At the risk of sounding like I’m completely biased in this fight (which I am), those bastards at NBC are screwing us again. They’ve pulled Community from the mid-season schedule. While they say that the show hasn’t been cancelled, we can’t take this as an indication that the show won’t be cancelled. Industry insiders seem reasonably calm that the show will survive for another season because a fourth season will make it eligible to be syndicated which both NBC and Sony (Community’s studio) would benefit from.
I think it’s time we launch a pre-emptive strike to save one of the best shows on television. After all, similar fan campaigns have saved shows like Friday Night Lights. However, this needs a multi-pronged attack in order to ensure that our voices are heard. Phase One of our campaign to save Community is called Occupy.
Why am I leading off with this? Because one of the biggest and most overhyped broadcasts of the NBC season is when the tree outside their headquarters is lit up. The event includes a concert and interviews shown live on NBC. The lighting and concert are open to the public and take place from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
I don’t know if signs are permitted at the lighting event like at the Today Show but you could always try signs supporting Community. What I know you can get away with is dressing like Community characters. The idea is to find something meme-ish and run with that. I’d recommend what’s already sweeping the internet and go with the evil timeline goatee. If that’s not quite your speed, although it should because it’s the generally accepted Community support symbol, I do have two alternatives. You could show up dressed as the Greendale Human Being in a grey body suit with a blue G on the front. The other is get yourself a pair of starburns. Only one character on TV has starburns and he belongs to our cause so you’d definitely stick out.
Bonus points to the tree decorator if you can get some sort of Community-related message on the side of the tree opposite the building where the NBC camera is. NBC’s camera for the lighting and to show the tree at the end of Nightly News historically has 30 Rock in the background of the shot. So getting a message facing away from the building but towards the camera will have maximum impact. Something like a goatee shape with the lights might help. A giant G (for Greendale) or C (for Community) shape, maybe. I’m really not sure what else we can do with the tree but it’s a good platform to get a message out on.
Let’s face it, The Today Show is really just a low-rent version of Troy And Abed In The Morning. Sure, it’s long and has a bigger audience and budget, but it’s nowhere near as entertaining to watch as Troy And Abed. There are similarities that we can exploit, though.
First, get in the audience with Troy and Abed signs. When the Today Show crew goes outside for part of their show, the audience is clearly visible behind them like you would see on Troy and Abed In the Morning. The hosts will even point out and/or read interesting signs that are in the crowd. Even if Troy and Abed signs are in the background, they will be noticed by fellow Human Beings.
If you think that general Community support signs would be better, just show up with a sign that says something like “Watch Community! Thursday @ 8:00 #Community.” Or maybe an “#AnniesBoobs” sign. Failing those, you should consider flying the Greendale Community College flag (E Pluribus Anus).
Second, like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, the Human Beings need to be visible. So we’re going to recycle the two ideas to make you stand out in the crowd. So you can dress up with your Evil Troy and Evil Abed black goatee. As I mentioned before, you’ve got to wear something that makes you stand out as a Community fan.
Based on my Twitter feed, I think that all or a significant portion of Community viewers have a Twitter account. That makes this part of Occupy the easiest since you’re already going to be there.
We need to get Community to trend every Thursday. The reason why I need to address this is because no one can seem to agree on what the correct Community hashtag is. Checking the @NBCCommunity account and the accounts of the actors, you quickly find a slight discrepancy. Sometimes it’s #Community and sometimes it’s #NBCCommunity. Since it looks like #Community is more common, we should all band together to talk about watching #Community on Twitter. Tweet constantly about #Community on Thursdays and don’t forget to follow @NBCCommunity to get @NBC‘s attention that we love this.
One surefire way to get Community to trend is to make a deal with the devil. The most powerful man on Twitter, bar none, is @JustinBieber. I’m not a fan of his music. I don’t like his fans. But at the end of the day, the most influential man on Twitter is Bieber and the one group that can get #Community to trend is the Beliebers. I don’t like the idea of begging Bieber for help any more than anyone else but desperate times call for desperate measures. Bieber is the most powerful ally that we can get in the Occupy Twitter portion of the cause so we need to get him on our side to ensure success of this phase.
If we’re going to Occupy in support of Community, we may as well go to the quasi-inspirational source. Therefore, we have to get the message into actual community colleges. Although, don’t feel obligated to limit this part of the movement to community colleges. You can do this at any educational institution that you attend/visit/work at.
Part one of this is signage. Community posters should be on every bulletin board across campus. I’ve gone through enough campuses and enough buildings to know that there are bulletin boards all over the place. Print off some posters, buy some thumb tacks and go through campus one evening or night and put up your posters. It’s a little more expensive than the rest of my ideas but it’s still cheaper than mass buying of Subway foot-longs on Monday nights in support of Chuck (though if Community ever gets a product placement sponsor, we’ll support them 100%).
The second part of Occupy Community Colleges is public address announcements. Now, the likelihood of a college or university having announcements over a public address system is probably slim. However, if you have access to a public address system, all your announcements should start and end by singing “Troy and Abed in the morning.” Not everyone may get it but if you put up some Troy and Abed signs that point people towards Community, it just might work.
And third, build a blanket fort. The most often recurring setting for Community seems to be the blanket fort. So if you live in a dorm at a college or university, commandeer your floor or building’s common room and build a blanket fort (building one in the hall would be cool but would likely be torn down immediately as a fire hazard). Your blanket fort would immediately be both the most popular place to hangout on the floor and the best place to have a Community viewing party. Stream the episodes off the NBC website or buy the DVDs and watch the show with your floor. And watch on Thursday night at 8:00 PM. That would be important too.
Get Occupy Noticed
All these ideas are well and good but you have to get these things noticed. Not everyone will clue into what the goatees and signs and blanket forts are in support of. That’s why you have to leverage all of social media and not just Twitter. Spread the word across all of your social media platforms. Post pictures or stories on Facebook and tag NBC and Community or just post pictures directly onto their fan pages. Tweet pictures with the #Community hashtag and mention @NBCCommunity. Get this stuff up on Tumblr and Google Plus. Basically, get everything you can that’s Community related, whether it’s your own pictures or screen shots of Occupy moments, online so NBC can hear us.
If you want to have a bit more personal contact with NBC higher-ups, they have email and surveys to get their attention. You can take a viewer opinion survey that you can take (though I haven’t been able to get it to work from start to finish). Or you can just send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d recommend sending them pictures and links and other general support for Community to show them that you’re made as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore.