This afternoon, news broke that Yvette Nicole Brown, who portrays Shirley Bennett on Community, will not be returning for the show’s sixth season on Yahoo. This was met with much sadness; the show started with seven central characters in a study group, and that number has now dwindled to four.
While we lament the loss of a beloved character, it’s fair to say that Shirley was not always given the attention and respect she deserved from the writers. She had great potential, as a divorcee with a mind for business and strategy, to become a real powerhouse and an eventual financial booster to the college itself. While season 5 episodes revolved around Troy’s departure, Abed’s adjustments, Jeff’s growing pains, and Britta’s struggles to figure out her identity, Shirley was often relegated to side character status. She had great one-liners, the best reaction shots, and all the love in the world for her friends, but she deserved her own storyline.
We here at WWFTP are going to miss Shirley terribly, me especially. I identified strongly with her character both in backstory and in current form, and I was always most excited when it seemed a good Shirley episode was coming down the pike. There’s no way to ignore the fact that this is a great loss to the show, and we’ll miss her for all of the following twenty-five reasons, and then some.
01. I’mma die by werewolf!
02. This “He is Risen” apron might be my favorite thing this show has ever done.
03. Unlikely friendships could’ve been explored in season six. This one particularly intrigued me.
04. Her sexy voice.
05. She’s a baker, but that’s not her identity. She was saved from a nervous bakedown.
06. She didn’t take nonsense from anyone.
07. “I’ll make your ass linear!” “I’ll make your ass sense!” is an argument I frequently have with fellow Community fans. Thank you for that, Shirley.
08. These three got into some amazing hijinx in the early seasons, and a return to that would’ve been nice. At least we have our DVDs to comfort us
09. This friendship. I had even hoped for more of this in the sixth season, since it was sorely lacking in the fifth.
10. She has her morals, but she also knows how to get stuff done.
11. Her friendship with Abed was unique and touching.
12. We won’t get to see this dynamic duo of badasses again.
13. She really got the gist of Pulp Fiction and I think that’s so great
14. She’s had enough.
15. The birth of her third son, Benjamin, was memorable.
16. Just, this:
17. Anyone up for some virgin mudslides? (“Those are milkshakes, Shirley.”)
18. Never forget the showdown between Big Cheddar and Tinkle Town
19. For the love of God, whatever you do, do not call her “sassy.”
20. She was Britta’s biggest cheerleader, even when Britta didn’t believe in herself
21. This is just so great:
22. She “you go girl!”‘s herself, and that’s okay.
23. Remember when she dressed up as Not Miss Piggy and threatened a pumpkin-costumed Leonard?
24. She was so sweet to befriend that guy Gary, since everyone else at Greendale hated him. He does come from a land without sun, after all.
25. If you can honestly say that you won’t miss Shirley in the final season, she has one response for you:
Thank you so much to Yvette Nicole Brown for her wonderful portrayal of a complex, often flawed, but much loved character. We will miss you and we wish you all the best.