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The Boob Tube

Happy Halloween! Community Got the Lowest Ratings in Its Demographic Ever Last Night

Even die-hard Community fans weren’t feeling optimistic about this spring’s season of Community, which lacks the guiding hand of Dan Harmon after his firing and was pushed back from an October premiere date at the last minute. Which is precisely why the show’s Halloween episode “Paranormal Parentage” aired last night, on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is not historically a day when the television industry gets a lot of consumer attention (unlike, say, the restaurant industry). But still: “Paranormal Parentage” dropped 42 percent from last week’s series premiere. From Entertainment Weekly:

But Thursday’s second episode fell through the floor –  2.7 million viewers and a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49. That’s down 42 percent from last week to post the show’s lowest-rating ever in the demo.

The premiere episode did better than most had predicted, considering that the show’s core fanbase is basically in a state of exhausted apathy after the firing of the show runner, the delayed premiere, and other drama behind the scenes. Community fans, does this drop align with your opinion of the new season? Were you not watching last night because you don’t like the new season, or because you had a smoking hot date?

Or DVR. That’s also a good reason not to watch.

(via Entertainment Weekly.)

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  • Kim Krzebiot

    I had an organic chemistry test to study for…

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t like the first episode at all and it had me seriously worried about the quality of this season, especially since I read critics say that the 3rd episode is one of the worst the show ever put up. Last night, I liked though. Not one of the best ever but if they can produce episode this good every few weeks, they can count on me to watch the show.
    That said, NBC handled the show in such a way this season that it’s hard to think the show will come back. Quality was the only thing the show had going for it and firing Dan Harmon might just have created a situation where the show is easier to cancel.

  • Betty Windsor

    I watched it with my Valentine, and it was sort of a terrible episode (for Community) that is. It was centered like a typical sitcom episode, but with the cast of Community instead. I think everyone…actually had a group hug at the end. Feels like it.

  • Hannah Starke

    I was at a concert, but now I feel unreasonably guilty for not watching.

  • Grahame Turner

    A lot of the die-hards may have been out doing (or ignoring) Valentine’s-related things last night… So, it could just be that.
    Although I should probably watch it before I judge.

  • Corey Regalado

    Went out dancing last night. I don’t feel apologetic. I caught the episode streaming before I went out (west coast, so I saw it a little earlier than 8PM). It was a pretty bad episode IMO, and the worst Halloween one yet. Plus, Annie’s Samara costume seems passe since J-horror hasn’t been popular in the west in years.

  • Deceleration Waltz

    I had a date… but I’ll watch it soon. Ugh, this season isn’t shaping up very well.

  • m.s.

    After last weeks laugh track filled stink fest honestly I don’t see why anyone would want to stick around to see how the season went. Personally I avoided last nights episode to see how everyone else in the world took it bc I didn’t want to sit through another week of crap, perhaps all the other fans did the same/everyone else felt last weeks episodes death march and have already given up?

  • Anonymous

    What, in my opinion, could have also effected the ratings, especially for people watching it “live” was that since it was the Halloween episode some might have thought it was a rerun.

  • Mordicai

    Wait, so delaying a show by a year & publically humiliating the show creator/show runner actually has CONSEQUENCES?

    I’m just sorry that the actors & the writers— who I hold blameless— are caught in the middle of this network mismanagement.

  • Hannele Kormano

    Haven’t watched yet, but *tell me* they don’t actually have a laugh track now (excepting Abed augmentation).

  • Anonymous

    It was Abed augmentation. I thought it was funny.

  • DemonicPIty

    I watched it on Hulu Plus. Do they even bother to keep track of viewership outside of nielsen ratings? I canceled my cable subscription five months ago and just go with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon prime. It’s hella cheaper.

  • m.s.

    I found it REALLY off putting even though it was meant to be in his head as his “ideal TV show”. I’m not sure if it had more to do with the show opening with it or how out of place it was for a show that never has laugh track, but either way it set a tone for the whole episode that pretty much ruined it for me no matter if anything after it was funny.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I liked it at first because it seemed like they were making fun of the Big Bang Theory, and hey, I like that. But (speaking of the premiere ep now, as I haven’t seen last night’s yet) it did get tiresome after a while.

  • Jonny Rice

    Nielsen research does bother with DVR viewings within 3 days and 7 days of the initial air date. After that, no. Hulu viewings use separate advertisements — so networks are privy to those numbers, but they aren’t tracked by Nielsen. (Those ads are supposedly cheaper than live TV however, so networks would MUCH rather you watch the show live because that’s where the money still is.)

