The good thing about a show with as many meta-references as Community is that it is able to address all of its potential problems head on. Frankie, the new character on Community Season 6, is the series' answer to moving to Yahoo and trying to rebrand itself once again. She sits in Pierce's chair in the study room and so far, she has been referred to as the "New Shirley," "New Annie," and "New Abed." With so much comparison, what can she add to the group?
The answer is simple: She's incredibly dull. Wait, just hear me out. Brewster's Frankie encompasses traits of all of the characters and grounds them in reality. She describes herself as boring and decidedly not quirky. She is not against interesting traits, she just doesn't have any. It's a little bit like opening a window on Greendale Community college. This is, in all seriousness, a level of meta that the series has not yet achieved. Dean Pelton is always willing to go along with shenanigans. He starts many of them himself. But it's completely unrealistic for a group of community college students to build a bar in a basement without being noticed, and Frankie calls that out for the first time.
The characters on Community could all be considered anti-heroes. So it's natural that they gang up on Frankie in the season premiere and declare her to be their nemesis. However, over the course of the first two episodes, she has bonded with several of them. She understands Abed in a way that the others don't, even though she accidentally insulted him later on. She and Jeff have more in common than they think about their goals for the school. In the second episode, Frankie and Britta bond about their parents.
Brewster might just be Community's first true "straight man" (for the non comedy nerds in the room, that term just means the ordinary individual who calls out the unusual stuff going on around them). Earlier in the series, that term could have been applied to Jeff Winger, but Greendale finally "got" to him. He's just as weird as the rest of them. So the job now belongs to Frankie Dart. This move is a simple storytelling device, but an incredibly effective one that should keep viewers interested after the crazy ride this show has been.
But while it's nice to see Frankie fulfilling her role and bringing the show back into its groove, I have to wonder if Community is going to address the fact that Paget Brewster has been on Community before. The Criminal Minds actress appeared just last season as "Debra Chambers," who worked in Greendale's IT Department. While I think it would be hilarious if they didn't ignore it, but I don't think that is going to happen. After all, Nathan Fillion appeared in that episode as well, and he cameos in the Yahoo premiere. Has she changed her name? Is this the crazy relative that Frankie referred to in the premiere? We shall see.
Image: Yahoo Screen; Giphy