“Community” Season 4 is having a rough go of it. Ratings are, as always, a struggle. Many (including me) have complained that the show just isn’t as good without former showrunner Dan Harmon.

But is that true? Has the quality of “Community” gone downhill for these first episodes of Season 4?

I could analyze all of every episode to find an answer, but that would be both time-consuming and confusing. Instead, a look at a few of the new season’s end tags (those vaguely related sketches that air as the credits roll) to see if they work.

The first tag, for “History 101,” continues the laugh-track joke from earlier in that episode.

What works?

  • As the continuation of the earlier joke, this makes sense.
  • The “Bosom Buddies” look of Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) has an intrinsic hilarity that cannot be denied.

What doesn’t work?

  • After multiple viewings, I’m still not sure why Britta (Gillian Jacobs) was supposed to be mannish or what was going on with Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) — was she supposed to be a man?).

It would be a shame to miss the rather unusual end tag from “Conventions of Space and Time,” considering it features the American version of “Inspector Spacetime.”

What works?

What doesn’t?

  • Why exactly wouldn’t Abed like this show? Yes, the whole thing would be terrible, but this little clip seems like something Abed would like.
  • There’s really just the one joke — it’s a bad American version of a beloved British show. So much more could have been fit into this.

Finally, here is most recent end tag, from the episode, “Alternative History of the German Invasion.”

What works?

  • The German guy holding Abed’s four-pronged trident is funny.

What doesn’t work?

  • Why were they making the podcast in the first place, other than to have something to do here?
  • What sort of a thing would Troy and Abed have? Left vague like that, it’s not actually funny.
  • It’s the first podcast. Shouldn’t they say why they’ve changed formats? Especially since the joke in earlier “Troy and Abed” broadcast clips was often that they weren’t really broadcasting, just pretending.
  • What’s with the $5 bill?

These are funny. But, like most of the content of “Community” Season 4, even these short bits are lacking something. Maybe it’s a feeling of energy. Maybe it’s the creative guidance of Dan Harmon and the others who led seasons 1 through 3 (most of whom are gone now).

Maybe I’m wrong about all of this, and these clips are hilarious. I don’t think I am. As proof, I offer a final video –the end tag from Season 3’s “Pillows and Blankets” episode.

Can anything we’ve seen in “Community” Season 4 match this?

Is Season 4 measuring up? Do the end tags offer a good example of this? Share your opinions in the comments.

Posted by:Laurel Brown