Why Netflix is a Great Home for ‘Community’
The critically acclaimed sitcom already has a cult following. With its Netflix debut, could it become a pop culture mainstay like ‘The Office’?
Streaming has become the new syndication it seems, with television shows finding a second life through streaming sites. Sitcoms like The Office and Parks and Recreation are arguably more popular now than they were while airing, largely due to their accessibility on Netflix. And as much as I enjoy both of those shows, I can never bring them into conversation without also mentioning Community.
Community is centered around a group of seven misfits of different backgrounds that form a study group at the fictional Greendale College. Heartfelt, humorous, and clever, Community garnered a cult following during its run which grew slightly on Hulu, the show’s previous streaming home. Last week, however, the Dan Harmon-created sitcom was moved to Netflix worldwide. This could not be a better position for the sitcom.
Shows that have gone truly viral — Stranger Things, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and the recent Tiger King — all have one thing in common: a platform on Netflix. Sure, there are outliers such as Hulu’s A Handmaid’s Tale or Amazon’s Fleabag that are successful. But neither of those have gone truly viral or become a social media staple the same way that some of Netflix’s most popular shows have. Of course, the Disney+ original The Mandalorian made huge waves on social media, but it had the added benefit of being a Star Wars property, therefore having a rabid fanbase before the first episode even aired. That aside, Netflix seems to be the only streaming source that can produce viral, culturally impactful content.
This is why, as a fan of Community, the move to Netflix excites me. For years, I have felt like my favorite show was a secret, something only a few people knew about. Whenever I discovered that someone I knew was a Community fan, it was a welcome surprise. Now, it’s on the streaming service that can make shows burst into mainstream pop culture, and I can’t think of a show more deserving.
Since it’s debut, it’s been in the Top Ten Television shows on the service. In the past few days, I’ve already burned through season one (for what it probably the fifth or sixth time), and I can confirm: this is one of the greatest television shows of all time. It will have no issue finding an audience on Netflix.
Community boasts an incredible cast, the most prolific now being Donald Glover. Before Glover was an acclaimed, award-winning jack of all trades, he was Troy Barnes, the jock who learned to embrace his nerdy side. Glover’s immense talent was obvious even in the early seasons of the show; it’s no wonder he’s become a force of pop culture in recent years. With his massive appeal, people may tune in just to see more of Glover’s work.
Furthermore, two cast members — Joel McHale and Gillian Jacobs — have clout with Netflix subscribers already. McHale had his own comedy show on the site, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale. Granted, the show didn’t last long due to low viewership, but McHale has also been a guest judge on the popular series The Masked Singer with Community co-star Ken Jeong (who’s wildly popular film The Hangover was also recently made available on Netflix US).
Gillian Jacobs was also part of the popular Judd Apatow-produced comedy series Love, which ran three seasons on Netflix. Love wasn’t a massive show, but it had a solid fanbase that gave it more seasons than Netflix typically gives its original series. Jacobs may not be a household name, but there’s recognition and synergy that may serve the purpose of driving more Netflix subscribers to Jacobs’ breakthrough role.
I’ve laughed and cried with this show for years now. I discovered Community at a time that I was feeling aimless in life and didn’t know what my next step should be. Each character has their reasons for being at a community college with a less-than-stellar reputation, and all of them were going through the same thing I was in some sense. Everyone has had times in their life in which they feel a little lost, and the show understands that, all while being hilarious and witty. Community’s relatability is its biggest strength.
Community delivers the laughs in a fun, heartfelt, meta sitcom with a style all its own. There is simply nothing else like it on television. Through Netflix, I believe more people will discover the show and its popularity will grow. Community deserves its place among the greatest television shows of all time, and now, it’s in a great position to become a household name.