Much of the talk surrounding Community’s return centered on how it just wasn’t the same, and that’s true in at least one more respect: It got better ratings. Last night’s fourth season premiere brought in around 4 million viewers and a 1.8 rating in the 18-49 demo, up 6 percent from its last debut all the way back in September 2011 (when it didn’t have to face American Idol as well as Big Bang Theory), and up 38 percent from the third season finale. Community also outperformed 30 Rock’s ratings in that time slot by around 38 percent and—in a statistic that’s only meaningful once you factor in the schadenfreude of how heavily the latter was favored by the network—it doubled Smash’s dismal premiere ratings.
All in all, whether driven by new fans who used this long “summer break” to catch up on the show, curious visitors who have been following the series’ behind-the-scenes turmoil, or broad sitcom fans who were lured in by the episode’s laugh track, it was a relatively promising return, one that also boosted Parks And Recreation and The Office to highs. (Even as 1600 Penn and Do No Harm continued to sink to new lows.) Whether any of those people liked what they saw enough to stick around, of course, we won’t know until next week. We're guessing you probably have some thoughts on that.