Over the past few days, countless internet sources, such as ars Technica, have been buzzing about the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Netflix reboot announced several days ago featuring stars such as Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day, but very few people have been talking about what some readers may find to be the most interesting aspect of the announcement, the return to TV of writers Dan Harmon and Joel McHale after the cult classic sitcom Community.
Community ran for six seasons, and although the show took a slight dip in quality during much of its second half, Community is remembered still as one of the best sitcoms in recent memory. A large part of Community‘s success, agree many series overviews, such as this one from AV Club, was due to the very smart writing by Harmon and McHale, the latter of whom also starred in Community.
Basically, McHale helped to head up the writing of the show and was generally responsible for a lot of the snappy one-liners and pithy observations that make watching Community such an intellectual experience. Harmon would not touch the scripts until after they were finished, but WIRED reports he would go through every one of them and make adjustments here and there to give them each his own “unique voice” – in other words, the signature feel of Community.
The result was a thing of beauty — understated but lightning-quick Community comedy that played around with language, basic psychology, and common sense. Community‘s writing always kept the audience entertained and on their proverbial toes. The writing was so smart, in fact, that it alienated much of pop culture and kept Community from being the gigantic commercial success it likely could have been had the writers dumbed the show down. The fact that the lofty level of Community‘s writing persisted gained the show a lot of respect and earned it the aforementioned cult following, but it also led to a lot of difficulty involving funding and an end to Community after six seasons.
Since Community‘s series finale on June 2, 2015, fans have been expressing the loss they feel. Reddit user TheBlackbird54 says that “there is a Community-sized hole in [his] heart,” and that is the same sentiment voiced by countless other Community-lovers.
I was putting this off as long as possible but I just watched the Community finale and now, I feel empty. :((((( pic.twitter.com/emObt2viLU— JO•MA•RI (@JomariEvan) September 29, 2015
What with Harmon and McHale, two of the primary men responsible for the signature wit that made Community so loved, being slated for Mystery Science Theater 3000, is that Community-sized hole about to be filled again?
The answer may very well be yes, especially since Netflix is not tied to a network and has shown in the past with hit Community-level “smart” shows like Orange is the New Black that it does not feel the need to dumb down its original shows to be commercially appealing. Which sounds perfect for Harmon and McHale, because it will allow them to run free with the intellectual aspect of their writing even more so than when Community was being broadcast on NBC.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 is certainly an excellent opportunity to showcase Harmon and McHale’s Community-style brand of fast-paced, pithy jab comedy, as it consists almost entirely of characters watching old movies and making snappy remarks about the often cheesy or cliche action going down onscreen. Think of it like the classic Community episode where Troy, Abed, and a few friends sit down to make fun of the movie Kick-Puncher… except stretched into a whole series, and with non-Community characters.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 pic.twitter.com/utIqSyblPT— Killer Kitsch (@killer_kitsch) July 3, 2016
The point is, the legions of Community fans that just haven’t been able to rest easy in the year plus since the series ended finally have something to look forward to again. And no, I’m not talking about the long-heralded Community movie that Harmon guarantees will happen eventually, according to /Film. No, I’m talking about Mystery Science Theater 3000, which may double as a revival of Community‘s signature brand of comedy.
[Photo by John Shearer/Invision for Sony Pictures Television/AP Images]