  • Anonymous

    I watched because of the writer Megan Ganz, this episode was much better and closer to old Community than the premiere which was trash. I do not think the rest of the season will be as good as this episode which still had some problems, primarily with the visual look of he series. It is being shot and lighted differently.

  • Anonymous

    there was not a laugh track last night, that was in the crappy season premiere.

  • Anonymous

    I just figured that the second episode would be delayed 5 months as well

  • Anonymous

    It seems like the network has been trying to get rid of Community for a long time. They want something simpler (dumber) to get as many numbers as possible. But hey knew that if they simply canceled it they would give them a bad rep. So fire Dan Harmon and have it rot from the inside. So “oh well we have no choice but to cancel it! Look at the numbers!”. All one giant conspiracy that would make Professor Professorson proud.

  • TKS

    This season seems to be “Zombie Community.” It looks like Community, it sounds like Community, but it doesn’t have the heart or brains of Community.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, the reality is that Community has struggled in the ratings area since its first episode. It’s smart, quick, and very referential of pop culture – everything the much more popular Big Bang Theory is not. So of course it was going to struggle – that’s the sad reality of broadcast television. Moving time slots, the public feud with Harmon, and the long layoff hasn’t done much for the possibility of a ratings rebound. I don’t think the past two episodes have been much different from previous eps, but the tide has turned against the show and I guess the cool thing to do is act like it’s become complete crap. I, however, will watch the final few episodes and thank NBC for supporting the show for as long as it did; other networks may well have cancelled it during its first season. Yay, optimism.

  • Sean Burford

    Good. Better a quick death. This isn’t Community anymore

  • Sean Burford

    NBC never supported Community, they only kept it going because it was one of their only critical darlings (Parks & Rec being the other, as at the time 30 ROck had fallen off) but now that it is a genuinely bad show, the fan support will plummet and NBC can finally be rid of it… It’s almost like this was all part of a plan.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Y’know, I really can’t imagine that these ratings are anywhere near as accurate a depiction of who’s watching what anymore. Seems like these days, you’d have to give it a week and see how many people check it out on hulu as well. Because I work thursday nights, dangit.

  • Amy W

    Exactly! I work Thursday nights too. (I felt like I was one of the only people who was actually looking FORWARD to the proposed Friday night rescheduling last fall). And it WAS Valentine’s Day– it’s possible that WAS an excuse for people to DVR or check out online later and spend the evening out on a date instead. (Nobody showed up to the library program I ran last night, either, though loads are signed up for next week, same time).

  • Richard Grant

    I honestly don’t get the intense hate that some fans have heaped on the first episode of Season 4…it wasn’t the greatest episode, but if Dan Harmon hadn’t been fired most fans would probably call it a fairly solid return!
    (Andy Bobrow, who wrote the premier, has actually written more episodes of the show than Dan Harmon, who only wrote 4.)
    This second episode was even stronger (and had some of the emotional moments that were missing in the premier) and was written by Megan Ganz (who has written some of the series strongest episodes.)
    Just because Dan Harmon is gone, doesn’t mean the show is lacking writers who understand the program (he was a huge influence on the direction and style of the program, but wrote a relatively small number of actual episodes)

  • Infophile

    At least here in Canada, it’s up against The Big Bang Theory, and so I had to make a choice between the two. Community won out and got recorded (so I can pay more attention to it), but that probably doesn’t help its ratings.

  • Anonymous

    Two things really bothered me about AbedTV one is that it doesn’t strike me as a his idea of a safe place you could argue that he was raised in three camera laugh track sitcoms but he’s a pop culture obsessive like the fans of the show and would see those 80s and 90s shows as corny now so it felt like a cheap joke trying to capitalism and the jokes that fans came up with when they found out the show-runners were G & P from shows like Just Shoot Me. The other problem I had was that it wasn’t a very well constructed joke, the tone and subject of the lines in the AbedTV bits felt the same as the rest of the episode which was at least trying to be like the Harmon years, so it didn’t even work as parody or satire. The message that I got from it was that bobrow and the writers left were saying Community has always been lazy reference humor and dumb one-liners and the only difference between it and shows like Big Band Theory is the laugh track.

    It was bad enough I’m not watching any new episodes.

    Also was I the only one who noticed the season three finale ended with the music the Pilot started with? That still stuns me because the music is so similar to the youtuber that Leonard’s reviews are parodying.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for showing us that you have no idea what ‘show runner’ means.

