For the first time in weeks, ads for new episodes of Community aired on NBC last Thursday night during the lineup of 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation and The Office. It's a long-awaited sight for devoted fans who have spent the past three months pleading to "Save Community" at every end of the internet.
Well, Community returns on March 15, and fans will once again get to join the study group at Greendale Community College. While it appears fans will have a full third season, it remains unclear whether there will be a season four.
In November, the internet -- or at least the Twitterverse -- seemed to spontaneously self-combust at the news that Community was being pulled from rotation at mid-season. Media and entertainment reporters scrambled to figure out whether this meant it was canceled or just on hiatus.
In response to the potential loss of Community, nearly 95,000 people have signed an online petition to keep the show going. Fans have kept Tumblr blogs inspired by themes in just a single episode. NBC's own website has had message boards cheering for its return. Columnists have written about their admiration for the show and scolded the Emmy voters for not giving an award to Community already.
The show features a central cast similar to any real community college with students straight out of high school, some who struggled to graduate, and people who are going back to get training after failures in the workforce. There's even angles of the show around the technical training community colleges offer.
Rob Scheffield called the show "quintessentially American" in Rolling Stone. "There is no attempt at campus humor, no keggers or fraternity houses," Sheffield wrote. "Instead, the Greendale gang spends all its waking hours doing what most college students have always done with their time: aimlessly hanging out, waiting for the fun to start. Campus loafing has never been so accurately (or lovingly) depicted, as our heroes build their own imaginary world around dreadful puns and arcane in-jokes."
The cast members openly admitted where they do need help though, and that's their ratings.
When Entertainment Weekly asked Yvette Nicole Brown, who plays Shirley Bennett, how to save Community, Brown said "Nielsen boxes, brother. Nielsen boxes. There's online petitions you could sign. I think even watching Hulu helps a little, but it doesn't help the ratings."
It's one of the most popular TV shows on Hulu, but therein lies the problem. As cast member Joel McHale put it, their audience is young, and likes to TiVo things or watch online, and ad revenue from online viewers is not nearly as profitable.
It hasn't been announced that Community is officially saved, but a devoted fan base showed NBC execs just how passionate they are about the show.
See the ways that fans tried to #savecommunity: