Recap: NBC "Community," "Advanced Introduction to Finality"

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The Thing About the Season Finale of Of "Community" Is That It Was Awful

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | May 10, 2013 | Comments ()


One half of me believes that "Community" should be cancelled based on last night's season finale alone, and the other part of me hopes that it isn't so that "Advanced Introduction to Finality" doesn't end up being the last episode of the series, because that was a hard way to go out. It was another episode, like the musical episode a few weeks ago, that felt as thought it was taking the corpse of Dan Harmon and skull-f*cking it through the eyeballs. That was not only a terrible episode, but in a way, it retroactively damaged the series' best episode, "Remedial Chaos Theory" (not to mention, "Introduction to Modern Wafare.") The new showrunners, whose names are hard to remember and not worthy of mention, took a concept -- the timelines -- and they burgled it of all its genius, shitting out some kind of Disney bastardization, an amusement park ride through two timelines merged.

The saddest part is, the episode was written by longtime "Community" writer, Megan Ganz, and she should've known better. You can argue that, the fact that the Evil Dopplegangers, was all part of an elaborate dream sequence, excuses the idea, but you'd be wrong. Dead wrong. Ganz took a subversion, and she unsubverted it. It was a dishonor to the spirit of Dan Harmon. She Chuck Lorre'd "Community." Worse yet, it robbed all of the emotion out of Jeff's otherwise sweet and impassioned monologue about the value of friendship, and the importance of the group to him over the last four years.


I did, however, like this little sight gag.


And I won't complain about Annie's dress.


However, this is where the episode began to unravel.


Why did Evil Greendale look like hobo Matrix characters?


Evil Dean looks like the spawn of the dancing old man from the Six Flags commercials.


No. No you didn't.



This was the final scene, perhaps ever, of "Community."

I'm just going to pretend these outtakes were the end, instead.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Welldressed

    This episode was terrible. What many of us (I assume) enjoy about community is that it doesn't conform easily or often to other sitcom tropes. It jumps about with themes and genres and when it has its emotional moments, it feels earned because it didn't take us there the easy way. It surprised us. This episode took many of the beautifully WEIRD things on the show and shoe-horned it into a more conventional sitcom world. It wanted to "logic away" the beautiful weirdness that those of us who've watched since season one were so passionate about. I'm glad the show got renewed but it simply cannot give us another season 4. It needs to bring back the weird.
    The prosecution rests.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    I'll grant your, the finale wasn't my favorite episode, but it wasn't that bad. It would have been better had they managed to do it in such a way that wasn't a dream sequence, cause I spent much of the episode trying to figure out how any of this could be grounded in reality, but I did like some of the terminator matrix stuff. And I flat out loved Evil Troy and Abed in the Morning. I thought that was a lot of fun, and a really great way to close the show. Then again, maybe that moment was like Star Wars III in that my expectations had been so lowered by the rest of the episode that the ending seemed amazing by comparison.

  • Edo

    People who try to convince themselves that people who didn't like this episode are deluding themselves are in fact deluding themselves. Jeff delusional thinking up a entire badly written sci-fy movie in 1 second before graduating, yeah makes sense. A matrix spoof, wow pretty original. Please f off. You can like it, but please in the name of God, don't say people don't like it because Harmon is gone. It's so extremely bad.

  • Kenny G.

    Jesus Christ people...if you don't like it, DON'T F*CKING WATCH IT...AND DON'T COME BACK HERE AND TELL EVERYONE HOW MUCH YOU HATED IT AND THEN TRY TO BE ALL F*CKING "SMARTY PANTS" ABOUT "WHY" YOU DIDN'T LIKE IT...let the viewers judge for sound like the c*cks*ck*rs that hated GILLIGAN'S ISLAND when it debuted... and would have shut that CLASSIC SITCOM down during the first season...get a life!

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Is there something wrong with your CapsLock key, or are you just randomly screaming like a spambot?

  • Eddie

    Honestly, I feel that if people had never known Harmon left the bitching about the episodes would be reduced by at least 80%. This season has been maybe a bit more "lesson of the week"-esque, but it's still a pretty good show. Enough already.

