“One by one, they all just fade away…”
The Community study group contains some of the most endearing characters ever to grace a television (or computer) screen. They’re a tight bunch, a group of people who have forged connections and comforted each other through hard times and loved each other like they have never loved before. As we move into the final episode of season six, however, the main themes of the past few seasons are brought to the forefront: the difficulty of saying goodbye, the inevitability of change, people moving in and out of lives. In the end, staying together is something many people want to do, but the simple truth is that life may take you elsewhere. And that’s perfectly okay.
Moving on is just something we all have to do at various points in our lives, and it’s an idea emphasized throughout “Emotional Consequences”. The set-up for the episode is reminiscent of Remedial Chaos Theory, and it’s a fantastic way to both highlight who these characters are and where they’re going in the next chapters of their lives. As various pitches take form, we see each character shining through whatever may play out, and as the time ticks away at the bottom of the screen, those pitches lead into genuine human moments between characters we know and love. As people move on from Greendale–Elroy gets a job through LinkedIn, Abed is moving to work for FOX (maybe he can tell them that the 24 spinoff is a bad idea), Annie gets an internship at the FBI–there’s an air of finality around the study group. The common answer to “Are you coming back?” is “Maybe, probably, maybe…”, and that’s true to how life works. You go somewhere new, but you have no idea if you’re coming back to where you left; what matters is that you remember the people you connected with back there.
And as the characters hug each other and imagine a seventh season, we can see very clearly that they won’t forget the times they’ve shared. “It needs for it to be okay that it gets on a boat with LeVar Burton and never comes back,” Abed says about Troy, his voice wavering in one of the most poignant moments of the finale. Troy was someone who moved out of these characters’ lives a while back, but there’s no denying that he left an indelible mark on the study group. There’s no denying that Jeff will never forget Annie and Britta and Chang and Abed and Pierce and Dean and all the rest, even if his fantasy comes true and he’s “studying” with a bunch of redheads. The series began with Jeff wanting to get in and get out of Greendale, but it ends with him realizing that staying there is okay. People will move on, but this is where he belongs.
In addition, what the series accomplishes with Annie and Jeff in this episode is truly beautiful. The show doesn’t give a definitive answer to where they end up–which is good, because I don’t want to see Annie turning down an internship–and instead chooses to focus on one final scene between the two in the study room. “I want to have so much behind me that I don’t have to be a slave to what’s in front,” Annie says, and Jeff listens. Their relationship may be a little unconventional, especially for broadcast TV, but we can see how perfect they are for each other as they share a kiss. There are many possible endings to their storylines, just as there are many possible endings to all of these characters’ lives. What’s important is not that we try to predict where they’ll end up, but rather that we appreciate the time we got to spend with them. People may move in and out. People may grow apart from one another. However, people can also care for each other.
SEASON GRADE: B+
SERIES GRADE (?): B+/A-
-What show peaked after season six? The Shield.
-The song at the end is Lord Huron’s Ends of the Earth.
– “Isn’t the shape of your brain kind of fucked up?” Two uncensored f-bombs in this episode, both of which I loved. Broadcast TV, you can suck it.
– “I farted during the fourth one. It’s an inside joke.”
-Justin Roiland, the voice of both Rick and Morty, is the voice of Ice Cube Head in this episode.
– “As a humble outside who came in and nailed it…” Frankie, you’re awesome. Great job by Paget Brewster the whole season.
-There are a bunch of cast/crew IMDB profile links written on the white board behind Jeff and Annie during their final study room scene.
– “TV defeats its own purpose when it’s pushing an agenda, or trying to defeat other TV, or being proud or embarrassed of itself for existing. It’s TV. It’s comfort.”
-The poll below is self explanatory, but aside from that, I’m still treating this like a series finale until it’s confirmed otherwise. Favorite characters? Episodes? Season? Share below.
-And finally, here is the full transcript of the end disclaimer:
- Dice not included.
- Some assembly required.
- Lines between perception, desire, and reality may become blurred, redundant, or interchangeable.
- Characters may hook up with no regard for your emotional investment.
- Some episodes may be too conceptual to be funny, some too funny to be immersive, and some so immersive they still aren’t funny.
- Consistency between seasons may vary.
- Viewers may be measured by a secretive obsolete system based on selected participants keeping handwritten journals of what they watch.
- Show may be cancelled and moved to the internet where it turns out tens of millions were watching the whole time. (I hope this is true!) May not matter.
- Fake commercial may end with disclaimer gag which may descend into vain Chuck Lorre-esque rant by narcissistic creator.
- Creator may be unstable.
- Therapist may have told creator this is not how you make yourself a good person.
- Life may pass by while we ignore or mistreat those close to us.
- Those close to us may be those watching.
- Those people may want to know I love them, but I may be incapable of saying it.
- Contains pieces the size of a child’s esophagus.
Photo credit: Community, Yahoo Screen