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I just rewatched this Community episode -- 1x12, "Comparative Religion" -- last week. It's a great episode; the scene where Troy and Pierce try to teach Jeff how to fight is one of the funniest sequences of the first season, and the battle at the end between the study group and the fly-dancing bullies is wonderfully silly.
That second scene is set is set outdoors and is scored to the song "Kiss With a Fist" by Florence + the Machine, and when I watched it I was reminded me of how much more money COmmunity had during its first season than in the subsequent one. During the first season, they shot on location frequently and many episodes had commercial music on the score, including one -- the piano coda from "Layla" in "Contemporary American Poultry" -- that must have cost a fortune. By the second season, location shooting had all but vanished (except for one trip to the Universal backlot for the clip show) and Dan Harmon was paying for the rights to use Sara Bareilles's "Gravity" in the episode "Paradigms of Human Memory" out of his own pocket. Season three, they never left the studio and I can only remember three or four commercial songs all season, and in season four there weren't not even that many.
Earlier this year, I watched all four seasons of My Name Is Earl, and I couldn't help but be struck by the contrast between that show and Community in terms of their budget for exterior shots and especially for the music. Almost every episode featured multiple scenes shot outdoors, and the music ... man, the music. Earl routinely had music by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley, and The Eagles, among many others. Even in Community's first season, when commercial music was common, you rarely heard anything by acts as popular or well known as what you heard in the fourth season of Earl. Nothing against the Fratellis or Matt & Kim, but they're not exactly Queen or the Doobie Brothers. Sure, the second season Community episode "Epidemiology" had all those Abba songs, but according to the commentary track, that one episode ate up the music budget for the entire season.
Not that I should be surprised. Community's ratings have never been good, and it's kind of miraculous that it was ever renewed at all, much less four times, and I'd rather have the limited budget that Sony gives them go to the actors and writers than to rock stars. Nevertheless, it's grating.