On Thursday May 10, 2012 Community was renewed for a fourth season by NBC. As with a few of NBC's other returning comedy shows, the season will be abbreviated consisting of only 13 episodes. On May 18, it was anounced by Sony Pictures Television that series creator and showrunner Dan Harmon was to be replaced by Moses Port and David Guarascio (co-creators of the short-lived Aliens in America). Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, Chris McKenna, Dino Stamatopoulos, Anthony Russo, and Joe Russo also left the series. The Season Four premiere was originally meant to be on October 19, 2012 and the show was intended to be moved from the Thursday timeslot to Friday night's before "Grimm". NBC eventually pushed back the premiere date and announced that the show would return on February 7, 2013 at it's original timeslot on Thursday 8:00 EST.
New showrunnersEditThe cast along with the new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio appeared at the San Diego Comic Con convention on July 12, 2012. They addressed fans of the show- as well as the media- who had concerns about the upcoming season. They did their best to reassure everyone they wouldn't "screw up", noting that a number of writers (including Megan Ganz and Andy Bobrow) would be returning, and that the show would remain a “weird, wonderful gem and that’s not going to change.” On October 9, Entertainemnt Weekly posted an interview with Port and Guarascio where they reiterated thier intention to remain true to the spirit of the show and also revealed they had talked to Dan Harmon. Although he declined to write the Season Four finale, Harmon did wish them good luck and told them to "go for it.".
CastingEditIt was anounced that Malcolm MacDowell had been cast as Professor Cornwallis, the history professor teaching the course. Michael Ausiello had previously reported that the new showrunners were looking for a "known actor" to play a British professor who used to teach at Oxford. The former Ivy league teacher would at first seem out of place working at a community college but would eventually turn out to be just as crazy as everyone else who ends up at Greendale. On August 31, 2012 TV Line reported that actress Tricia Helfer of Battlestar Galactica fame has signed on to play Lauren, a superfan of "Inspector Spacetime". TV Line reported that the British comedian Matt Lucas, best known for his work on the BBC sketch show "Little Britain", has been cast as a new friend of Abed's called Toby. On September 17, 2012, Community writer Steve Basilone tweeted a picture a script for an episode entitled "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations". On September 18, 2012, online entertainment news sites Entertainment Weekly and TV Line both reported that this episode will introduce Jeff's father, William Winger, who will be portrayed by actor James Brolin. On October 7, TV Line reported that actress Brie Larson from the recent hit film "21 Jump Street" was cast to play an undisclosed role in the seventh episode "Herstory of Dance".
Season premiere delayEdit
|Season 4 began shooting in August 2012 and it's Season premiere was advertised in various media as being on October 19. However, on Online entertainment newsite Hit Fix reported on October 8th that the Season premieres of both Community and "Whitney" will be delayed until further notice. NBC released this official statement:
October 19 videoEditOn Friday, October 19, 2012, the day the show was supposed to premiere, a tweet was sent out on Community's official twitter page with a link to a youtube video. Featuring the entire cast of Community, it addressed in a tongue-in-cheek manner the delay of the show and assured fans that it would eventually return at a later date. Gillian Jacobs (whose birthday is actually October 19) was credited with the idea for the video by fellow cast member Yvette Nicole Brown.
NBC anounces midseason returnEditOn October 30th, NBC Yvette Nicole Brown on her twitter acccount broke the news about Community's return by tweeting this message:
|“||February 7th is #October19th! Who knew?! :)||”|
NBC later made an official announcement reported by various online entertainment news sites from Variety to Entertainment Weekly confirming the news. It returned as a midseason replacement in its regular time slot at 8:00pm EST on Thursday.
Chevy Chase quitsEditOn November 21, 2012 it was reported by online news site Deadline that Chevy Chase was quitting the show before filming had finished on Season Four. This news came a month after a minor scandal occurred during production of the show on October 20 involving Chevy's use of the "N" word on set. Chase had previously given interviews (Huffington post) where he expressed his displeasure with the direction of the show and his character. He also had a very public feud with show creator Dan Harmon after fall out over an incident that happened between the two at the wrap party for Season Three. TV Line reported that he would be absent from two episodes; "Intro to Knots" and "Heroic Origins". Chase did end up appearing in the Season 4 finale because the episodes were shot out of sequence once it was announced he was leaving.