  • Anebo

    I dunno. I noticed a sort of decline or shift in quality between seasons 2 and 3 (or was it 3 and 4? Can't remember) of 30 Rock almost immediately. I'm sure there were people who noticed something "off" (or at least radically different) from the beginning of the season even if they didn't know Harmon had left. I can't speak for them, though. Granted, Community's always been pretty hit or miss, but there was a spark or something that kept people watching even when it was floundering. We all think it was the "Harmon touch."

  • Anonymous

    This show has never been funny, let alone brilliant or even culturally relevant. You're all to oversaturated with entertainment that you think anything which both is relatively new and caters to your tastes is a work of genius, but that simply doesn't make it so. It's just dweeb entertainment for internet nerds. The only reason it stays on air is because NBC has nothing better to fill it with and some small amount of you actually watch it on television or some other service where you're subjected to the advertisements which pay to keep the show on the air get some small chance at a return on the investment. That's why this show is so poor in the ratings; normal people don't find it worth watching and the few of you who do avoid the very thing keeping it on air.

  • RisiaSkye

    Chevy Chase, is that you?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Says someone who didn't even have the balls to post here with an internet handle.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Yeah, it sucked. I expected more from Chang and City College Dean. Last weeks episode probably was the best of season 4.

  • googergieger

    I don't know, if you imagine this new season has been Buffy's opening number in, Once More With Feeling, it isn't that bad. And by imagine, I just mean, watching that entire episode instead.

  • Not regretting my decision to hog all the floating door and let Community drown this season. It was sad to say goodbye, but at least I'll always remember the show as the young, strong and beautiful Leonardo DiCaprio it once was rather than the sad old post-Christmas Vacation Chevy Chase it apparently became.

    I don't know if any of that even means anything.

  • Scott

    I thought the last two episodes of season 4 were the best two of the season. Especially the "origins" episode, but the finale was great too. It was playing with all that had come before and tried to go out big. It had the classic TV trope of the finale wedding and was, on the whole, well-written. I really, really hope the show is renewed -- it seems the new production team were just getting on their feet.

  • Foop

    could not disagree more. This, and the puppet one, were where Community finally got their sh*t together this season, and gives me hope for a future.

    Although those bees beatboxing is the greatest thing I've ever seen.

  • TheMercurialMan

    Are you fucking kidding? The puppet episode was diabolical, as was this ruination of the show.

  • Mr_Zito

    It was terrible. It might not be the worst episode of the show, but was probably the most idiotic.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I thought it was one of the worst eps of the entire run. And I think people that liked it never understood the soul of the show to begin with.

    *drops mic*
    Judgy McJudgerson out!

  • Jay Logan

    I laughed more on the Alison Brie outtakes than the entire fourth season. Btw, that last scene in the outtakes: Holy Annie's Boobs!

  • Even Stevens

    Alright, I'll be the one to say it: I liked it! There. Glad that's off my chest.

  • Milly


    It was sweet, quirky and funny in 21 minutes which is what Community has excelled at in the past.

  • I liked it. Yeah, it was still "not the same". But that was the closest the show and the characters have felt to being their old selves since last season (and kind of the first episode of this season). Remedial Chaos Theory and Modern Warfare are so good nothing can dilute them, not even this season, which I think we're all going to end up believing was all in Abed's imagination.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I own my downvotes.

  • Even Stevens


    Also? I downvote yer FACE

  • lowercase_ryan

    I upvote your downvote, it cancels OUT!

  • Blake

    Can't we just forget Season 4 ever happened and talk about last night's Hannibal?

    It was amazing!!!

  • OhGoodyGoody

    The ceaseless boo-hooing about how Community has fallen is more fueled by a fantasy of an imagined series than any real show. Old Community was not as good as you think. New Community does not suck nearly as much as you protest.

    Was season 4 not as good as what has come before? Yes; the show had a reduced order, the final loss of Chevy Chase, and of course the ouster of Dan Harmon. Sadly most of these problems originated with Dan Harmon. The new people did not come in to ruin Community, the came to try and salvage something the previous show runner had broken.

