Why The Community Table Read Should Leave You Cautiously Optimistic

This whole quarantine thing has been a bit surreal, he said as quite the understatement. As we speak, I’ve just completed my second month working from home. My beard is full. My hair is long and unruly. I’ve fallen in love with headbands. And I’m more or less swearing off real pants going forward. Who needs them? There’s no question that quarantine has been quite the adjustment for all of us. Many of the things we love have been put on hold like characters in hypersleep. Whether it’s movies, television shows, concerts, or comic books, we’ve all had to find new content to entertain us in our moments of need. Luckily we live in a world where the content we love has tried to give back while we anxiously await the release of the next Fast and the Furious movie. I can’t believe we have to wait a year to see John Cena as Dom’s brother. A year

Throughout this quarantine, a number of shows have gotten together, via Zoom technology, for charity to give back. To provide us with a bit of nostalgia, a bit of humor, an escape, and a whole lot of love. It’s been wonderful seeing all these casts come together to unite us and their fandoms. The halting of productions has lead to everyone’s schedule being pretty much wide open thus allowing for some truly special moments. Look at John Krasinski, through his delightful Some Good News program, as he reunited the original cast of Hamilton to perform for someone who was unable to see the show. The casts of Big Mouth and Chuck have reunited for table reads of existing episodes providing a great deal of fun. Whether it was watching Nick Kroll effortlessly weave in and out of character voices or just seeing all of the Chuck cast together again celebrating a super underrated show, you couldn’t help but feel the love and excitement for these stories and characters. 

There’s no doubt that the Parks and Rec reunion episode, an actual new episode, was the Coup De Grace of all the Zooming reunions. Putting together an episode that tackled the pandemic head-on while expanding the universe all while providing a hug we so desperately needed in the moment. This should have been impossible. Yet, they pulled it off masterfully. Is it the greatest episode of Parks and Rec ever? No, but it wasn’t trying to be. It was trying to give us an escape. It was trying to give us that reassurance that we’re not alone through characters we know, love, and have missed. The mission was fully accomplished and hands down one of the best things to come out of quarantine. That and the omission of pants with buttons. No, I will not let this go. It’s heaven. Heaven.

But it seems that they’ve saved the best table read for most recent. I can’t say that it will be the last because, you know, #pandemiclife. It was announced yesterday through Variety that the cast of Community would be reuniting on May 18th to do a table read of “Cooperative Polygraphy”, an episode that you may recall made the I Am Geek Top Ten Community Episodes list. Check it out, it’s there along with nine other amazing episodes. But beyond that, this table read would be including the entire cast which means yes, Donald Glover will be present. 

Now, you know me. I tend to get excited about things, he said again understating greatly. I’m much like Abed in that sense, I just like liking things. I may have been overcome with a great deal of emotion learning that the cast and Dan Harmon would be doing this. It’s for a tremendous cause, aiding both World Central Kitchen and Frontline Foods, but it also gives hope to the fabled Community movie.

Listen, I’m no stranger to getting worked up about the possibility of seeing #sixseasonsandamovie come true. I read way too into the Russo Brothers using a Community soundbite for their SDCC retrospective panel. I’ve believed that Netflix picking up the show was the first true step to seeing this movie come to life. Come on, they filmed an entire Breaking Bad movie in secret! A Community movie has to be a given at this point, right? My one hang-up with the film though was it had to include Troy Barnes. Donald Glover’s Troy was the heart and soul of Community and his absence impacted the show going forward. In no way am I saying that seasons five and six aren’t worth watching because Glover leaves, in fact, I would say season five is one of my all-time favorites and season six is quite wonderful. But his departure alters the show and its characters. I think in order to do a Community movie justice you need that closure with Troy. Especially if you take into account Abed’s incredible speech about television in the finale. Community, the characters, and its fans deserve that.

The problem is, Donald Glover is crazy busy. He’s also a man that likes to move forward. He’s Childish Gambino music career is coming to an end because he enjoys endings despite being at the height of his powers. If the Community movie was to actually happen it seemed that Glover would be the toughest cast member to sign up. Honestly, I would’ve been happy with a five-minute appearance. Just to see Troy and Abed do their handshake one more time as tears hopefully streamed down my non-quarantine beard. The whole movie could be centered around the quest for Troy and a misdirect that we’d never see him only for him to appear at the very end. It would be very Community and an excellent payoff. I’ve spent more time than I’m willing to admit stressing over a possible film without Troy as well as possible plots. It just seemed like the most likely avenue and it made me sad. It’s with that in mind that the importance of Glover’s return for this table read can’t be understated.

Look at the episode they chose. “Cooperative Polygraphy” is the episode where we learn that Troy is leaving the group. This is a very specific episode choice. Wouldn’t it be kind of poetic and perfectly bookend the character’s arc by learning that Glover would be in for a movie? Think about it, this table read is going to end in a Q&A session, and I don’t know if you’ve thumbed through the questions like I have, but many of them involve the movie and/or Donald’s involvement. And sure, they can vet the questions as this will be pre-taped but the whole time it’ll be the elephant in the room. I’m not saying that they’re going to announce a Community movie at this table read, although I am secretly saying that to myself and to my wife who I’m sure is tired of hearing about this, but doesn’t it seem possible? Doesn’t it seem that we can start to get some clarity on whether or not it will actually happen? Doesn’t it seem that we’ll finally learn if Donald Glover would be willing to return to this universe to give it the send-off it deserves? 

Donald Glover’s return here is huge. Even if it doesn’t lead to a movie it’s just wonderful seeing him reunite with this cast. To see Community feel whole again. Whether or not a movie stems off it is yet to be seen but I’m hopeful. I’m stupidly hopeful in fact. I don’t want to be. I wish I could just enjoy this moment without getting myself worked up but ever since Community dropped on Netflix the show has been getting the love it has always deserved. Constantly in Netflix’s Top Ten shows. Constantly in the Top Ten most popular shows on IMDB. And now the return of Donald Glover. If there was ever a time it would be now. 


What do you think Geeklings? Am I reading too much into this table read (again) or am I on to something? Are you happy to see the cast reunite? Sound off in the comments below. If you’d like to talk more Community with yours truly you can find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. 

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