Community makes its long awaited return to television Thursday night. The show made drastic changes in its off season ... including showrunner Dan Harmon no longer working on staff. On top of that, Chevy Chase, who played the grumpy Pierce Hawthorne, left the show in the midst of shooting the fourth season. With fans of the show worrying about what these two departures will mean for Community, writers of the sitcom took to Reddit for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) Wednesday night to give fans a glimpse of what to expect in season 4.
While some of the writers’ answers were deflections or jokey, they seemed excited about the success of the season. They implied that the show will be similar to when Harmon was in charge, some writers even acknowledged that they desired a Harmon-like feel to the show. They did, however, admit to things that will be missing. Here are five things that will be missing from season 4 of Community (not that Harmon could have done much to fix some of them):
Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are long gone. Not in Community’s world though. The writers expected their season to start in October, so they wrote holiday themed episodes. Once it was announced that the show would be held from the fall schedule, there wasn’t much to be done. Writer Tim Saccardo said: “It somehow makes sense that a show that pretty much disregards all the rules of television would air a Thanksgiving episode in March. Or at least that’s how I’ve personally lemonaded the lemons.”
2. Any reference to May 23rd:
In a season 1 episode, Jeff Winger claims that he has an “unmovable appointment” on May 23, 2013, at a fancy steakhouse to celebrate his graduation from Greendale Community College. Sadly, no reference to this date will be made. With the same issue as matching holiday episodes to their correct date, the writers were unaware that their finale would be airing anywhere near May 23rd, and by the time it was realized, it was too late for the show to do anything. Andy Bobrow said: “We will have to explain it away next season if there is one.”
3. An in-depth look at Community’s minor characters:
Magnitude, Leonard, and Starburns (R.I.P) are three of the show’s most popular minor characters. There was talk of devoting an entire episode where the study group is in the background of the episode while the minor characters took the spotlight. This, however, won't be happening in season 4. Saccardo said, “Somewhere I have like 60 pages of notes about this from when I thought this was the episode I’d be writing.”
4. Professor Ian Duncan:
Not quite a background character like Magnitude, and not quite a member of the study group like Troy or Abed, Professor Ian Duncan still brings hilarity to Community. According to writer Megan Ganz, however, John Oliver, who plays Duncan, won’t be appearing in season 4. Instead, he is, “on The Daily Show primarily, and there was a big election or something going on this year.”
5. A Series Finale Feel to the Season Finale:
Holding out hope for a fifth season, the writers decided not to go with their series ending finale they originally planned. Bobrow said: “Early on, we had this vision, a really heartfelt tearjerking montage that we knew we wanted to do if it was the season ender.” They realized that there may be a fifth season though, so, as Bobrow said, “we did not end up doing that tearjerker montage. But we did do a kickass finale. One that could be a very satisfying end to the whole journey, but one that also could just be the end of another year at Greendale.”
Season 4 begins Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC.