I was overjoyed at the news that “Community” had been saved by Yahoo Screen (of all places) earlier this year, because it’s one of my favorite shows of all time. By now, you’ve likely formed your opinion about Dan Harmon’s meta-sitcom, and if you’re like me, you’re all in on that train, riding it all the way through six seasons and a (hopeful) movie. But we have some unfortunate news today: the show will go on without one of its major cast members.
Yvette Nicole Brown, who plays Shirley, has been a series regular since the first season, but her father has fallen ill and she won’t be able to shoot the show and take care of him at the same time, so she’s chosen to step back from the show in a full time capacity. Here’s what she said to TV Guide:
My dad needs daily care and he needs me. 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.
We can’t fault anyone for taking care of their family, and we wish her father a speedy recovery. She reportedly asked to be let out of her contract, and Sony TV, Dan Harmon, and exec producer Chris McKenna have done the humane thing and allowed her to step back. “Yvette was an integral part of Community and is irreplaceable. We are sad to see her go and wish her the very best,” Harmon and McKenna said in a joint statement.
Brown will be the fourth major “Community” personality to leave the series. Chevy Chase (Pierce Hawthorne) left after a very public fallout with Harmon, Donald Glover (Troy Barnes) left to pursue his music career, and Harmon himself was booted from the series before ultimately being rehired. Now Harmon and McKenna have Joel McHale (Jeff Winger), Alison Brie (Annie Edison), Danny Pudi (Abed Nadir), and Gillian Jacobs (Britta Perry) as the remaining core members of the study group, along with Ken Jeong (Ben Chang) and Jim Rash (Dean Craig Pelton).
Brown says she’ll still be available for guest spots, but now the show will have to replace both her and Jonathan Banks (Buzz Hickey), who is departing for AMC’s “Breaking Bad” prequel series “Better Call Saul.” “Community” is reportedly on the lookout for two new actors to play two new roles. According to TV Guide, “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.”
Again, we wish Brown and her family the best, and hope that Harmon and his team won’t have too much trouble finding a way to pick up the slack. There’s still no debut date set for “Community”‘s upcoming sixth season, though it’s been rumored to be ready after Christmas or early next year.
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