Customer Reviews: Community Season 4
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on March 30, 2013
I watched the last episode of Community and sensed something was definitely "off". Then I read these reviews and discovered NBC had gotten rid of Dan Harmon. What a shame; Community was just taking off. People were just discovering this brilliant original show and its talented cast. I still love the cast, but the actors can't shine the way they did. It's still a nice show, but it's not the Community it was under Harmon. I hope it gets better.
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on April 28, 2013
Without Dan Harmon at the helm, a lot of fans worried that the show would deteriorate into the tired old sitcom tropes that the new showrunners have been a party to in the past on their less-unconventional series.

That hasn't happened--but what has happened has got me wondering if maybe taking a more conventional approach would have been a way to revitalize Community. Rather than go their own way, the new team have done their best to replicate Harmon's madcap energy and it just feels...not quite right. It's like when Aykroyd and John Goodman tried to recapture the magic of "The Blues Brothers." That movie was, objectively, pretty funny but as you watched it, it just FELT terrible.

That's how it is here; in their attempts to maintain continuity with the Community of old, the new guys are failing to do the thing they're MOST responsible for: Making the best show they can make with the talent and resources at hand.
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on June 30, 2013
The lack of creator Dan Harmon shows in every moment of season 4. It's hard to quantify really, but the mistakes this season makes are the same so many fan fiction writers make. The writing doesn't have the same grasp of the themes of the show and lacks the grounding that makes the show so great. In the commentaries on the previous season DVDs, Harmon repeatedly points out that they write the outline for what story they want to tell, and then work out the jokes and cute meta twists they'll take on after. Season 4 seemed to focus on the fan service first, then wrote stories around that.
All that said, Community features the best cast of comedians on television. Between the cast and supporting cast, a writer would have to go out of their way to come up with a script that would not be funny in their hands. If you take comparisons to other seasons out of your evaluation, season 4 remains one of the funniest sitcoms out there. I am however extremely excited that Dan Harmon will be returning for the show's 5th season and we can look back on season 4 as the Minerva of Community seasons.
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on August 19, 2013
Is it as good as the first 3 seasons? No, of course not. Dan Harmon is the heart of the show. But still the smartest, funniest show on TV. On their worst day they are still the best comedy since Seinfeld. This is a must buy and I cannot wait until the series is released on bluray
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on July 20, 2013
Community remains to be my favorite TV sitcom in recent years. I love its mix of witty humor, pop culture references, invested and well thought out characters. As some may know already, Dan Harmon, the creator of the show was abruptly dismissed from any more contributions to the show as NBC was unimpressed by the ratings the show received. The backlash from NBC got to Dan Harmon's head and he stepped down from his beloved series before the series would be set up for an inevitable cancellation. To his surprise, the show was picked up for a fourth season but this time NBC would have more creative input.

Season 4 was mediocre at best, with hints and splashes of greatness in between. The first 3 seasons had a distinct narrative that never lost its step, even though each season had a different feel (with season 3 being the most experimental). But without the creative input of Dan Harmon, the show simply lost the magic it had during its previous seasons. The jokes were redundant and predictable, there were way too many running gags that felt forced, and the concepts of each episode (while had a lot of potential) fell unbelievably short. The reason why the show fell from grace is not only because of Dan Harmon's absence, but also the departure of his frequent collaborators that left the same time Harmon left. The Russo Brothers directed just about 70% of the past Community episodes and their stylistic choices are incredibly missed when watching Season 4. Some of the writers from past seasons stayed, but again, without Dan Harmon's input, it felt like the writers ideas were based on past material rather than creating entirely fresh ones.

Every episode (while had great ideas) rushed everything possible. The conversations between characters felt convoluted as if they weren't having a real conversation at all and the stories quickly pan out to the next scene without letting the viewers absorb everything. There are some episodes that I thoroughly enjoyed. "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relationship" in which Jeff's dad was introduced for the first time was actually well executed, but could've used more refining in spots. "Intro to Felt Surrogacy" with the musical puppets was entertaining and fun. And I particularly loved "Basic Human Anatomy" where Troy and Abed switched bodies while Troy was internalizing his new love relationship with Britta, and the wonderful Jim Rash who plays the Dean in the show actually wrote that episode. "Heroic Origins" was also an interesting episode that showed all of the characters past and how they coincidentally intertwined with one another.