  • Richard Grant

    Actually I was commenting on the way a fair few comments I’ve seen act as if the loss of Dan Harmon has seen a 100% change in the creative team, when in actual fact most of the same creative staff remain on the show (with some exceptions like the Russo brothers who are directing the new Captain America film.)
    While Dan Harmon was obviously highly involved in all aspects of Community, as an actual Screen-Writer he took a relatively hands off approach to the show…he would have come up with all the main story and character arcs but left majority of the episodes to be written by other screen-writers.
    (Compare the number of episodes Damon Lindelof wrote in Lost, Joss Whedon wrote on Buffy, Steven Moffat writes on Doctor Who or how many DB Weiss and David Benioff write on Game of Thrones to the number of episodes Dan Harmon wrote on Community.)

    There is no doubt Dan Harmon deserves all the praise he gets for Community, but it is insulting to other writer’s who have worked on the series to suggest that Community only works with his voice (especially a writer like Megan Ganz, who wrote Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking amongst others.)

    The biggest change, and where Harmon’s absence will be felt more clearly, is in the over-all series story arc (and a character arcs), which have only been hinted at in these first two episodes

  • MattNat

    I watched it and liked it. Both episodes this year have been perfectly fine, though I do miss Dan Harmon as show lead. The cast is still fantastic.

  • Lady Viridis

    I…. I honestly forgot that it was on. >_>; I don’t have cable anyway so I can’t watch it when it airs, I have to wait for it to go up on Hulu and such, but even so, I just keep forgetting that they’re actually airing new episodes, since we had to wait forever for the season to start.

  • Anonymous

    By “never supported” you mean green-lighting the show, putting up with a few seasons of poor ratings while continuously attempting to draw attention to the show, and giving it another half season to do something spectacularly unlikely in order to warrant a continuation? C’mon now, I know blaming the big networks for every show’s failures is the popular thing to do nowadays but the reality is that Community’s ratings were never good, and the show – no matter how entertaining – was lucky to get as many eps as it did. Or would you rather NBC had cancelled it three episodes into its run when it had lost a third of its viewers? Or after the first season when it dropped to just over half its initial ratings? Sometimes we have to be grateful that we even get shows like Community, Firefly, or Last Resort at all because shows with great concepts, casts, and execution are few and far between these days.

  • Sean Burford

    You might have missed my point a bit, Greg. NBC “supported” Community because, despite low ratings, it was one of only three comedies on the whole network that were receiving positive reviews, they kept trying to parlay that into ratings by getting Harmon to accomodate mainstream sensibilities, which he not only refused, but challenged on air with very little subterfuge in the dialogue. Harmon wasn’t perfect, and in fact before Community I didn’t really appreciate him (Sarh Silverman program never really clicked with me) but NBC’s only support in Community was forced at best, especially when 30 Rock’s quality dipped, and considering none of their shows were receiving good ratings, they had no choice but to support Community and Parks. Parks worked out because Greg Daniels is more of an Al Jean type, he can challenge the system, but doesn’t antagonize and is familiar with NBC’s workings after years on the Office, but Harmon was a real foot-down-type artist, which has never been a great character trait when dealing with Network Executives.

  • Anonymous

    It’s like the show is being run by dean-o-gangers or doppledeaners.

  • Anonymous

    The show has defiantly lost the sharp edge of comedy it used to have. It’s become…ahhgg predictable and normal. Hate saying that, this was one my favorite shows ever.

  • Anonymous

    EXACTLY! The hearts and brains are gone, it’s going through the motions, really sad to see it end like this. :(

  • Chris Miller

    The actors know their characters well enough to make the characters work as likeable and familiar. But if this was season 1 I’d probably not be a fan. It’s like watching the simpsons. You’ve grown to love the characters and their familiarity and it’s not boring by any means but the laughs just aren’t there anymore.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I don’t think Hulu views count toward official ratings numbers, though, which really sucks. Networks have gotta get it together with regards to online viewing.

  • TKS

    Thank you. If it’s one thing I needed to do tonight, it’s sing songs from “Once More With Feeling” in my head.

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t feel much like Community any more, does it? Still a decent show, and I’ll watch the rest (but since I’m watching online that doesn’t count). The writing can still be sharp (I liked ‘I remember when this show used to be about a Community College’). But it is missing the strong story/identity it used to have. The writers still attached are talented, but I guess it was Harmon that was the guiding light on making Community what it was. Quel supreeeese.