. No more Inspector Spacetime
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To a Doctor Who fan like myself, Inspector Spacetime was excellent. At first. It was quickly beaten into the ground, and every reference became tiresome. Thank you, Community, for not bringing this British show back.

10. The group’s consistent throughline
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I was worried, coming into the fifth season, that Jeff would be the weird guy hanging out at Greendale for a brand new reason every episode. But Harmon knew better. He gave the study group a united purpose for staying at Greendale: Jeff becomes a law professor, and the gang forms the Save Greendale committee, which refocused the storyline on the school. He saved Greendale.

Nadia Chaudhury demands more Brie Larson and shirtless Jeff Winger for next season.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Robert Colontonio

    we need annie in a bikini at least once or at least something sexy to show off her rockin bod

  • cruzzercruz

    Jeff and Britta until the end. Their ego clash must make for the most amazing study table sex.

  • Kenny G.

    11. SUBWAY...Eat Fresh!

  • Wrestling Fan

    hell, all 10 reasons could have been Dan Harmon. The difference between the last two seasons has been remarkable, and it's all because of his presence, or lack of.

  • Random_Disqus_Guy

    I half thought I was going to open this article and it would just be ten straight pictures of Dan Harmon.

  • Ingrid

    Chang was getting annoying midway through season 3. Chang's group of child security guards and the Chang Dynasty felt like it was out of a Nickelodeon tv show.

  • hapl0

    Wait, there's a season 5? (I'm obviously being an A-hole here)

    I'm gonna start watching again Nadia but I will send a strongly worded email your way if it's not everything you said it was. Strongly worded email.

  • hapl0

    Ugh. Just finished watching the first episode. The Zach Braff/Season 9 dig got to me and number 7 should be amended.

    I don't know what a Changnesia is but I'm going to finish watching Season 5 now because I just caught a glimpse of Senor Chang.

    Next you gonna tell me that Supernatural is good again after that Leviathan and Bizarro Castiel nonsense.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Next you gonna tell me that Supernatural is good again after that Leviathan and Bizarro Castiel nonsense.

    It kind of is.

  • hapl0

    Ugh.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    The whole Fallen Angel/Abaddon clusterfuck is rather entertaining. And there is actual *gasp* character development, especially in Castiel.

    Of course, Sam still runs around with that silly haircut.

  • hapl0

    I guess, I'm back to watching Supernatural too then. Fun.

  • Bert_McGurt

    For as well as this season turned out compared to last, I'm not entirely convinced that the conflict and turmoil that resulted in Harmon's firing and subsequent rehiring wasn't part of his overly intensive metatexual commentary on sitcom tropes. It's like he orchestrated his own show's shark-jumping so he could come back to pull a Winger and save it. Such an Abed thing to do.

  • Guest

    More Duncan would have been nice but overall a solid season.

  • Greg

    it wasn't an improvement it was a retread of past seasons

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Britta and Jeff (Team Jetta) have zero chemisty. Annie and Jeff (Team Jennie) have all of the chemistry. Team Jennie!

  • foolsage

    I think the Jitta-Breff ship was pretty thoroughly scuttled in this episode. Abed's synopsis of their relationship as a failed sitcom was dead-on, and they both seemed very happy to break up at the end.

    Anyhow, the Jeff/Annie ship was the solution to the episode's key crisis. That's telling.

  • Ingrid

    Isn't Jeff 17 years older than Annie? He's 40 and she's 23.

  • foolsage

    You're right on all counts. However, Jeff's feelings for Annie were what restarted Raquel. That's not me shipping (I don't have any stake there); that's just how the episode progressed.

  • Guest

    Yep. I was a bit disappointed we're back to Annie and Jeff thing and that was the only weak point for me in the episode.

  • John G.

    It was better because of Dan Harmon. The meta jokes had more punch and relevance. they weren't just someone attempting to do what had come before. The characters were able to be manipulated in the right ways, because they were being manipulated by their genius creator. The aspergers angle was both used more fully, since Harmon is aspie and discovered it through his creation of the Abed character, but also the use of autism spectrum disorders as a shortcut for human superpowers was also taken to task. Harmon was somehow able to make an entire episode that was a meta reference take on the romantic comedy genre, while also subverting the trappings of meta comedy, creating a truly emotional connection between two characters while somehow maintaining the beats of a caricature portrait of the same subject matter. And Harmon's line about owls and analogies will go down for me as one of the best jokes ever written for television.

    TLDR; Better because of Harmon.

  • Joey.blowey

    I for one did miss Inspector Space time.

  • Jericho Smith

    LeVar Burton, his one true love.

    Umm... Abed?

    LeVar Burton is Troy's one true dad.

  • foolsage

    You mean that metaphorically, right? Don't make Nana Barnes force you to fetch the switch. She can be a real monster.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    I just hope the show comes back to the fact that LeVar and Troy were captured by pirates.

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