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Oh, That’s (Not) Nice: Yvette Nicole Brown Leaves Community

Is this the darkest timeline?

shirley community

When Community comes back for its sixth season on Yahoo!, Shirley Bennett won’t be coming with it.

The reason isn’t of the Chevy Chase variety, ie “I really wanted to punch Dan Harmon in the face.” Instead, as reported by TV Guide, Brown “has asked to be released from her contract for personal reasons,” specifically so that she can take care of her sick father. “My dad needs daily care and he needs me,” she says. “The idea of being away 16 hours a day for five months, I couldn’t do it. It was a difficult decision for me to make, but I had to choose my dad.”

Harmon and executive producer Chris McKenna said in a joint statement that “Yvette was an integral part of Community and is irreplaceable. We are sad to see her go and wish her the very best.” Brown adds that Harmon “has been so wonderful about it all. He told me, ‘Yvette, I’m praying for your dad.'”

Brown’s open to coming back in a guest capacity, and if she gets a Very Special Cameo that isn’t appearing in the dreams of the rest of the study group (well, what remains of it after Chase and Donald Glover’s departures) to make their asses sense, I will be very disappointed. “I’m glad it won’t be hard for them to explain where she is,” says Brown. “She has three kids, a degree, and a business. There are a lot of ways to explain her [departure].”

TV Guide tells us that “the producers are now casting for two new characters. One is described as a woman who’s brought in as a consultant to help shape up the school. The other is a retired salesman who comes to Greendale to reinvent himself.” As for Brown, she can be seen in CBS’ upcoming The Odd Couple reboot and USA’s Benched, where she’ll have recurring guest roles. The actress notes that the shows’ multi-camera format, with its increased scheduling flexibility, “is a better fit for the life I have now.”

“I’m still Community‘s biggest fan and I’ll still live Tweet episodes,” she adds. “It’s very bittersweet. I can take care of my dad but won’t be with my TV family. I don’t want the fans to worry; it’s going to be fine. Greendale is the heart of the show, not any particular character. Even if characters come and go, the heart of Greendale remains.”

Oh, that’s… no. No tears. Kicking ass in foosball, instead:

Our thoughts go out to Brown and her family. You put that illness on the express train to Tinkletown.

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