Reaction to Season FourEdit
Overall, the fourth season of Community has generally received mixed-to-positive reviews. Metacritic tabulated a "weighted average" from 18 critics and gave Season Four a "Metascore" of 69 out of 100. This put it on par with their previous score for Season One. Verne Gay of Newsday opined: "Still defiantly Community, still good and still uninterested in adding new viewers." Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall stated: "It feels like [Moses] Port, [David] Guarascio and the other writers decided to reverse-engineer the [Dan] Harmon version of Community, but couldn't quite manage without the missing ingredient of Harmon himself." Mike Hale of The New York Times has stated that the series "has been dumbed down, its humor broadened past recognition, and the two episodes provided for review...have fewer laughs between them than a single good scene from the old Community."
Sony negotiates for a Season FiveEdit
On May 10, 2013, NBC renewed Community for a fifth season consisting of another 13 episodes. This came on the heels of days of intense negotiations between Sony and the network. Cast and Crew sent out tweets thanking the fans for their continued support.
Port and Guarascio depart, Harmon returnsEdit
According to Deadline, Season Four showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port were invited back to return for the fifth season following the announcement of the renewal. However, they made the decision to move on to something new. Writers Megan Ganz, Annie Mebane and Steve Basilone also moved on to other projects. On May 26, it was reported by Hollywookie.com that Community creator and former showrunner Dan Harmon claimed on his latest Harmontown podcast that he was asked to return to the show. that he was in negotiations to return to "Community. This was finally confirmed by him in a tweet he sent to a fan who asked him if the rumors were true.
Harmon reacts to Season FourEdit
After having been rehired by Sony, Harmon discussed in various interviews that he still hadn't watched Season Four and would be soon marathoning it alongside with his new co-showrunner Chris McKenna. On June 7th, Harmon stated in an interview with entertainment new site Splitsidder that he would try to be fair in his reaction to Season Four:
|“||I'm just going to sit by myself, pop some popcorn and watch it," Harmon says. "I'm not going to be a jerk about it. I know there were some great writers working on that show who bled with me for seasons one, two and three … the worst thing I can do is fart in their direction at all.||”|
However, upon finishing the entire season he had very negative things to say about it on his "Harmontown podcast":
|“||I watched season four. I guess I already knew this, but apparently, I’m quite a genius … I think I feel pretty comfortable expressing any kind of 'Eh, not my cup of tea' about it because — this has been expressed a thousand times over — it's obviously not somebody doing what they do and trying very hard to make people happy. It is very much like an impression, and an unflattering one. It’s just thirteen episodes of 'Oh, I’m Dan Harmon! Derpy, derpy, durr! Die Hard! Durrrrr!' I feel like I'm going back to work tomorrow morning, and I just feel like, 'Do I talk like that?'… Man, watching those characters without me there is just not fuckin' cool, man. It's like flipping through Instagrams and watching your girlfriend just blow a million [other guys]||”|
|“||I am first and foremost sorry to Community fans that got paid nothing to stick by Community and get us to a fifth season only to hear the incoming showrunner say some stuff that felt very un-Community. Even if my goal had been to hurt someone, it would never have been you. What I said was disrespectful to your love for this show, love that I sometimes erroneously equate with validation of me as a person. I am unwittingly and unfortunately infamous for the amount I care about your opinion. I often say that I write in an attempt to “make people like me." I’m realizing what makes me unlikable is that I haven’t made the leap from “caring what people think about me" to “caring about people." And let’s face it, if I’m doing this at 40 how cool am I going to get before I die. But I do know, every minute of every day, that I owe you folks what I consider to be my life and guarantee you that every time I’ve pissed you off it’s been on accident. And to keep from hurting you, I’m going to try thinking about you before saying things into microphones. I’m usually okay at it when I’m talking to actual press, because there’s a big visual reminder in the form of a cube on a mic or monkey in a diaper on the table. But when you’re listening to Harmontown, or, worse yet, reading transcripts from Harmontown, you’re catching me in unforgivably human moments. Obviously the solution is to stop talking about my job in my podcast until production is safely complete. That will protect the show you love, and your love of it, from the creator with the Mouth from PR Hell. I will do this. But more importantly, I am sorry.||”|
Complete list of Season Four episodesEdit
|"History 101"||February 7, 2013|
|Directed by: Tristram Shapeero - Written by: Andy Bobrow
The Study Group returns from summer break ready to tackle their fourth year of Community College. Jeff is focused on graduating and is just a few credits away. When there is a mix-up with a history class registration, Dean Pelton institutes an elaborate physical competition for class space. Meanwhile, Britta helps Abed deal with the anxiety he is experiencing over the thought of the study group graduating and breaking up.
|"Paranormal Parentage"||February 14, 2013|
|Directed by: Tristram Shapeero - Written by: Megan Ganz
While on their way to Vicki’s Halloween costume party, the study group makes a detour to Pierce’s mansion when they learn he accidentally locked himself in his panic room. As Pierce languishes behind locked doors, the group searches the dark and eerie house for the book that holds the code to the door. Along the way, they encounter a few of the house’s secrets.
|"Conventions of Space and Time"||February 21, 2013|
|Directed by: Michael Patrick Jann - Written by: Andy Bobrow & Maggie Bandur
The study group heads to InspecTiCon– the annual Inspector Spacetime Convention. Trouble begins when the group meets up with Abed's email "pen-pal," Toby Davies whose shared passion for Inspector Spacetime comes between Abed and Troy. Meanwhile, Annie leaves the convention floor to enjoy the luxuries of the hotel while Jeff relaxes in the bar with Lauren.
|"Alternative History of the German Invasion"||February 28, 2013|
|Directed by: Tristram Shapeero - Written by: Ben Wexler
The study group begins their European History class with Professor Noel Cornwallis where they meet again the arrogant German students from last season. Meanwhile, much to Dean Pelton’s dismay, Chang makes his return to campus.
|"Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations"||March 7, 2013|
|Directed by: Tristram Shapeero - Written by: Steve Basilone and Annie MeBane
Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) hosts an awkward gathering at her place with the study group, while Jeff winds up at the house of his father, whom he hasn’t seen since he was a child, and a different kind of discomfort ensues.
|"Advanced Documentary Filmmaking"||March 12, 2013|
|Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar - Written by: Hunter Covington
As the campus strives to get to the bottom of Chang’s memory loss, Dean Pelton enlists the group to help secure a grant for further medical research and Abed films the activities for a documentary. Jeff, however, suspects there is more to Chang’s memory loss than meets the eye.
|"Economics of Marine Biology"||March 19, 2013|
|Directed by: Tricia Brock - Written by: Tim Sacardo
Dean Pelton sets his sights on a wealthy potential student and enlists Jeff, Britta and Annie to help in his recruiting efforts. Meanwhile, Abed begins a new Greendale fraternity, while Troy and Shirley begin a physical education instruction class, in which Shirley excels and Troy struggles.
|"Herstory of Dance"||March 24, 2013|
|Directed by: Tristram Shapeero - Written by: Jack Kukoda
When Dean Pelton plans a "Sadie Hawkins" dance at Greendale, Britta plans a competing "Sophie B. Hawkins" dance in protest, but the joke is on Britta who has confused Sophie B. Hawkins with Susan B. Anthony.
|"Intro to Felt Surrogacy"||April 11, 2013|
|Directed by: Tristram Shapeero - Written by: Jack Kukoda
The study group takes a wild balloon ride that crash lands in the woods, and they end up spending some quality time together meeting a friendly Mountain man and sharing their most terrible secrets with each other.
|"Intro to Knots"||April 16, 2013|
|Directed by: Tristram Shapeero - Written by: Andy Bobrow
Summary: When Jeff organizes a holiday gathering at his apartment, Annie secretly invites Professor Cornwallis. After learning Professor Cornwallis intends to give them a bad grade on their joint history the group takes decisive action.
|"Basic Human Anatomy"||April 21, 2013|
|Directed by: Victor Nelli, Jr. - Written by: Jim Rash
When Annie and Shirley learn that Leonard is actually holding the spot as the class valedictorian, they join forces to bring him down. Meanwhile, Troy and Abed reminisce about one of their favorite body switching films things start to get a little funky at Greendale.
|"Heroic Origins"||May 2, 2013|
|Directed by: Beth McCarthy-Miller - Written by: Steve Basilone, Annie Mebane & Maggie Bandur
Convinced that the study group was destined to meet, Abed pieces together everyone's past -- revealing that their lives have always been intertwined; Chang tries to destroy Greendale once and for all.
|"Advanced Introduction to Finality"||May 9, 2013|
|Directed by: Victor Nelli, Jr. - Written by: Megan Ganz
Jeff achieves enough credits to graduate and contemplates graduation - and beyond. Meanwhile, the study group revisits the "darkest timeline".