I explained I was excited to see the cover of the most recent issue of 77 Square, Madison's weekly arts newspaper because Community is my favorite TV show. She said, "I don't think I've heard of that."
After rehearsal, a fellow choir member asked me if I was going to the Dan Harmon live podcast at the Majestic Theater next week. I said I was, and that I had bought my ticket the day they went on sale. Another member standing nearby said she didn't know who Dan Harmon was, and when we explained that he was the creator of the TV show Community, she said, "I don't think I've heard of that."
Now, I post stuff about Community on Facebook pretty frequently, and they usually collect a modest number of likes and the occasional comment, commensurate with the show's popularity. But it hadn't really occurred to me before that last night that it's not just not widely watched, it's also not widely heard of.
But of course it isn't! A fundamental part of being a Community fan is feeling frustrated about how little attention the show gets, even from — especially from — its own network. NBC's seeming reluctance to publicize the show is odd from any perspective, bust especially from that of a fan of other cult TV shows. Neither Melrose Place nor Buffy the Vampire Slayer ever got great ratings, but they got a lot of love and promotional attention from their networks. Likewise Doctor Who; back in the old days, the various PBS affiliates lavished love on the series and its fans, and BBC America is doing the same now for the new series.
Not so Community. It gets low ratings, and it gets a lot of nothing from NBC. Nor has the network been particularly proactive in reaching out to the fandom, which is small but fanatically, insanely, rabidly devoted. As my Twitter pal @brittsterrit once said, "Community has the only fandom that gets excited when the channel that airs the show airs a single promo." And it's true! That's partly because of the aforementioned devotion, but it's because NBC so seldom promotes the show that we're consistently surprised when they do. These Tweets are all from this last Sunday, when a Community promo aired during the Golden Globes:
@tvmcgee nope it happened the NBC promo department has to be playing a joke no way they actually promoted Community— Señoritas b Shoppin (@AgentX_007) January 11, 2013
ok guys, biggest shocker of tonight: that Community promo— steve hershberger (@Naive_Steve) January 14, 2013
@yvettenbrown my twitter feed exploded with people shouting "COMMUNITY PROMO!!"— Julieta Colás (@jujujulieta) January 14, 2013
So it was in that light that I got so very excited when I saw that issue of 77 Square yesterday morning. Recognition of my beloved, sadly neglected show! It was so thrilling I didn't even mind they used a super-old first-season promotional photo. (In fairness to 77 Square, their only other choice would have been to use a slightly less old season-two photo. Unsurprisingly, NBC hasn't shot new cast photos since then, even though they've added another series regular since then.)
But who knows? Maybe the promo that aired on Sunday night wasn't an anomaly. Maybe it heralds a new era at NBC, one in which Community finally gets the attention and respect it deserves from its network, and goes on to become the most popular sitcom on TV. I'm not going to hold my breath, though.