But there are a lot of disappointments for community fans that it just becomes depressing to think about. The holiday themed episodes such as the Halloween and Christmas episodes didn't match up to any of the past Community holiday specials. They lacked a message and they lacked originality. The inspector space time convention episode was just a waste of an episode in my opinion. The season finale was decent enough, but not the way I would've imagined Jeff to leave Greendale. There were just way too many filler episodes that lacked the fun and smart writing that past seasons had and its just depressing to know that Dan Harmon could've ended his show with a bang with the 4th season. *Dan Harmon originally wanted Community to run for 4 seasons to parallel the 4 years of college a student would have to attend in order to obtain a degree, in this case Jeff Winger receiving his Bachelors degree and going back to being a lawyer. But thanks to the condensed 13-episode season and lack of belief and cooperation from NBC depriving Dan Harmon to fulfill his goals, we are just forced to live with this mess of a season that could've been great. There were so many storylines that were taken away from Dan Harmon to write himself such as Jeff meeting his dad, the graduation of Jeff, the relationship between Troy and Britta and even the direction of Chang's character that Dan Harmon could've executed way better; not to mention better episodes in general.

Optimistically there will be a Season 5 and Dan Harmon has returned to being the front show-runner again. However Chevy Chase who played Pierce will not be returning to the show, and recently announced, Donald Glover who plays Troy (arguably my favorite character on the show) will have a limited role of only 5 episodes.... With so much going against it, hopefully Dan Harmon could do some damage control and revitalize his show back to its glory days and at least give Community fans something to look forward to.
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on January 21, 2014
I always buy a random TV series or two on black friday in hopes of finding my next favorite, and this one definitely fit the part. I don't know why I always avoided it but I can't stop watching it now. Definitely worth seeing!
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on October 25, 2013
I agree with the other reviewers who said this season felt off. The show became less about the school, classes and how the various relationships revolved around those and more about the offbeat "specialty" episodes. What made the original paintball episode so great was that is came out of nowhere and was still tied to the school story. Every year after that, they tried to one up what happened before to the point where many episodes became less and less believable.

That said, the show still has its entertaining points. The puppet episode, while it fell within what I described above, was funny, and it would have been perfect had they not followed up with the alternate universe story or had the haunted house episode earlier. Malcolm McDowell as the cranky history teacher was one thing that worked very well this season, but unfortunately he was not around enough. The ensemble cast is still very good, but will take a hit into the 5th season with the departures of Chevy Chase and Donald Glover. It will be interesting to see where the show goes now that Dan Harmon is back as the show runner. Hopefully it will return to the season one and two version of the show which were pure genius.
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on December 2, 2013
We love Community and have all the seasons now. If you have not seen this hilarious show, we highly recommend it. It is quirky at times, but it is hard NOT to fall in love with the characters (even the darkness that is Pierce, who redeems himself in this season). Also, the paintball, holidays, and Dungeons and Dragons episodes are so hilarious my wife and I still laugh out loud when we watch them even though we've seen them at least 30 times by now, if not more! Start with Season One, and work your way up-- you won't be disappointed!
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on March 28, 2016
I think this season is pretty underrated. It's not as good as 1-3 or 6, but it's still solid, funny, and recognizably Community. The episode Basic Human Anatomy is one of the best stories the series ever told, in my opinion--a truly inspired use of the body-swap plot device that also allowed two brilliant actors to play each other. They call it "the gas leak year," but it's probably a lot better than you remember it. Worth watching again, now that you're not actively annoyed about the behind-the-scenes issues.
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on February 24, 2014
No, it wasn't as good as the previous seasons but at this point, I'm in too deep to stop the collection. It wasn't bad, it was just, different. I'm not exactly a "Harmonite" but it was easy to see that something was off in this season and the easiest explanation was that Harmon wasn't there running things. Even in an off year it was still one of the better sitcoms on TV, in my opinion. If you have started you Community collection, there's nothing so off putting about season four to make it unworthy of being a part of it.
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