(Honestly: I have NO IDEA why I wrote this blog entry...)
Here's my theory: The character of Señor Chang on the NBC show Community is that show's version of Hiro on the NBC show Heroes. And no, it's not because they are both Asian.
I loved the first season of Heroes. And if you watched it, I'll bet you did too.
And I'll bet the slow-motion, 4 season-long train wreck that followed broke your heart as it broke mine. Unless of course you were one of the millions of hopeful Heroes watchers who bailed out in disgust somewhere in season 2. Or 3. Or 4.
The problems with Heroes were many: Too many characters, too many character twists (Wait- is he a good guy now? A bad guy again? What, he's got powers now? He lost them? He got different ones? He lost those?), too many soap-opera like boneheaded plot moves that stretched not just the audience's credulity but their patience (3 different characters with three different powers played successively by the same actress with the head-scratching explanation of "Twins!"... "Uh, wait, we mean Triplets!"). Randomly switching characters from good to evil and back again, starting major plot lines only to inexplicably abandon them two episodes later, killing off characters just when they started to get interesting...
But the single most egregious error, the one move that in my opinion ultimately sank what promised to be an epic series was this: Losing the plot with Hiro.
When we met Hiro, he looked like this:
At the beginning of the series, Hiro was one character among many. But the glimpses of future Hiro with his badass sword, soul patch and ponytail (admit it- he works it) and the hope of seeing an awkward, geeky cubicle dweller transformed into a katana-wielding, time-bending Super Samurai pushed him forward from the pack and over that first season, made him the heart and soul of the show. It was, in part, the promise of that transformational arc that propelled Heroes to huge ratings and the betrayal of that promise that left viewers feeling burned and betrayed.
The failure to develop Hiro in the promised direction, and even instead taking him in the very OPPOSITE direction (seriously- make him into a mental ten-year old? And then four episodes later forget that you even did it??? ) left me puzzled and even angry. All the show had to do to become EPIC was show us how Hiro Nakamura turned from zero to hero. That's it.
Never happened. And now the show will go down in TV history as one of the biggest and most-expensive flame-outs ever.
Why all the Heroes history?
Because the same thing is happening with what is arguably one of the best shows on today: Community.
The ensemble comedy about a lawyer who is discovered to have faked a college degree and so is forced to return to community college to bang out a degree is one of the funniest shows on right now. And like Heroes one cast member has become a breakout star- Señor Chang.
So what's the problem? In an effort to keep Señor Chang front and center in the lives of the cast, they've demoted him from powerful (and hilariously over-the-top) teacher of Spanish with occasional flashes of insecurity to whiny student who faked his college degree to get a job as a teacher (wait- haven't we heard that somewhere already??) who, rather than being hilariously braggadocio, now simply wants to be liked.
In other words, like with Hiro, they're moving in the wrong direction with their break-out character.
Turn back now, Community! Save Señor Chang!