It’s been a long nine months. But finally, our beloved Community returns tonight. Now, I could go on and on about what this show means to me, but the thing is, if you’re reading this blog, it’s most likely because you follow me on Twitter, which means you already watch Community and know what it means. And I can’t possibly begin to qualify something that we all feel so strongly. So instead of going on and on about what Community means to me, I went on and on about what you mean to me.
I started watching Community when it premiered in September 2009. I didn’t know anyone else that watched it, though – looking back on my Twitter archive, I’ve seen that Jenn watched a few episodes throughout the season, so I sometimes had someone to discuss the show with. She didn’t actually sit down and watch every episode and fall in love with it until after the season one finale, though, but finally, nine months after the show began, I had a fellow fan who would be willing to squeal over it with me (which hasn’t gone away. Most of our text conversations still end up capslocking over Community).
Sometime in the beginning of season two, I found Taylah on Twitter, and I got some of my friends to start watching it. I could tweet during episodes with Jenn, and go to school on Friday mornings and talk about our favorite moments during the day.
Now, I always knew the show was struggling. I mean, the only people I ever heard talk about it were the ones I had made watch it. And until a certain episode, I wasn’t really obsessive over the show – I loved it, sure, but to me, it was just a great show that I watched every week. I had found Milady Milord over the summer, so I certainly had an emotional connection to the show, but not in that all-consuming way that’s normally reserved for your favorite shows.
And then they did a zombie episode. With Dean Pelton dressed as Lady Gaga and ABBA music as the soundtrack. As soon as a cat flew across the screen, I turned to my mom (because my mom used to watch TV with me, shut up, we’re adorable) and said, “This just became my favorite show.”
But I didn’t really feel the weight of that until a year later, when Jenn texted me while I was in my 6PM Pop Culture class and said, “NBC released the spring schedule. Community isn’t on it.”
Now, I was an Arrested Development and Veronica Mars fan. I was crazy obsessed with them when they were on the air. I heard the news of their cancellations, and watched both their finales live. But this hurt in a whole different way, and to this day, I’m not exactly sure why. I actually almost started sobbing in class. I was about to run out of the room so I could cry in peace when Jenn responded to my text (which I think just consisted of “WHAT?!?! NO!!!”) explaining that it hadn’t been cancelled, just pushed back until some unknown date (how familiar that sounds…).
Over the next few weeks, I started meeting more Community fans on Twitter. I think it was a combination of a friending meme at Milady Milord and finally deciding to follow the fans Jenn had already followed. By the time Regional Holiday Music aired, we were all live tweeting together. By the time Community returned on March 15th, we were all friends.
More people were added to the group, of course, and even now, more Community fans are finding us and tweeting with us, and it’s so great. Now, I don’t know everyone as well as I’d like to, but over the last year, I’ve gotten to know many of the members on a level beyond just being mutual Community fans. And once we got to that point, where we cared about each other’s real lives and knew each other by name and not Twitter handle, Community became even better. I get to watch every new episode with my friends back in New York and in Missouri and in Florida and in California and in Hawaii. I’m so grateful I have my Twitter archive, because I can’t remember how I used to watch Community alone. True to its name, it’s best to watch and enjoy it with others.
The unfortunate reality is that I’ll probably never meet most of these people in real life. They just live too far away, and the chances of me going to Spain or Australia in the next few years are very, very slim. But I was lucky enough this past year to meet three of my darling Twitter friends, and within five minutes, I had declared all three to be my favorite people ever. I’m generally shy and awkward, and it takes me a while to feel comfortable in front of people, enough that I can be weird and silly like I am around my best friends. But our Twitter group is different. When I first met Kim in July (along with Sage and Michelle), we were weird and silly within five minutes. I can’t even begin to describe all the silliness that occurred in my 48 hours with Kate and Phoebe. Those three days this past summer that I spent with Communies were the highlight of my year, and not just because we met Joel McHale and Jon Hamm (well, technically. I mean, I did say “excuse me” to him while trying to go to the bathroom, so you know, that totally counts). I had so much fun with them, and was able to instantly feel comfortable because of how much we had in common going into it. I mean, come on. Anyone who watches Community can’t be anything less than awesome.
(And I’ve gotten to hang out with Kim a few times since that first day in July, and I can confirm any suspicions that she is awesome and amazing and absolutely wonderful. Just saying.)
Here we are, on the other side of a very, very long hiatus. It’s been a long nine months, with lots of speed bumps along the way (like, you know, that time we thought Community would premiere four months ago. Haha! Good joke, NBC!), but we got through it. And honestly, I’m not sure what’s going to happen after these thirteen episodes. The future’s never clear for Community, but I think it’s in more danger than ever. I’m still holding out hope for six seasons and a movie, and I genuinely hope we get it.
The reason the end of a show is so tragic is because you’re actually losing something. You’ve invested years into these characters and what happens to them, and when that final episode airs, you lose something. You lose your friends. And in three years, once the Community movie comes out, our Greendalien friends will be gone. But we’re not losing everything. Our group has stuck together throughout the two hiatuses, proving that we don’t need this show to keep us together. So, yes. One day, we’ll have to say goodbye to Jeff, Britta, Shirley, Annie, Troy, Abed, and Pierce. But we won’t have to say goodbye to each other, and because of that, no timeline can ever truly be the darkest. I can’t wait to tweet with you all tonight.