Sony fired COMMUNITY show creator/heart-and-soul Dan Harmon following the end of season 3 because he was apparently difficult to deal with and because they were convinced the vast majority of viewers wouldn't notice the change since network executives think their audiences are morons.
If you think this is the show many of us fell in love with, then the executives were right.
I have been saying for months that at best the show without Dan Harmon should be called CINACO (Community in name and characters only). I also promised to take 50 points away from any episode rating because the show minus its main voice doesn't deserve those points.
This isn't the show Dan Harmon created. This is some fan-fiction version of it.
Thing is, you can't replace the madness that was Dan Harmon's tireless drive to make something unique and edgy, though new show runners Moses Port and David Guarascio have sure tried to deliver something they think Harmon might have done. Thing is, Dan wouldn't have done this because he would have thought it wouldn't play.
And it is a shame because these actors and characters deserve better material. A better show runner.
Dan Effin' Harmon!
Sure, as an episode it wasn't completely terrible if one pretends the show hasn't done much better --in fact, every episode that preceded this one was superior. Yet some things worked a bit, like Abed's show-before-a-live-audience version of reality with Fred Willard as Pierce. Or the line about Taco Bell and the war on terror:
Abed: All of our wishes come true. Last year Troy wished we got Bin Laden and the Dorito taco.The meta jokes about things changing were also appropriate and did feel like something Harmon would have enjoyed using had he not watched the essence of his creation raped by marauding studio fools. And while I am not a fan of Britta and Troy's relationship, their fight and Troy's "Why does this feel good" worked.
Troy: Yeah but Obama got credit for both.
Unfortunately, the rest didn't work as well. The whole Hunger Deans bit was a tired wannabe version of the paintball episodes with none of the effort. Annie's backtracking on her emotional growth away from Jeff made no sense. Annie and Shirley's dean punking? Weak. Plus Pierce's attempt to find a ball joke, which could have worked if used once, just withered away in the less than capable editing hands of these new pair of clown-shoes.
If I had to rate this episode, and Dan's essence says I don't, I'd give it:
78 - (50 Harmon points)
= 28 out of 100
So far, not so good. And based on what critics who have seen followup episodes have said, this was one of the better early ones.