Before you read any further, this post contains season 4 spoilers. There, you’ve been warned. The rest is up to you.
So, here’s a question for all you fellow Community fans out there. I’ve recently restarted watching the series despite having already seen every episode (several times!) for the simple reason that it is witty, clever, and just plain awesome.
That said, I have quite a few reservations about the fourth season. I am obviously not the first to point this out, as the internet has pretty much made it clear that if you are not Dan Harmon, don’t try to be Dan Harmon. Season 4 shows us the extent to which “posing,” as they say, can only ever steer you wrong.
But apart from the failings of wit and nuance, something about the fourth season has really been bugging me. In rewatching season 1, I came across a long-forgotten character in the current days of season 4… Ben Chang’s brother!!! Remember him? Rabbi Chang?!
So, Rabbi Chang appears in the season 1 episode, “Basic Genealogy.” Chang also mentions him in season 3. In the episode “Basic Impressionists,” Chang tells us that his brother got him freelance work as a security guard at a kid’s Bar Mitzvah.
Okay, so now that we’ve established that Chang has a brother who exists somewhere in the world, when this whole Changnesia thing takes place, does nobody notify him? When people begin to doubt whether there ever was a Chang, does nobody contact Rabbi Chang to put an end to these shenanigans? When Kevin ever so (un)convincingly tries to establish himself within the Greendale community, and since there is already doubt about Changnesia in the likes of Jeff, why doesn’t he, or the Dean for the matter, call the other Chang to tell him that his brother’s gone bat-shit-cray?
If I have somehow missed some revealing detail somewhere along the way that explains all of this, for the love of God, tell me what it is. If there are no such details, but this whole Rabbi Chang evasion makes sense in some way, also let me know.
However, operating on the idea that there is no such missed detail, that this shit doesn’t make sense, and that the season was simply poorly put together, I have to wonder to what extent this mess has to do with the lack of Dan Harmon’s presence and the meticulous care he put into constructing a coherent and cogent (and, of course, super quirky) narrative. I don’t know how much influence he had in how the fourth season was produced (though to my knowledge, that is very little to no influence), but I just don’t see this as something he would have let slip.
On that note, though, Dan Harmon is back! NBC has asked him to return, along with Chris McKenna, as executive producers for the fifth season! Read the full article on DH’s return here.
In any case, if you have answers to this Community conundrum, kindly share. Or share your season 4 frustrations! Either way, I’m all ears.