The news broke Friday that Community was canceled by NBC after five miraculous seasons. There’s plenty to say about why this sucks (because it was a unique, stand-alone show that was always severely mistreated by its own network and it won’t be readily available on the television anymore), but there’s also plenty to say about why we should be glad it happened at all. Right now, however, we’re upset, so let’s borrow from the Kübler-Ross model to make our way through the five stages of cancellation grief.
1. Denial: Community was too good for TV anyway.
2. Anger, directed at TV in general, which sucks: In a world of basic entertainment for basic people, Community was everything the post-30 Rock TV-watching world desperately needed: a creative risk. This was a show that transcended traditional, linear (read: boring, predictable, stale) sitcom premises in favor of material and characters that resonated with people who are generally more interesting to talk to than people who still watch Bravo and CBS. That Community was allowed to happen at all is proof that there is hope and a place — albeit a fleeting one — for shows that dare to exist outside the box.
3. Bargaining: Another form of media could take Community under its wing the way Netflix did with Arrested Development (which only got three seasons). Maybe. #sixseasonsandamovie isn’t going to die so easily, right? (Back to denial.)
4. Depression: We don’t have to worry about NBC killing it anymore.
5. Acceptance: It could have devolved into serious suckage, you guys. We’ll never how close we came to some terrible, network-sanctioned child-prodigy-Cousin-Oliver character or horrible, melodramatic stunts that even the cleverness of Dan Harmon’s twisted mind couldn’t overcome. Remember the end of ER when every other episode was a Michael Bay movie and before that, when Anthony Edwards put everyone through the longest death in television history? Or when Joey suddenly fell in love with Rachel on Friends? Life is better this way. Community can live on in our memories as the perfect, weirdo little unicorn we always loved it for being. Save for season four.