Why “Community” Season 5 Was So Wonderful, And Smart, And Amazing

Including some of the stuff you might have missed.

1. The fifth season of Community just came to a close and here is why it was so darn wonderful:

2. It was not afraid to address its own issues.

The fourth season — without Dan Harmon and some of the writers — was like a dish without its special ingredient. It was good, but you knew something was missing. In the first episode of the fifth season, appropriately titled “Repilot,” this issue is addressed almost immediately when we learn that there was a “gas leak” last year at the school, which helps explain why everything was a little… different.

However, this exchange between Jeff and Annie (in my opinion) is Harmon’s way of accepting some of the guilt, as well.

3. And was actually able to turn the story OF Community into storylines FOR Community.

The fifth season starts off with the crew coming back and forming a “Save Greendale Committee” in order to save the school from closing, which is a not-so-subtle nod to Community fans rallying to save the show from cancellation. And quite literally something the cast did, as well…

5. And it did so in heartfelt ways, like with Chevy Chase…

 

If you’re unfamiliar with the backstory of Chevy Chase and Community, the quick version is that he was difficult to work with and didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with the creative forces behind the show. Chevy’s character, Pierce Hawthorne, was prematurely written out of the show in Season 4, but brought back in the first episode of Season 5 as a holographic version of himself to deliver the following message:

“What I am allowed to discuss is Greendale. And I’ll say this: Don’t turn your back on it. Take it from a man with no legal right to be there. You’re in a special place. A crappy place, sure, but only because it gives crappy people a chance to sort themselves out.” —Holographic Pierce Hawthorne

(He was given an official goodbye in Episode 3 and Episode 4)

6. And Donald Glover.

Every single part of me wants this dialogue to actually be Dan Harmon speaking directly to Donald Glover. Before the season began, fans learned that Donald would be leaving the show to pursue his own dreams, and when Pierce gives Troy the opportunity to earn millions by sailing around the world and becoming his own man, I choose to believe it’s actually Dan giving Donald his well wishes.

And Pierce’s sailboat being called the “Childish Tycoon” — a nod to Donald Glover’s rap moniker, “Childish Gambino” — was such a nice touch.

8. While also giving us some unexpected insight into the characters, like Dean Pelton.

At the end of Episode 2, a French song begins to play accompanied by subtitles, which surprisingly give us a lovely little reveal about Dean Pelton: His thoughts are in French.

9. And Abed.

(Pilot episode)

(“Geothermal Escapism”)

11. Plus, it had some insane callbacks to previous seasons.

12. Like Pierce’s gift to Britta:

 

After Pierce dies, Britta inherits his iPod Nano, which is a callback to Season 1 “The Art of Discourse.”

13. And his gift to Annie:

 

After Pierce dies, Annie is given a tiara and informed that she was Pierce’s favorite, which is a callback to Season 2 when Pierce was in the hospital and said the same thing to Annie, bequeathing her a tiara.

14. Heck, even his gift to Jeff was a callback:

 

After Pierce dies, Jeff gets a fine bottle of scotch, which goes back to their first bonding experience in Episode 2 of Season 1.

15. And then there’s the “Ass Crack Bandit”:

 

In Episode 17 from Season 2, Annie pledges to stop the “Ass-Crack Bandit”… who comes back to terrorize the campus once more in Episode 3 of Season 5.

16. The bulletin board:

 

In Episode 2, the bulletin board in the cafeteria falls down when the students start protesting for “slightly higher grades!”… the same bulletin board Hickey and Annie set out to replace in “Analysis of Cork-Based Networking.”

17. The trophy case:

 

In Episode 6, the work ticket request for number 221 is “Downsize trophy case,” which is a callback to Episode 2 when Jeff returns to Greendale and admires the school’s Debate Team trophy — the only trophy in the case.

18. Hickey’s rope:

 

In “Basic Sandwich” Abed asks if anyone’s got rope, to which Hickey replies, “I’m offended by that question,” which is a callback to “VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing.”