    Ultimately I think the finale failed more due to a desire to service the rabid fan base than any failure of Megan Ganz to grasp some secret of the shows greatness. Here's hoping for a fifth season, one better than the last.

    Perhaps I'd be less grouchy if I had not read the even more lunatic review of the episode over at the AV Club. Jesus, people, its a tv show.

  • Alex0001

    Right it's the fan's fault the show is so bad, not the show runners or writers who apparently don't have the spine or talent to do what they want to do with the direction of the show.

  • GDI

    Thank you. The rabid fanbase was never going to be pleased. Their expectations never adjusted. They should redirect their anger and malaise at themselves. They should've know better.

    Caveat Emptor.

    Plenty of mistakes where made in this season. But the show could hardly be considered a classic. The potential was certainly there. It just happened to be very elusive.

  • alwaysanswerb

    I co-sign Spazholio's "Such as?"; however, I do agree with this:

    "Ultimately I think the finale failed more due to a desire to service the
    rabid fan base than any failure of Megan Ganz to grasp some secret of
    the shows greatness."

    Much of this season's "skull-fucking" of Dan Harmon, as Dustin put it, was an obvious attempt to cash in on the fandom's favorite moments by winking at us and saying, "See? We saw your favorite hashtags. We listen to you! Now please keep us on the air!" It's like someone forgot that friends don't stay friends just by shouting their old inside jokes at each other relentlessly; they make NEW memories.

  • Spazholio

    "Sadly most of these problems originated with Dan Harmon."

    Such as?

  • GDI

    Season 2, when it lost a lot of heart mid-way through and the copy-pasta episode (Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design) from the far superior AD. And parts of season 3, generally the first couple episodes.

    Sure, I don't know the inner, mechanical workings of the show. Maybe it wasn't Harmon's fault. But outing Ganz like that is equally as fruitless, unless you are somehow privy to this info.

    That being said, I've always maintained that Megan Ganz is one of the weakest writers of the bunch. This hasn't really changed after watching the finale.

    I was simply underwhelmed. Perhaps the only consolation is that this was her best episode.

  • Gavin Smith

    Yep. I deleted it after terminator Jeff came along. Jesus, what a disappointment this show has become.

  • Erin S

    Some of the gags made me laugh ("All for one and one guy we can leave behind!" "What?" and the soda basically just Troy) but I haaate that they got too into the Timelines and the drawn out "dream sequence."

    The great part about the fantasy parts of Community is that they all ACTUALLY HAPPENED, and even if they're absurd they're grounded in reality. Abed's magical Christmas adventure was a nervous breakdown, and the guns in Modern Warfare and the season two finales were full of paint. The timelines were a mix of imaginary and Abed's inability to cope, and the one "it was all a dream" moment we had (discounting the amazing instance where the psychiatrist tried to convince them it was all a dream, with only brief success) lasted about a minute and a half in the third season opener.

    Long story short: Meeeeeh.

  • Rochelle

    I was all torn to pieces, bouncing between a primal "nooooooo, kill it now!" and a desperate, "but I love them *sob*." The following 90 minutes of The Office allowed me to numb my pain with apathy.

  • nachosanchez

    I didn't think it was that bad. In fact, it was pretty in line with the rest of the season.

    The whole "dream sequence" thing being Jeff's way of creating one last adventure for the study group was a nice tie in to his character. For a guy who is usually the voice of reason in the craziness that the group gets into, being upset that things aren't crazy enough on his last day and creating the dream is comforting to him and a proper sendoff before he leaves the school and the group dynamic changes.

    And as for people whining about the City College plot, were you really expecting a giant mechanical spider or something?

  • toblerone

    This will always be the end of Community to me:

    *NBC, please let the Frankenstein / Zombie corpse you turned this show into die.

  • GDI

    I didn't hate season 4 (nor the finale), but this certainly was more poignant.

  • southworth

    +1 point for Joel McHale sucking in the gut he doesn't have.

  • brian

    How was it terrible

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