Will Community fans save the show with ‘CommuniCon’?

By Natan Edelsburg 

TV fans have risen again and taken to the social web to make sure the world knows how much they love their favorite show. Community fans, also know as “Communies” are planning a “CommuniCon” event that show creator Dan Harmon himself might even attend. 

As a result of questionable ratings NBC only ordered a thirteen episode season set to begin in February. Most think it will be cancelled after that. The past year has seen some weird and unfortunate happenings for the cult favorite, including the departure of Harmon as showrunner and most recently the departure of Chevy Chase before the half season even ends. Here’s a snippet from how Harmon described his departure from the show on his Tumblr in May.

You may have read that I am technically “signed on,” by default, to be an executive consulting something or other – which is a relatively standard protective clause for a creator in my position.  Guys like me can’t actually just be shot and left in a ditch by Skynet, we’re still allowed to have a title on the things we create and “help out,” like, I guess sharpening pencils and stuff.

Even the cast seemed extremely upset about this departure. Now fans have come together on Tumblr and Twitter to organize the first CommuniCon slated for February, probably to be held at a community college in LA. Lost Remote interviewed the passionate and genius fan who launched this. Gillian Morshedi, is a former corporate lawyer and the perfect example of how a social TV fan can make a difference.

“I started tweeting about Community right after the third season hiatus was announced, and pretty quickly started interacting with other fans, and eventually with the cast and writers, all of whom I followed,” she told Lost Remote. “Tumblr came a bit later- basically, I use it for the same reasons a lot of fans do: to connect with each other, and the people that work on our favorite show,” she added. “Over time, as I became more active in the various fan campaigns, I also used the sites to spread the word about things like fan polls, gifts for the cast and writers, and plans for getting trending topics during Community episodes.”

She’s even been in touch with Harmon. “Dan probably doesn’t remember this, but I tweeted at him about CommuniCon a few months ago, and he responded – but I was able to speak to him in person about it on Monday night when I went to Harmontown.” Here’s why she started CommuniCon.

I started CommuniCon because I really feel like I’ve become friends with other fans over Twitter, and we all feel a bit exhausted by what the show has been through the past few seasons, with low ratings, and multiple delays, and hiatuses. We all love the show, and feel connected to it, and to the cast and crew, and, most importantly to each other. So, the idea of all getting together just seemed really wonderful. Plus, as with everything we do, part of it is just to let the cast and writers and crew know how much we appreciate them. I’m someone who has always loved television and loving things, especially funny things. I’m originally from Houston, but I now live in San Francisco. I was a corporate litigator for five years, and recently quit to take some time off and decide what to do next.

The fan event’s mantra, which appears across their social posts is “Let’s participate this thing.” Morshedi explained that “‘Let’s participate this thing’ comes from an episode in the first season: Beginner Pottery. Jeff, Annie, and Abed are all taking a beginner pottery class that Jeff recommended because there are no grades, so you get an art credit just for participating. On the first day of the class, he says ‘Let’s participate this thing!’ to Annie and Abed.”

It’s a bit too early to tell if this will movement will grow and if CommuniCon will get a huge turnout, but the fact that Dan Harmon is already using #3andahalfseasonsandaconvention in tweets is a good sign for Community fans. Every social TV practitioner should be trying to hire Morshedi and learn from her how important “funny things” and fan driven things are for TV.

Social TV strikes again and with a more mature Tumblr and Twitter Community might  join the ranks of Chuck and others to show the industry that ratings aren’t all that matters.