Today marks the first day that Kristin and I are experimenting in a new style of writing and illustrating the comic. You may notice the change, you may not, but it’s there. This page was originally written some time ago, but it was literally re-written a week ago specifically for this week’s release with newly omitted/re-written lines, a new page layout and a similar but different outcome to the original scene. Things have been altered for your benefit, and we hope that the current one-page a week format suits you and your Control needs for the rest of this chapter. (When we get to that, we’ll see what happens next.)

Oh, and remember how I keep mentioning how music is important? Well, look at that last panel. That’s probably important. Oh, and what’s Jess doing? Huh. The tagline is “Music. ART. Magic.” Wonder if there is any possible connection to be made there?

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At any rate, I’ve written a lot about the upcoming change in process for Control, and I don’t want to write about it again/anymore right now.

On another line of thought, though, I should note something — I don’t have a blog. Sure, I occasionally write in here about random things and I do stuff over at that Multiversity Comics website I’m sure you all know about, but I don’t really have a place where I just word vomit random thoughts on my mind. (If I do, I don’t remember it.)

Because of that  (and, admittedly, the few drinks I’ve had and the late hour at which I’m writing this for release … whenever it comes out), I’m going to write about something that has been on mind lately: Community.

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume most of you have either watched or heard of this show. Created by Dan Harmon for NBC’s Thursday night line-up, it stars Joel McHale, Donald Glover, Chevy Chase, Allison Brie, Danny Pudi and others (it’s 3:00 AM as I write this, or I’d go to IMBD and find the names of who plays Britta and Shirley and am instead just writing about the idea of going to IMDB) who are in attendance at Greendale Community College. The show is a critically-acclaimed ratings bomb with a passionate fanbase, and for the longest time I’ve been an avid detractor of the show.

Allow me, if you will, to elaborate: when Community first aired, I didn’t find it very funny. In fact, I found it rather obnoxiously unfunny. With unlikable characters Jeff Winger, Britta Perry and Pierce Hawthorne, each episode was painful to sit through while I waited for Parks and Rec or 30 Rock to air, and after the Halloween episode with tributes to Batman and Oingo Boingo, I gave up even trying to watch it and just switched between NBC’s line-up and Big Bang Theory (an ongoing problem for Community, as I understand it). Really, I just couldn’t get behind a show with such excessively unlikable and arrogant characters, ones who had little to no endearing qualities and who often times stepped upon the few characters I thought were amusing like Abed and Troy (who, really, are the only two characters I like and have ever liked).

However, recently things have changed. Due to the amount of free time I currently have, I recently found myself playing Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (finally) only to have my game file corrupted halfway through playing. Distraught but not defeated, I restarted the game and found that mindlessly powering through the grind that is buying up Constantinople and assassinating people goes by much quicker when you watch something in the background. Since I couldn’t think of any other dumb show to watch in the background and my friend/MGA Study Hall co-writer Crit had been telling me about how good he thought the show was, I ended up watching Community.

I remember, in college, at one point I had nothing better to do than watching Scrubs DVDs that did not belong to me until I had caught up to the show’s fifth season premiere. By watching every episode in rapid fire order, I found myself quite endeared with a show I had previously had no positive opinions on, and now I’m a lifelong Scrubs fan who can even remember a single funny joke from the god awful experiment that was the ninth season (“Horse pajamas,” you guys). The reason I add this story in the middle of a different story is merely to illustrate my point: due to watching the show in rapid-fire succession, I now get why people like Community.

Now, don’t get me wrong. For all intents and purposes, Community is probably the third weakest show in the NBC line-up (The Office is dreadful now and has been for a while, and Up All Night is painful), but it has its moments. For starters, Troy and Abed are perhaps some of the best characters on TV (and their current war is heartbreaking), the background characters are often hysterical (Garrett!), and when the show is on, it’s on – the DnD episode is beautiful as well as the Yahtzee episode, and the three paintball episodes we’ve been given are just wonderful. The show is full of in-jokes and great background nods here and there that it is no surprise that Community has a thriving community surrounding it. This doesn’t excuse the repetitive nature of the show (for the first two seasons are full of episodes that are all basically the same — and the show knows it, as illustrated in “Paradigms of Human Memory” and all those memories) or the unlikable characters, but I suppose when you sit through every episode in a row and begin noticing the patterns and Dalmatians everywhere, the show does end up fairly endearing after all.

In addition to my new-found appreciation of the show, however, I’ve been doing a lot of investigation into the show — what reportedly works, what doesn’t, why other people don’t like, what the future of the show is… things like that. Most recently, there’s this whole fracas with Chevy Chase and Dan Harmon, with Harmon being a bit immature and Chase not being any better about it all. It’s a very interesting fight, in my opinion, because it basically plays up everything I don’t like about the show. I don’t really find Chevy Chase very funny, and apparently he hates Pierce Hawthorne and thinks the show is shit. To that same end, Dan Harmon and various producers find it difficult to work with Chase and the cast is basically mum about him outside of saying “Oh, he’s a legend!” when asked what it is like to work with him. How am I supposed to like a show when it’s “biggest name” is a major detractor of it’s content?

The show is close to getting renewed for a fourth season with the outlook looking very positive, and if it reaches a fourth season then the show can be put in syndication and, assumedly, not be consistently in the danger zone any longer. The general question, though, is if Chevy will be part of the continued future. He had an out in season two when Pierce “quit” the group — will he take it now?

I think the show could survive without him. Big Bang Theory is the show’s main competitor, and anyone who watches that show watches it for Sheldon now, and the producers of the show (along with shilling for DC Comics like nobody’s business) know that. Every episode is tailored to Sheldon and what quirky or inhuman thing he’ll do this week. If Community is to become generally more accessible (a major criticism by random nobodies who don’t like comedy shows with “dark overtones”), one would imagine the show would become tailored to Abed and/or Troy. Chase was brought on originally as a “name” for the show to rely on, but lord knows they don’t need it now. Chase is basically expendable at this point, and it is highly possible that we have the next Two and a Half Men/Chuck Lorre vs. Charlie Sheen on our hands. Pierce Hawthorne might just be hit by a random train and be replaced by a naked Ashton Kutcher!

I don’t know. I don’t have any answers, but I find it all interesting. Truth be told, I like lurking the Community subreddit and watching random Community clips on YouTube. The show is much better than I gave it credit for, and it is annoying that it isn’t on Netflix like the rest of those NBC shows so I can’t rewatch it. Still, I am very curious if it will make it to a fourth season — and if it does, who will survive and what will be left of them.

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This was, for all intents and purposes, pointless. It has no connection to the comic truthfully, and I highly doubt Community is something that will ever get a shoutout in our book. (It might, but it’s not bloody likely.) Yet, I needed an outlet for all this nonsense, and this was my place to do so. So… sorry.

-Matthew