After having watched the premiere of Community back in 2009 I ignored the show until only recently. I’d seen a handful of episodes randomly over its run (including the D&D episode which is like a top-3 episode apparently?), but never really sat down and tried to make it through the whole thing. I still haven’t made it all the way; in fact, I’m at what I hear is The Worst Part, but I’m quite pleased with it so far. I still kinda hate Dan Harmon, though.
So let’s get to the review! Woooooooooooooooo!
For me, Community season 1 starts out a little weak. The writers haven’t quite found what they want to do with the characters yet, and there’s a little too much formula in the first 6 episodes or so: shenanigans ensue and at the end Jeff makes a speech to wrap everything up in a nice little moral-coated bow. That doesn’t seem to ever really go away, but there’s usually more going on in each episode to distract the viewer from it as things go along.
I guess that’s part of the point, but a crutch is a crutch is a crutch. By the half-way point, though, things have settled into a nice (and hilarious) new…… normal? Sure, we can call it normal.
As a side note, it’s kind of nice to see a show like this where literally every main character is good. They all have a way to go before they get to their high points, but considering this main cast is double the size of Seinfeld’s, it’s quite an accomplishment.
e14 – “Interpretive Dance” for making me feel feelings (something about the dance business at the end really got to me)
e19 – “Beginner Pottery” for cameos by Lee Majors and Buster Bluth, plus the ridiculous scene of Pierce’s boat sinking in the parking lot
e23 – “Modern Warfare” for being the best episode of the show up until the second paintball episode
e01 – “Community” for the aforementioned lack of focus and understanding of its own characters
e06 – “Football, Feminism and You” for giving us the absolutely horrifying Greendale Human Being mascot that just keeps getting creepier
e25 – “Pascal’s Triangle Revisited” for the stupid love triangle, will-they/won’t-they, cliffhanger kiss nonsense
Community mostly drops the love triangle nonsense earlyish in season 2, though of course it never goes away entirely. The writers found what they want out of these characters, and it becomes clear quickly that Troy and Abed are the real stars.
The stories get a little more outlandish this time around. There’s a zombie outbreak, Jeff and Troy find a magical trampoline hidden in a clearing on campus, and Chang begins living in the air conditioning ducts, among other things.
e04 – “Basic Rocket Science” because I love NASA and I’m a nerd. Plus the idea of a KFC-themed space simulator tickles me
e05 – “Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples” for Abed Abed Abed Abeeeeeeeed
e22 and e23 – “A Fist Full of Paintballs” and “For a Few Paintballs More” because of so very many reasons. Sawyer is great. I love the ongoing rivalry with City College, I love that Annie finally gets a chance to shine without being just The Innocent One. The continuation’s use of Star Wars quotes had me cracking up. So far, this is the best episode of the series (assuming that it being a two-parter doesn’t disqualify it)
e02 – “Accounting for Lawyers” because Jeff is frankly the least interesting of the main cast
e11 – “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” for being yet more needless making fun of Abed for being autistic
e18 – “Critical Film Studies” for being yet more needless making fun of Abed for being autistic
Not much more to say here about Community season 3. It’s pretty similar in tone to season 2, just with each note turned up to 11. By the end, Chang’s in complete, iron-fisted control of the campus, Shirley and Pierce own a sandwich shop in the cafeteria, and Troy, Abed and Annie are still (back to?) living together. Jeff, as usual, has basically not changed at all. He’s still mostly just a jerk.
e04 – “Remedial Chaos Theory” for the classic Troy-holding-a-pizza meme and the establishment of The Worst Timeline
e08 – “Documentary Filmmaking: Redux” for Dean Craig Pelton finally reaching his final form. Also, Joel McHale does a passable impression of Jim Rash
e13 and e14 – “Digital Exploration of Interior Design” and “Pillows and Blankets” for just over-the-top silliness, The North Cafeteria which is in the western portion of East Hall, gateway to the western half of North Hall, which is named because it’s north of the south wall, and Pierce’s pillow armor
e10 – “Regional Holiday Music” for being a musical episode
e15 – “Origins of Vampire Mythology” for just being needlessly boring
e22 – “Introduction to Finality” for trying to make me feel feelings about Jeff’s father and failing
This is perhaps the most surprising comedy show I’ve ever seen, given my initial reaction to its premiere and the episodes I caught over the years. I don’t know that it has the staying power of Seinfeld or The Simpsons, but if anything of this century has a chance, it’s Community. I imagine that most everyone who would be inclined to watch this already has unless they’re in a similar situation to mine, but this is definitely something to watch if you haven’t. Seriously, go watch Community.
Also Troy likes butt stuff.