Zero wrote:So Season 4 was obviously missing Dan Harmon, but what I was really missing for me was the heart of the characters. My favourite episodes are Mixology Certification (Troy's 21st) and Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas (Claymation) because they really do well at getting the characters' insides out on display. This year the only times I've got that was Troy and Britta's break-up via Abed. It was Abed being there for Troy in a way only Abed ever could be and I was really moved by the idea of it.
On the other hand the finale was a great time to show Jeff afraid of how much he's changed but really all we got was a deeply unfunny reference to something the fanbase really latched onto: The Darkest Timeline. (DT Annie is amazing though.) That sums up my problem pretty nicely. The show has coasted by on referential humour since day one but season four has had Community referring far more to itself than to anything else. The Inspector Spacetime convention would not have been so bad, but it wasn't funny. I don't wanna get bogged down in examples of times the season wasn't funny, because that would just be listing the episodes.
Chevy was barely present this year, and that's a shame but after seeing how they handled Gilbert I'm not too dissatisfied. His leaving the show was totally glossed over though, and if we hadn't known it was coming the finale barely clued us into it. Also barely present were Leonard, Todd, Neil, Vicky, Chang, Garret and pretty much the whole supporting cast. Greendale felt like a very quiet place for most of the year.
I liked almost every scene the Dean was in though.
I thought the Jeff and his dad stuff was well-done and appropriately emotional.
I agree with a lot of your criticisms about this Season, but I feel like most of them applied to, if not the show as a whole, but at least Season 3, which had a lot of problems with towards the back-end. Yes, it was self-referential in Season 4, but it was always self-referential, going back to the second Paintball storyline.
I just don't see why so many people are criticising Season 4 for doing just what Season 3 did. It's probably due to the lack of Harmon, but my feelings on the Cult Of Harmon are well known, and I think that, whilst Harmon seemed to be losing it by the end of his tenure, it's only now that Guarascio and Port are getting the hang of things, the last 3 or 4 episodes have actually been really good. It seems like people have a problem with fan-service because it's not coming from one specific person.
I'd like to see a Season 5, I'd like to see what the show is like now that the new guys have had a year to see what works for them.