I woke up this morning anxious. Maybe more giddiness. Or maybe it was actually anxious. Not anxious in that “I know my boss has totally been reading my messages between my co-workers and I” but more the first day of school anxious/giddy. You know, where you’re so excited so you sleep in the clothes you’re going to wear the following day because you think they look dope as hell and you want to impress the people in your dreams anxious/giddy. I can’t be the only one who’s done that, right? Right?! Anyway, I woke up anxious/giddy this morning and it’s a feeling that carried me through the entire day.
It has been close to five years since we’ve gotten new Community content. Five long years since the remaining characters of the Study Group envisioned their pitches for season seven. Five long years since we’ve had new Greendale adventures. Five long years that we’ve waited for Troy and Abed to reunite. Five long years without a movie. If the show’s arrival on Netflix has shown me anything, it’s how deeply I have missed my friends in Greendale. This latest re-watch, I’ve lost count of how many at this point, felt like coming home. A reunion with friends that felt entirely right under our current circumstances. I have a long personal history with Community, which I don’t see the need to re-hash here, but having this show during the pandemic was certainly something that has eased the blow of not being able to see friends and family outside of a Zoom chatroom.
While the pandemic has altered the way we live, it has given us a new world where there isn’t much to do but consume mass amounts of content in order to fill in the voids that have been created. And with this new world, a whole lot of eyeballs have landed on a show I love so passionately and am so very thankful for existing. Not to downplay the show’s newfound success at all, as the content speaks for itself, but it has certainly benefited from the times in which it was released to Netflix. Suddenly Community is getting recognition and love from a broader audience that it always deserved. It fills my heart with happiness seeing others become enamored with Greendale much like I did so many years ago when I watched the first disc on a laptop in my parent’s guest room trying not to laugh too hard in fear of waking them up. And because of this broader audience, the newfound love on Netflix, and the pandemic, we were given something special. A chance to see our friends one more time while we wait for that fabled movie.
The Community Table Read may be the reading of a script from season five but it feels like the first new Community content in five years and because of that, I was filled with the sleeping in my clothes the night before the first day of school anxious/giddiness. Sure, we already know the jokes that are coming but it doesn’t matter. What matters is the core cast, outside of Chevy Chase, under the leadership of Dan Harmon, reunited not only to tickle our nostalgia buttons and entertain us, but to give back. Teaming with World Central Kitchen and Frontline Foods, this table read is designed to help those in need. A table read that’s sole purpose is to give us a little laughter, a little love, and a little hope in a world that has quickly evolved into the darkest timeline.
And man did it deliver… and then some! Much like the Darkest Timeline Podcast reunion Zoom call, this table read was filled with allllll the feels. I’m not ashamed to say that I choked up… more than once if I’m being honest. So many emotions just building up and the tears start to dance in your eyes because you’re overwhelmed with just how happy this is making you. It felt like seeing my friends after five years of being apart. And while the adventure was something we’ve experienced before it still felt new and fresh. A large part of that is the addition of Pedro Pascal and his amazing reading of Mr. Stone. Watching as he experiences the script for the first time is a blast and leads to some legit belly laughs. With each joke that unfolds the laughs come harder but mostly it makes you really appreciate the brilliance of the show and just how masterful the writing truly was.
Most of all, it’s fun watching these actors slip so effortlessly back into these characters we know and love so well. There’s no mistaking these voices. When Joel McHale speaks, he’s Jeff Winger. When Allison Brie “awww’s” she’s Annie Edison. When Troy and Abed “are in mourning” it tugs on the heartstrings to see Donald Glover and Danny Pudi together again. Everyone just feels so right at home with these characters you seem to forget you’re watching a Zoom table reading with Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, and the rest of the crew but instead you’re watching Shirley, Britta, and the rest of the Study Group interact just like they’ve always had but under a new setting. A setting that you still believe saw Chang masturbate everywhere.
The table read plays as the ultimate celebration of what makes Community so damn special. And if you need further proof, the forty-minute Q&A session drives that point home. Hearing the cast and Dan Harmon speak so fondly on an experience that was special to them makes me love the show even more. Seeing the admiration and passion for their show, a show that was oftentimes on the bubble and misunderstood, is probably my biggest take away from all this. Community is a show that beat the odds time and time again. A show that survived losing its leader only for him to return. A show that got canceled and found new life on an internet streaming service. A show that has stood the test of time and is now getting the praise it has so rightfully deserved. It’s one thing to fall in love with characters and stories but to hear that the creators and actors feel just as patiently as you… well, that makes the bond even stronger.
If you’re looking for answers for when and if the movie is happening, you might be a little disappointed but I would argue that that’s not what today was about. Today was about giving back. Giving back to those in need and giving back to the fans. A thank you and a hug from the cast and creator of our favorite show. A moment in time where everyone can reflect and think fondly on how incredible this show really is. Community is a gift and getting this table read and Q&A only makes me appreciate this gift even more.
Thank you, Community. I’ll keep holding hope for the movie but for today, this was everything.