Community‘s Problem With Chevy Chase

Is there really a problem, though? Diva antics and self-righteous stars who complain or scoff about their network shows aren’t a new thing. Are we truly living in a world where a Charlie Sheen bit of mimicry or lunacy could very well threaten to end a television series?

Some would have you believe so.

By now we all know about the feud going on over at Community between comic Chevy Chase and show creator Dan Harmon. Chase, who’s been vocal about not liking certain scenes on the hit show, stormed off set before shooting his last scene of the season finale. Harmon taunted Chase at the show’s wrap party blasting everyone in attendance, even Chevy’s wife and daughter, with a rendition of “Fuck you, Chevy!” An angry Chase left a vitriolic, hilarious, profanity laced voice mail on Harmon’s phone which was leaked online.

Prior to all the antics, Chase sat down with the Huffington Post and detailed his displeasure with some of the show’s writing, and that it wouldn’t surprise him if he wasn’t around on the show much longer.

All of this acrimony, which is described as well-known behind the scenes fodder and not atypical for television, has caused a sort of panic amongst Community fans. After the epic freakout when the show was shelved for several months, some are concerned that this latest bit of hullabaloo will put the show in jeopardy for a fourth season. Even going so far as admonishing the media for covering the story just in case the NBC execs are reading every comment made by random internet users as a baseline in their decision-making.

This seems unlikely. For one, with the show’s return, Community has easily slid into second place after The Office on the often struggling network. That being said, it would be a very, incredibly stupid move for NBC to cancel the series after the outpouring of support it garnered, which is showing up in the ratings now. NBC has many a quandary, but whether or not Community is a success isn’t one of them. Not even a blistering voice mail from Chevy Chase or some sort of meltdown that happened between him and the creator off screen should cause NBC much pause in continuing. Despite their attempt to shove Whitney down our throats, there’s really no stopping the Community train for the foreseeable future.

Yet, we can’t speak on a fifth season. NBC is trying desperately to find lightening in a bottle by discovering that next big thing with their fall 2012 offerings. Vulture reports that shows helmed by big names such as Roseanne, Sarah Silverman, and Dane Cook, if turned into successful sitcoms, could make NBC question the necessity for continuing with the crew from Greendale, especially if any of these shows are able to do some decent numbers, or even better, find some sort of untapped niche. However, we’re going to go out on a limb and say if that niche includes Dane Cook, we’ve entered some sort of hell dimension.

Worst case scenario, if you want to call it that, is the firing of Chevy Chase at the end of this season. Let’s be honest here, would it be terrible if “Pierce” hitched a ride to Peru and never returned? Probably not. Mostly, when the show aired in 2009, Chase was set to be the veteran, the one recognizable name and bit of old comedic guard that could lend some “sitcom chops” to the freshman show. It could be said that he’s served his purpose. He’s never really been seen as a much beloved character like a Troy & Abed, or a Jeff & Everybody Else, right? He’s been a strange kind of character, odious and insulting, an oddball and a bit of a mess. Not that we don’t appreciate it, but well, we don’t really need it. He isn’t like “The Dean” who steals every scene he’s given. He’s just the kind of character that if he were to walk into the big bus of sitcom deaths the gags could be pretty endless, and oh, won’t it be fun watching the show look for a replacement?! Think of all the guest stars! Personally I’m hoping for an Alan Thicke/Ben Savage breakdance off. Okay, not really.

It’s probably safe to say that Community will be fine with or without Chevy Chase — but a shake up may be a great thing for a show that has so many eyeballs tuning in every week. Chevy, it may be time for you to move on, you know, dust off all your Fletch disguises, that sort of thing.

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