The issue that stuff like Community and and Parks and Rec have is that you really need to watch almost the whole series to truly appericate it. Community has the same problem Arrested Development did, where so many of the jokes revolve around the characters personalities. With Parks and Rec, its because you can really feel like these are real people and Pawnee is a real place. I don't think someone who had never seen the show would've really loved last night's finale. People are far more willing to watch one episode than 50, even if they are totally missing out by not watching the 50.
That is a good point. I think that the payoff if you watch all the way through is tremendous. One of my friends got caught up over the summer and loves the show now. If the network's made it easier for people to catch up on shows I think shows could pick up viewers.
My buddy watches a lot of TV but is not a fan of streaming them on the internet. He missed the pilots of Person of Interest and Once Upon A Time. He wants to catch up with them but he now has to wait for them to come out on DVD, which will probably happen right before the new season starts leaving him no time to get caught up. This system is not helping.