Happy October 19th (or a Love Letter to My Twitter Friends)

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.

 

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The Art of Marathoning

Normally, Fridays will be dedicated to posting reviews of whatever show I’m marathoning, but I need a small break from the concept of consuming episodes in bulk.  I finished Supernatural last week, having gotten through seasons 2-7 in a little over a month (and in that month, my heart was ripped out of my chest countless times).  So.  Yeah.  I need a break.

So while I’m moving on from Supernatural and trying to find my next show, I wanted to talk about the idea of marathoning.  Or maybe just watching TV in general.  Some people can fly through a season of a show in a day.  Others can handle maybe one or two episodes a day, and some can get through one episode a week.  I happen to fall into the first group.  But what are the differences in how people watch TV?  Why can some people start watching a show in its ninth season, while others have to catch up on it entirely before they can watch the current season?

Personally, I can’t even fathom the thought of watching a show without knowing everything that’s ever happened on it.  You can’t possibly appreciate or understand the character dynamics unless you’ve watched them develop.  Or can you?  I mean, I’ve seen every episode of most of my favorite shows, but there have been times where I missed an episode of Chuck or Lost and never caught up.  To this day, most of my knowledge of season one of Lost and season three of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes from reading recaps.  I missed most of season five of Mad Men and I still talk about the plotlines (and Jared Harris’ perfection) like I witnessed them personally.

So I’m wondering.  We’re all passionate about our TV watching.  How do you do it?  How do you start watching a new show?  Are you a season-a-week person?  What determines the shows that you watch?

Personally, I don’t need much convincing to watch a TV show.  If the premise of a new show interests me, I’ll check it out.  I started watching most of my current favorite shows (like Community and New Girl) because I recognized some of the actors and wanted to check them out.

The speed at which I get through a show varies – I’ve been watching Breaking Bad for most of 2012, and I’m not even done with season three, because I always put it on the backburner.  But then there are shows like Supernatural, that I’ll marathon for nine hours a day.  I think my record was season five, which I finished over two days.

Moreover, I wonder if how you watch a show affects what you think of it, or if what you think of it affects how you watch it.  Like, I can’t have nine-hour Breaking Bad sessions, because my brain will implode.  And my nine-hour Supernatural-athons usually left me curled up in a ball on the floor, crying my eyes out (or, more accurately, trying to sob silently because it was 3 AM and my roommate was asleep).  And I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, but I went into it only knowing about David Tennant, so I started the first series with Christopher Eccleston quickly, just because I wanted to get through him and onto the Tennant years as soon as possible.  But once I realized how awesome the Ninth Doctor was, I slowed down and enjoyed that part of the show.

I’m curious how everyone else watches television.  What are your marathoning habits?  Let’s discuss in the comments!

(And let me know if you have any suggestions for what show I should marathon next!  Whatever I pick will be reviewed every Friday.  I’m toying with the idea of Party Down or Homeland, but I’m open to ideas.)

Six seasons and a movie…eventually

Last night, fans of Community found out that our beloved show won’t be returning next Friday, October 19th, as scheduled.  It’s not returning…um…well, we have no idea when.  Naturally, we’re a bit scared.

The thing is, Community fans have spent a year constantly worrying about their show.  Last November, when NBC announced Community wouldn’t be returning in January after its Christmas hiatus, fans realized something that would become abundantly clear over the next eleven months: their show is in danger.

Since that first battle cry, there have been rallies, letter campaigns, Twitter trending topics, and an art show.  Our fandom has reached out to the cast and writers, and I don’t think our appreciation has ever gone unnoticed.  I love this show, and I would do anything for it, but I’m getting tired.

I’m tired of hearing that the show will come back, but its creator won’t.  Of hearing that its star will be participating in the Emmys but the show itself was completely shut out.  I’m tired of being told the network and studio like the show, know how much it’s loved by fans, and yet do nothing to make the fans believe they have any faith in it.

NBC issued a statement about this scheduling change, but as you can imagine, it wasn’t very comforting:

“Given the success we’ve had for the past four weeks – including winning the first week of the season in A18-49 – we’ve decided to continue to concentrate our promotional strength on our new NBC shows that are scheduled Monday through Wednesday and have therefore decided to hold COMMUNITY and WHITNEY from their previously announced premieres of October 19th.  Without having to launch these comedies on Friday at this time, we can keep our promotion focused on earlier in the week — plus we will have both comedies in our back pocket if we need to make any schedule changes on those nights.  When we have a better idea of viewing patterns in the next few weeks, we will announce new season premieres of WHITNEY and COMMUNITY.”

 Yeah, I don’t know, either.

Yes, NBC.  Congratulations on winning your demographics for the first time in ten years.  I know, this is huge for you.  You’re just doing so well.  And I get it – you want to focus on the shows that you’ve been promoting.  Because, you know.  It’s not your fault that you’ve barely promoted Community since it premiered.

That’s the part I can’t understand – it hasn’t been promoted, so instead of starting to market it, they’re going to pull it.  That’s…not how logic works, NBC.

The whole thing seems like NBC’s trying to keep their hands clean in what they hope will be Community’s failure.  They don’t want the fan’s vitriol, so instead of saying, “We mismarketed our programming,” (or even, “We made a mistake scheduling these shows on Friday”), they’re saying, “Someone made a mistake, and we’re going to wait to see how to best fix this problem.”

I’ve seen speculation that Community and Whitney (which was also scheduled to premiere on the 19th) are being held to replace soon-to-be-cancelled comedies.  I think this is our best-case scenario.  If this is the strategy, then maybe I have too little faith in the network, and I hope that I do.  And it would give Community a chance – if it aired during the week, not on Fridays (famously the night networks burn off shows on their last legs), its numbers would be higher and there’d be a greater chance of it being discovered by new viewers.

Maybe I’m wrong about all of this.  Maybe the plan all along was to keep Community around and fit it in around the failing new comedies.  But NBC isn’t giving us any reason to stick with it once the show itself is gone.  I’m a Greendale Human Being until I die, but I’d like to say one thing to NBC.  Offense taken.

If you’re like me and you like reading other Community fans’ thoughts on what’s going on, you should check out Jenn’s blog on the subject, or join Kim for a gif party of rage.