Introduction to Episode Skipping
June 18, 2014 6:51 AM   Subscribe

I don't have a lot of TV watching time nowadays, so I'm behind on everything. I've only now caught up on the first three seasons of "Community." Having heard that the Dan-Harmonless season 4 was a disappointment, I plan to just skip ahead to season 5. Before I do, are there any Season 4 episodes that I should make a point of watching -- either because they are up there in quality with the first three seasons, or because they set up crucial plot points for the fifth?

PS: I'd be grateful if you could keep your answers a spoiler-free as possible.
posted by yankeefog to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
See "Herstory of Dance" and "Basic Human Anatomy," and skip the rest.
posted by kewb at 6:57 AM on June 18, 2014

Skip it all. Even the best episodes (which I would semi-agree with kewb on) felt like pale imitations of certain previous episodes.
posted by Etrigan at 7:00 AM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Paranormal Parentage was stupid but weird and silly enough to make up for it.
Intro to Felt Surrogacy had puppets and songs.

Seconding Herstory of Dance and Basic Human Anatomy.
posted by phunniemee at 7:00 AM on June 18, 2014

IMO all of season 4 is Community fan-fiction, and can be skipped. But like fan-fiction, you can enjoy it if you just want to spend more time in that world and are out of the "real" stuff.
posted by jbickers at 7:05 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think it's a given that everyone will hate season four and regret watching it. In that sense the hate is somewhat overrated - though some people might wish they could take back the time they wasted, it's not going to be a universal reaction.

So I actually wouldn't skip any of it unless you think the fact it's not up to snuff will actually annoy/upset you. At its worst, Community is still better than a lot of other stuff.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:11 AM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

For what its worth, I watched the first three seasons as they aired, skipped the fourth season entirely, and picked up on the fifth this year. I didn't feel like I missed anything.
posted by helloimjohnnycash at 7:13 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wrote up basically what Etrigan said, but didn't want to sound negative so I left without posting it. Watching through Season 3 gives you some good closure on a quality show. Season 5 is good by comparison to Season 4, which is fan-fic at best, but 5 rarely if ever fires on all cylinders the way the first 3 seasons did so often.
posted by gauche at 7:41 AM on June 18, 2014

4th season is weird. I think for a superfan it's worth watching, or studying.. It's fascinating to see the difference one man makes to the intangible soul of the show. They get a lot right, but it's clearly a simulacra; not the real thing. Episodes can be fun and quirky in a Communityesque way, but I think there's a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) darkness that Dan Harmon brings to the show that is very much absent in season 4.

Another reason to watch it is just to see how it sets up the events of season 5 and the maneuvering Dan Harmon has to do to put things back together again.
posted by j03 at 7:47 AM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Season 4 is still better than most of the dreck that's on TV these days. You'll appreciate Season 5 more by watching 4.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:56 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm rewatching season four right now. I remember being disappointed when it originally aired, but right now, the tone is a little bit off, but it's still far and away better than most television. I'd watch it. Also, there are some nods to things that happened in season five that you'd miss.
posted by General Malaise at 8:16 AM on June 18, 2014

Oh, and Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) wrote "Basic Human Anatomy," which is fun in and of itself.
posted by General Malaise at 8:19 AM on June 18, 2014

You know, if you like Community, you won't hate season 4. It's pretty weird in places, but I enjoyed the time I spent watching the episodes.

Go ahead, it's not like they're making any more of them.

Also, if you like the weird part of Community, check out Rick and Morty, which is a Dan Harmon cartoon. It's so strange, but SO good.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:21 AM on June 18, 2014

For the record, here are the top five season 4 episodes according to IMDB:
  1. Basic Human Anatomy (8.1)
  2. Heroic Origins (8.0)
  3. Herstory of Dance (7.9)
  4. Advanced Introduction to Finality (7.8)
  5. Paranormal Parentage (7.6)
Of these, I would say that you can probably stick with the top three. I'm also surprised that "Introduction to Felt Surrogacy" scored so low (6.9, the second-lowest rating for any Community episode) — I honestly thought it was pretty good.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:41 AM on June 18, 2014

If you're going to watch just one, I agree with "Herstory of Dance," partly because it introduces a character who is brought back in Season 5 and adds some chemistry to the mix.
posted by psoas at 8:50 AM on June 18, 2014

Thanks, everybody. Sounds like the consensus is that I should watch Basic Human Anatomy and Herstory of Dance, and possibly Intro to Felt Surragacy.

And one day when the kids are off to college and I have more free time, I will go back and give the whole season a try!
posted by yankeefog at 2:11 AM on June 19, 2014

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