TV

“Save Pierce” – Why Chevy Chase on “Community” Is Important (op-ed)

All this recent talk about how “Community” doesn’t need Chevy Chase, that Pierce Hawthorne is an extraneous character that is not important to the show, baffles me. *Every* character on “Community” is important — that’s the damn point!

Every character’s life on the show is inextricably wound into every other character’s, each learning (albeit in an oft-dysfunctional fashion) something about themselves and evolving. Pierce isn’t a “side-character,” someone on the margins. He’s someone that drives a lot of these plot lines. Remove him, and that interdependent web of personalities collapses.

One rationale I’ve seen given for getting rid of Pierce is the character is “negative,” and causes problems. Well, then they should have gotten rid of Benjamin Linus from “LOST,” Spike from “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” and Oscar the damned Grouch from “Sesame Street” for the same reasons. Then maybe we can have a happy show. Then — maybe we can have “Glee”.

I acknowledge the fact that Chevy Chase and “Community” showrunner Dan Harmon have a personality clash. I acknowledge the fact that there are many “Chevy is a jerk” anecdotes floating around. But none of this discounts the fact that Chase is a greatly accomplished comedic actor who deserves respect for his sum total of work, or that Pierce Hawthorne is a necessary character.

I originally only gave “Community” a chance based on the fact that Chevy Chase was appearing on it. Frankly, I was shocked that he’d agree to do an ensemble sitcom like this, and marvelled at how the producers managed to convince him to co-star on the show. The Pierce/Chevy parallels seemed very intentional and “meta” to me — which is at the same time brilliant and probably very awkward on-set.

Anyway — I’d be really really bummed to see Pierce gone from “Community”. A “Two And A Half Men Charlie’s dead” type plot twist to explain his sudden disappearance would be beyond the pale of horrible (though getting someone like George Takei or dare I say Bill Murray to play Pierce, with no explanation regarding the swap, might win me over).  

I hope things can be resolved. I want to know what happens to Shirley and Pierce’s business venture. I want to see Pierce get the respect and recognition he so craves — or not. I don’t even need a happy ending. But I do need Pierce, just like I need Abed, Troy, Annie, Shirley, and Jeff.*

So “Community” fans, please don’t throw Pierce/Chevy under the bus in the misguided hope that this will make the show more “renewable” and seem less problematic to the network. Instead, shout it loud and proud from your rooftops and dreamatoriums: “Save Pierce”!

* Britta’s “the worst”

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