19. The Hickey family knuckle knock:

 

This triple knuckle tap from “Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” is a callback to “Geothermal Escapism” and apparently a family tradition.

20. Dean Pelton’s wedding ring

 

In “Basic Story” Jeff finds a wedding ring in Dean Pelton’s office, which is a callback to the pilot episode when the dean can be seen wearing a wedding ring.

21. Hector The Well Endowed:

 

“Hector the Well Endowed” is a callback to the first Dungeons & Dragons episode when Abed says that he specifically created that character with Troy in mind. MY EMOTIONS!!

22. Queen Dean:

 

In Episode 6, Annie is shuffling through her binder and for a quick glance we see “You can call me Queen Dean” which is a callback to Episode 13 from Season 2 when Dean Pelton was dressed as a bee, and also likely a reference to Lorde’s lyrics “you can call me queen bee” from her song “Royals.”

23. Chang’s “GAAAY” call:

 

In episode “Cooperative Polygraphy,” after Jeff is asked “gaymurderersayswhat” and responds with “what?” Chang mouths his signature “gayyyy” call.

24. “My lady, my lord”:

 

This moment from the Season 5 finale is a callback to Season 1.

25. The callback to the callback:

 

(“Repilot” / “Pilot”)

26. And, of course, the return of LeVar Burton.

 

From Season 2’s “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking” episode.

27. But did you know that “Come Sail Away” by Styx…

28. … was also a callback to Season 1 when Troy asks, “Why am I crying? Would l accidentally listen to ‘Come Sail Away’ by Styx again?”

(“Debate 109”)

29. Not to mention that this season had some great subtle references.

30. Like Chang dressed as Rufio from Hook:

 

Also, the “locker boys” as the “lost boys” from Hook.

31. Starburns dressed as Zed from Zardoz:

 

32. ABC — Always Be Cageing:

 

A reference to Alec Baldwin’s “Always Be Closing” scene from Glengarry Glen Ross.

33. This scene…

34. … mimicking Se7en.

35. Abed’s sacrificial fall into hot lava…

36. … mimicking Ripley’s death in Alien 3.

37. This little shoutout to Reddit’s “Cake Day”:

“Your Reddit ‘Cake Day’ is the yearly anniversary of when you signed up on Reddit.
It is typically represented by a little cake icon which appears next to your username on Reddit, and if it’s your cake day, other Redditors tend to be more generous with their upvotes!” —Reddit

38. ALL OF THIS YELLING…

 

39. … as a reference to this scene from Leon The Professional.

40. And this advanced move…

41. …is taken from this infamous warrior:

42. And let’s not forget that the jokes were fantastic.

43. And at times hilariously bittersweet.

44. While also being completely honest and personal…

“Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” from Season 2 is widely considered one of the best Community episodes in the entire series. Doing another D&D episode was risky, but this line from Abed sums up why the writers and crew were up to the challenge.

45. … even in a not-so-obvious way.

 

Who is everyone really talking about here?

46. Because Community can be anything…

47. Like an ’80s cartoon.

48. A futuristic fantasy.

49. A David Fincher-esque thriller.

50. Or an extremely self-aware TV show.

51. Why? Because “Greendale is a crazy place where crazy things happen.”

52. And if you look hard enough, you’ll find that the crew put little personal touches all over this season.

The “Old Timey Photo Club” is Chang posing with the writers from Season 5.

53. Like Dan Harmon’s cartoon Rick and Morty making a very brief appearance.

54. Or Dan Harmon himself making a cameo as “Sleep Apnea” from the “GI Jeff” episode.

 

There’s a minor Tumblr blog dedicated to “Sleepy Harmon”.

55. Or the two writers of this episode acting as the guy playing the devil sticks in the talent show and the security guard with a fear of public speaking.

 

Jordan Blum and Parker Deay.

56. But most of all, Season 5 completed what it set out to do.

It saved “Greendale.”

57. While still leaving enough questions unanswered, giving room for #SixSeasonsAndAMovie.

From the bottom ticker: “BREAKING NEWS: LeVar Burton and non-celebrity companion captured by pirates in the Gulf of Mexico.”

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