Yvette Nicole Brown is departing the fan favorite comedy after five seasons. Brown — who has played Shirley Bennett since the 2009 launch of Community — confirms to TV Guide Magazine that she has asked to be released from her contract for personal reasons. Sony Pictures TV and executive producers Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna have honored her request. The actress says the change was necessary in order to take care of her ailing father. My dad needs daily care and he needs me, Brown says. The idea of being away 16 hours a day for five months, I couldn’t do it. It was a difficult decision for me to make, but I had to choose my dad.
I’m very sad to hear that Yvette Nicole Brown won’t be coming back to Community— although let’s be real, Community's been dead for a while now. She brought something to television which I think very few actresses do: a feeling that you were watching a kind, normal, decent person who was, incidentally, incredibly funny. The scene from Season 2 where Abed “prays in the Garden of Gethsemane” for someone to destroy his movie and Shirley rescues him from the angry mob by destroying everything… You don't get to see something like that terribly often. It was very special, and actually that is one of my favourite episodes not just of Community of any show ever.
In a time where everyone’s constantly trying to out-smarm and out-irony each other, she writes tweets with sincere blessings and responds to virtually any message you send her with a smile and a kind word.
I wish her and her family all the best. We’ll miss you, Shirley.