by Benji Glowinsky
It is fair to say that New Year’s Day, January 1st, is many people’s favourite day of the year. This winter, I will be looking forward to the day following New Year’s Day, January 2nd, the day Greendale Community College’s doors re-open.
After Season Four of the NBC Sitcom Community ended, there were many doubts about potential for a fifth season. With Chevy Chase having officially dropped out of the show, and Season Four not being particularly up to par with Seasons One, Two, and Three, this writer was sceptical that we’d see the Greendale Seven Six return to our television screens for 2013-14.
Luckily, not only was Community renewed for another 13-episode season, but also Dan Harmon was reinstated as show-runner! On the flip side, we received the bad news that Donald Glover, aka Troy Barnes, would have a reduced role in Season Five (appearing in only five out of the thirteen episodes) in order to create, write, executive produce, and star in a new show for FX titled Atlanta.
Now, don’t break out the tissues just yet! While it is terrible that Troy won’t be joining us for a full semester at Greendale, a slew of guest stars have been signed on for this season. Breaking Bad star Jonathan Banks has signed on to play Annie’s criminology professor, and will be featured in eleven episodes this season! On top of that, Arrested Development ‘s David Cross will make a guest-appearance as Jonathan Banks character’s son.
We were also informed that Castle star Nathan Fillion would be guest starring as a janitor (not much else is known, but hey, it’s Nathan-freaking-Fillion). Other guest stars announced so far are Justified star Walter Goggins, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz, comedy duo Tim and Eric, and singer-songwriter Ben Folds.
You thought that was all didn’t you? Well, Community has even more in store for us. It is reported that we will see the return of four characters from Community’s past. Rob Corddry will return to Community for a third time as slime-ball lawyer Alan Conner. Alan was first introduced in Season Two as a lawyer at Jeff ‘s old law firm who shows up at Greendale for a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. We then see him again in the Season Three finale as the lawyer representing Pierce in a case against Shirley to settle who is the rightful owner of the sandwich shop. We can be sure that Alan will be involved with Jeff in some capacity in Season Five, with Jeff having graduated from Greendale and presumably searching for a job in law. Another character returning for Season Five is… LeVar Burton!?! LeVar Burton appeared in one of my favourite episodes of Community, “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking.” To refresh your memory, in this episode, Pierce is in the hospital from overdosing on painkillers, and uses his time in the hospital as an opportunity to take revenge on the study group whom he felt had been disrespecting him. He does so by bestowing parting gifts unto all of them, each designed for the sole purpose of messing with them. Pierce’s gift to Troy was a meet’n’greet with LeVar Burton, who Troy loves, but once they meet Tory freezes from being so Star-struck, and is unable to talk to LeVar.
As usual, hilarity ensues, and LeVar certainly put his stamp on that episode. There is no doubt in my mind that his return will revolve around Troy. Making her return to Community shortly after her debut is Rachel, the coat check girl, portrayed by Brie Larson. Rachel’s one and only appearance on Community was in the Season Four episode “Herstory of Dance,” when sparks flew between her and Abed. During this episode, Shirley and Annie separately set up Abed with dates for the Sadie Hawkins dance, and Abed decides to take both of them to the dance in order to try and pull off a television sitcom trope. Rachel, the coat check attendant for the dance, decides to help him in doing so. Abed accidentally hurts Rachel’s feelings during the night, and realizes that an attraction grew between them as the night went on. He apologizes with another television trope, publically apologizing and begging for her forgiveness. Rachel forgives Abed, and they agree to go on a date. The big question for Rachel going into Season Five is: Could Rachel be the girl Abed has been looking for, and will she become Abed’s first on-screen girlfriend?!?!? Only time will tell. The fourth and final returnee rumoured thus far for Season Five, and the one I am most anticipating, is the long-overdue return of Professor Ian Duncan. Duncan, portrayed by the hilarious John Oliver, was a recurring character on Community for much of Seasons One and Two as the therapist/psychology professor turned anthropology professor, but inexplicably disappeared for the following two seasons. Now, he has signed on for a six-episode arc in Season Five and I could not be giddier. Many things appeal to me about Duncan. His rivalry with Chang and his interesting relationship with Jeff are just a few examples. Needless to say, I’m excited for the homecoming of the Smart Car driving Brit.
The name of the first episode of this upcoming season is “Repilot,” and re-piloting is precisely what is happening with all the behind the scenes changes. Is it for better, or for worse? What are you most excited for this season on Community, or are you not excited at all? Leave your opinions in the comments below!