"Six seasons and a movie"
Whether it's used as a catch phrase, call to arms, hashtag or Facebook group, it means one thing: Save Community.
The US sitcom, now entering its fourth season, has been under threat of the axe since half way through its first season.
Yet to its fans, those who appreciate the shows relentless genre-riffs, meta-comedy, inside jokes and actively crazy characters, it is a thing to be worshiped. A genuinely smart sitcom that refuses to do the same thing twice.
The TV comedy that those in TV like to watch. Were it not played on the NBC network, which has suffered in the ratings for some time, Community's numbers would never have justified four seasons - let alone two more and/or a movie - leaving fans to praise the network for its commitment (when they finally commit each season) whilst quietly hoping NBC's ratings struggles continue.
We sat down with Joel McHale and Gillian Jacobs, who play the not-exactly-qualified lawyer Jeff and rebel without a cause Britta, to talk Community.
Were you surprised by all of the "Save 'Community'" groups?
JM: What I was mostly surprised by was how attractive each and every one of our fans is.
GJ: Umm hmm.
JM: But I was surprised by how it kept going and caught fire. [Satirical news service] The Onion put out an article that had a review of our Christmas show, our Glee holiday episode, and a thing about how [the show] was going away and then there was a comments section. There have been thirty-one thousand comments since that article was posted in December. They ran an article about the comments and about how many there are. The closest thing they had to that was about two thousand comments.
GJ: Are you kidding me?
JM: That's insane and wonderful so our fans are like the Spartans. They're small but they will kill any large army.
GJ: Yeah. They are awesome. They're so creative. The lengths to which they went to, all on their own. I mean, it wasn't as though we were sending them directives like, "It would be great if you do this or that." They did it all on their own. They were tweeting advertisers who were advertising during our show. They were sending in black goatees to the network, having flash mobs, creating web sites, and twitter accounts to save our show. They are just relentless. They have way more energy than we do and we're so grateful for them.
JM: Without them, I don't know if we'd be back. With them, I think we are back earlier. Hopefully they will watch it when it runs but there's a disparity between the ratings and the people who watch it and when they watch it. During our Glee episode, there were six trending topics worldwide from the show while it was airing, so we showed them.
GJ: They will calculate the true reach of what that would mean in terms of the number of people who are tweeting about it and, ostensibly, the number watching our show and there's a disconnect in there somewhere and I don't know what it is that causes that.
JM: We like to believe there's a problem with the ratings system.
GJ: It's not us. It's the system.
JM: It makes us feel better about ourselves.
GJ: I feel like it's hard for [our fans] because, when they say, "What can we do?" I can't tell them anything concrete they can do to directly affect our ratings.
JM: I told them human sacrifice.
GJ: Well, the blood of human children will bring us back.
JM: Now that's inappropriate.
Do you write your own tweets?
JM: Gillian writes all my tweets.
JM: For Halloween, there were a lot of folks dressed as different characters from the show.
GJ: People will send us fan art that they made. They will draw us, which is usually of surprisingly high quality. It's like shockingly good. It's not amateurish at all.
JM: They'll take movie trailers, like Prometheus or Batman or the opening to Battlestar Galactica or whatever it is, and use all our footage and put it into it perfectly. It would take hours and days to make some of these things. With the Batman trailer, they matched peoples' mouths to some of the words from the trailer. It's incredible.
GJ: They're way better with computers than I am.
JM: Me, too. I'm still using the Coleco.
What do you enjoy most about working on this show?
JM: Other than Gillian? I mean, not Gillian.
GJ: Everything but me that you enjoy about the show.
JM: We pull very long hours on the show because, as you may or may not have noticed, it's a very ambitious show to shoot, so that means long hours. I really just enjoy hanging out alone in my trailer. No, I really enjoy hanging out with the cast. It would be a very difficult and hard place to work if nobody liked anybody.
It's a dream job.
GJ: I have to agree with Joel. Like he said, we work incredibly long hours and if we didn't like each other, it would be sheer misery. I know other shows where, it's not like they dislike each other, but they don't have fun with each other the way we do. The fact that you can be so tired, it's three am in the morning, you're on hour seventeen and you want to cry and then somebody will do something that makes you laugh so hard and suddenly you have all the energy in the world and you can keep going. It's really amazing to see people do that for each other on the show. You sort of see somebody dipping in the energy level and somebody else will be there to prop them back up and keep them going. You don't really see generosity like that too often. I don't know that we can do the show without it.
JM: We genuinely like each other, which is, I hear, weird.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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