Well, it had to happen eventually. Multihyphenate Donald Glover was forced to choose between his rap career and the upcoming, unlikely fifth season of Community — and he went with Childish Gambino. No, not entirely. As Vulture reports, Donny and NBC came to an “agreement that will see Glover appearing as Troy Barnes in just five of the show’s upcoming thirteen episodes … The studio probably could have insisted on Glover committing to all thirteen half-hour episodes (or more, if NBC ordered them), but as often happens in Hollywood, both camps found a way to compromise. Glover will now be able to focus more on his music, while Sony will save some money since it won’t have to pay Glover for every episode.”
While this might hurt the feelings of the famously touchy Greendale loyalists, it makes sense. Whatever you might think of Glover’s penis-reference-heavy emo-rap, he’s got a fan base, and serving it now, while the going is good, seems right. It’s not like Hollywood’s any less fickle than rap music but, considering it was always Glover’s music stuff that seemed the more unlikely success story — and that he’s a versatile comedian who has spent time in writers’ rooms, on the stand-up stage, and in the YouTube content-generation assembly line — it’s not hard to imagine him getting right back in the Hollywood groove whenever he feels like it. Then again, it’s quite possible this simply backs a hypothesis we’ve long entertained, but could never fully confirm: The groupies at Rock the Bells are waaaay better than the groupies at the NBC backlots.