In the stellar “Community” episode “Remedial Chaos Theory,” Jeff rolls a six-sided die to determine which of the study group members will answer the door. The act, Abed notes, creates seven different time lines, each of which plays out during the episode. In the happiest time line, everyone but Jeff dances to the Police’s “Roxanne.” In the darkest, Pierce is killed, Annie is in a mental ward and Jeff loses an arm.
There’s actually an eighth, darker timeline: the one where “Community” no longer exists. On Monday, NBC announced it was pulling the series from its mid-season schedule. (“30 Rock” will take its 8:30 Thursday time slot in January; “Community’s” third season will finish sometime in 2012.)
For a show that’s struggled to gain viewers since it premiered in 2009, the decision makes sense. From a creative standpoint, it may mark the end of NBC as home to smart, daring, but little-watched comedies, and the beginning of NBC as home of safe, boring and slightly better-rated comedies.
“Community,” one of the boldest, oddest and most imaginative shows ever to air, has devoted entire episodes to paintball, stop-motion animation and Dungeons and Dragons. Freshman NBC comedy “Whitney” dresses up its star in sexy outfits, makes vagina jokes and — using a laugh track — tells you when it’s supposed to be funny.
“Community” isn’t dead yet, but it’s on life support. When it does return, savor it while you can — and encourage your friends to watch. With a few more viewers, “Community” could at least reach graduation.