Dan Harmon’s Community is a series that has defied the odds from its very beginning. The show has battled low-ratings, Harmon’s firing and return in Seasons 4 & 5, cast issues, and more – only to keep coming back for a new season each time. The show even managed to live through a cancellation from NBC and recently premiered its sixth season this past Tuesday on Yahoo! Screen.
A lot of this has come from the dedication of its fans and the loyal following it has garnered during its time on the air – as well as the consistent quality of the series – but a lot of it can also be attributed to the undying support from the cast and crew to keep the show going.
Recently, Ken Jeong – who’s been with the show since it’s beginning – spoke to Variety about what it’s been like moving from NBC to Yahoo! Screen and if he’s still enjoying working on the show after six seasons:
“This has honestly been my favorite season out of all them because there’s a new lease on life. There’s a new freshness to it. We still have most importantly Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna and all the great writers from last year. Table reads are my favorite part of this whole experience for me. We get to read the scripts for the first time. It’s fun going to a Dan Harmon table read, to discover the words for the first time. The quality is still so sharp, after six seasons, after over 100 episodes. I’m just in awe of how Dan and the whole writing staff work. I’ve never been part of anything so consistently brilliant.”
He also talked about whether or not it feels different working with Yahoo! compared to NBC:
“It doesn’t feel like because we’re on Yahoo now, I can do ‘Hangover’ stuff and be nude. But we don’t have the same constraints. I’m not privy to any notes, but for me it feels like the respect of the vision of the show appears to be stronger than ever. I can’t say enough great things about Yahoo and (chief marketing officer) Kathy Savitt. She deserves all the credit for giving us more love than we have ever had, ever.”
How he felt when the show was cancelled:
“I was devastated. Not being able to be with your friends — that was the first thing that came to my mind. Words can’t express my love for everybody. When you’re working with your friends it doesn’t feel like it’s work. Of course in TV all things end, but I felt the show had gotten better last year. There were more quality stories to tell, and I’ve been proved right. We still have a lot more to offer. I’ve already had several moments this season personally for my character that are my favorite of the series.”
The relief that came when it was picked back up:
“I was ecstatic. I didn’t think it could be a possibility. You hear all the time, of course, the studio will shop it around. But as time went by, I assumed they’re passing. For us to come back is another miracle.
The show is full of miracles. I feel like we’re bucking the rules of television just by existing. I feel like we’re defying the rules of conventional TV. Any TV expert or agent or manager, no one would have predicted this. We’re a complete anomaly. It’s inspiring to me because nothing ever feels phoned in on this show, from the writing to the performances, as well as to our props department and our set decorator. I don’t think they get enough credit.”
He addressed the show’s cast changes:
“There’s always a character vacuum, absolutely. I definitely have missed them all. At the same time you’re also happy for them because they’re doing what makes them happy. Keith David and Paget Brewster have fit in like a glove from day one. There are some lines he says, he just has that gravitas. And Paget shot something yesterday that has been one of the funniest things I’ve seen all season.”
Finally, if he has any plans on ever leaving the series:
“I’ll never leave ‘Community,’ no matter what. You’re either a lifer or you’re not. I’ve just learned so much. If we come back, I’ve got so much to learn. This show has been a huge influence on me and what I’ve done in my other projects. On set on the second “Hangover” movie, Todd Phillips looked at me and said, “I don’t know what happened between the first two ‘Hangover’ movies, but you’ve just gotten better. You were kind of a newbie and you’re a pro now.” I’ve had no formal training in acting. This has been my school.”
The show has been a part of a new trend of series that are finding lives past their network beginnings. Shows like Longmire or The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt were shows that were either cancelled by their network or turned down by one and Community has survived perhaps longer than any other show on television right now.
The recent premiere of the sixth season is only even more proof that this show won’t quit until those involved do and it doesn’t look or sound like that will be any time soon. Jeong’s comments alone are proof enough that the those involved in the series are just as invested in continuing to be a part of it as those watching at home. Fans of the series can rest easy it seems for the first time in the show’s history because it looks like Community has found a new home – and it certainly looks like its planning on staying.
Community can be streamed every Tuesday on Yahoo! Screen.