Nov. 14, 2011 at 7:53 PM ET
If you, like "Community's" Abed, sometimes have a hard time differentiating between TV and real life, we have some sad news for you.
NBC just announced its midseason lineup -- a schedule that does not include the low-rated but much-loved "Community." (Aaand here's where we must say: Msnbc.com is a joint venture between NBC and Microsoft.)
Fans on Twitter are already freaking out, even though the show is not being cancelled, and will just be shelved briefly, according to The New York Times. But as we reported back in May, recent research suggests that if you're already mourning the loss of your favorite characters, you're likely not the only one. When a favorite TV show goes off the air, even temporarily, its absence has a real psychological impact on its most fanatical viewers.
"We develop these relationships with certain characters," lead study author Emily Moyer-Guse, who's also an assistant professor of communications at Ohio State University, told me back in May. "We develop them over time -- it's actually part of the normal way we watch and enjoy TV," said Moyer-Guse. "We watch these shows, and we start to think of them like a friend.
"It’s kind of the same things that drive real relationships with people," she explained. Moyer Guse did her study during the TV writers' strike of 2007 and 2008, when so many shows were briefly off the air. These fans knew their shows were coming back, but they were still sad about even briefly losing them. More from our earlier post:
(Study participants) were also asked why they watched TV -- for companionship? To relax? To escape? Finally, the students were asked what they did with their newfound free time, now that their shows were off the air.
People who said they had deeper "friendships" with their favorite TV characters also said they felt lonelier in the characters' absence. And the students who said they watched TV for companionship reported the most distress related to their shows' temporary absences. And, no, people didn't use this break in the TV season to do crazy things like exercise, garden or read -- most said they just watched reruns, or surfed the Internet.
Are you already sad about "Community's" hiatus?