Community should try to tone down content

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I was disappointed when NBC announced that Community will be going on an extended hiatus during the midseason. However, as much as I love Community, I can understand why NBC is having doubts about the show and why Community has thus far had a pretty low viewership.

Community is one of those shows that I enjoy more the second time I watch it. Episodes are too crazy for me to swallow in one viewing. It’s only when I re-watch the episode that I can appreciate all the humor and subtle character moments.

Community tends to put its funniest and most poignant scenes right in the middle of its most absurd scenarios, but these moments truly are gems when you reach them. Scenes like the anime sequence in last week’s “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism” are not only hilarious but also surprisingly organic, and they show how the craziness furthers the story and character development.

I love the craziness for the sake of craziness, but I’m pretty sure that’s just me being weird. Most viewers just want humor and character moments from a sitcom, and while some craziness can add a little spice, it shouldn’t make the show too difficult to swallow in a single serving.

For the typical once-a-week sitcom viewer, episodes like “Masonic Myths and Ancient Peoples” might seem weird on the first viewing — then next week, the show will have moved on to another crazy episode. There’s no chance for a second viewing, and the viewer might wonder whether watching Community is his most efficient use of this time slot.

Relative to Community, sitcoms like Glee or Big Bang Theory are predictable and clichéd, but that predictability has its charm. I can watch an episode of Glee and get into the music, laugh at the clever writing, and appreciate the emotional moments all in one sitting, because I’m not always worried that something crazy is going to happen.

The third season of Community is trying to tone down the absurdity while still keeping the humor and emotion. This is a step in the right direction, but the show still has a long way to go. For starters, the surreal second season has given Community a reputation for craziness that will be pretty hard to shake off. But even last week’s “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism,” which held off on the wacky anime sequence until the very end, still required a second viewing for me to see how the entire episode had been building up to this sequence and then how the anime brought the episode to a satisfying and touching resolution.

Hopefully the show’s hiatus will serve as a short time out to learn how not to use parodies of Charlie Kauffman in “Masonic Myths and Ancient Peoples” to explore a character’s psyche. And hopefully, the hiatus will be just be that: a short time out.