Start your hashtag campaign, nerds: Community is finally, totally, 100 percent over, like for real this time, no joking, quit asking – at least according to series star Joel McHale. The show recently(ish) wrapped up its sixth season on Yahoo! Screen, after spending five tumultuous years at NBC.
In an interview with Metro Weekly, McHale is pretty straightforward when they ask him whether Community will return to Yahoo for a seventh season:
No. They wanted to. But all of our contracts were up after six years. All the actors on the show, almost without exception — their stock has risen significantly and it’s out of the pay rate that is affordable to make the show. So you’re not going to be able to get Alison Brie or Gillian Jacobs at a normal television salary anymore. There is just not enough money to be able to pay for the show.
It’s a fair point; Community put most of the stars of that show on the map, including McHale, who before then was mostly known as that guy who hosts The Soup. Now the world knows those actors and comedians are talented, which in turn means more power for them when it comes to salary negotiations.
The story of Community might be one of the strangest in television history. The critically-acclaimed – if perpetually low-rated – sitcom debuted in 2009 and, under the guiding hand of series creator Dan Harmon, proved to be one of the quirkiest comedies on NBC, the heir apparent to The Office and 30 Rock. The show – which managed to leaven its quirk with a surprising amount of genuine heart – enjoyed three years of critical darling-dom before Harmon’s contentious relationship with NBC led to the network axing him and installing new showrunners in his place, much to fans’ chagrin. After a much-hated fourth season – which really wasn’t as bad as everyone remembers it, if we’re being honest – Harmon was brought back for a fifth season. NBC canceled the show after that year, though, which led to Yahoo picking it up for the most recent stretch of episodes, though by that point several members of the original cast had departed. Community has lived most of its life on the bubble, essentially – which in recent years has led to the fandom rallying around the hashtag #SixSeasonsAndAMovie, inspired by a third season episode (which in turn was re-appropriated for an end-of-season joke when Harmon was pretty sure he was gonna get canceled, so take that as you will). When Yahoo stepped in, fans thought that quote-unquote prophecy might actually be fulfilled or, better yet, that the show might continue for a few seasons more. Alas, McHale’s comments seem to put the kibosh on that.
Of course, at the end of the day this is just McHale talking, not Harmon or a Yahoo exec – and as McHale himself notes, Yahoo wants more, so it’s entirely possible a deal could be worked out that would allow the show to return in some way. That said, the possibly-apocryphal story among fandom is that McHale was instrumental in getting Harmon re-hired for the show’s fifth season, so his words carry some extra weight here.
Look – if we’re being real here, I can’t bring myself to get too worked up over this. Shows end. And Community has lived a far longer life than anyone would have expected – or, arguably, that it deserved. If we’re being honest, despite some really solid-to-great episodes, the show was never totally able to recapture what made it so special before Harmon got the axe – if you compare the first three seasons to the last three, there’s a marked difference in quality even when Harmon is back in the chair. At some point one has to accept that they’re not so much rallying to save a show they like as much as they’re fighting against the inevitable passage of time and their paralyzing fear of mortality. So maybe it’s time just to let Community go, yeah? Nothing lasts forever.
And hey, nerds. We got six seasons. We could still get that movie, too.