NBC’s cult comedy Community returns tonight after a long hiatus, and our staff explains why you should tune in …
It’s been 10 months since NBC’s cult comedy Community has been on the air. And when it returns tonight at 8 p.m. EST for Season 4, there will be some changes. Chevy Chase has left the cast (though he’ll appear in the first few episodes). Creator Dan Harmon has been let go, replaced by new producers David Guarascio and Moses Port. There is also the fear that low ratings will keep the show from continuing much further. The comedy about a group of misfits at a Colorado community college averaged only four million viewers and ranked 144th among prime-time shows last season.
But Pop-Break’s staff has many reasons why you should love the show as much as we do. They also will provide you with their favorite Community moments.
Brent Johnson: I was watching the Super Bowl on Sunday when an ad popped on screen that shocked me. It was congratulating CBS on being televisions top network — thanks to shows like Two And A Half Men and Rules Of Engagement. It made me wonder: Do people really laugh at this stuff? As soon as the spot ended, a friend of mine spoke up with a pointed question: “Isn’t everyone excited that Community is coming back this week?”
I still can’t fathom why a good chunk the U.S. would rather watch 2 Broke Girls than NBC’s clever amd utterly insane comedy about the strangest community college known to man. But please, America, here’s your opportunity. I implore you to give Community a chance.
There is a little worry among Community fans as the show returns for a fourth season. Chevy Chase is gone, and so is the man who created the show’s universe, writer Dan Harmon. But if Season 4 is even a smidgen like the first three, there will be a lot to love.
Here’s what you stand to receive should you tune in: One of the strongest, most diverse comedy casts on television — featuring a white former lawyer forced to go back to college, a black former football star-turned-goofball, and an Indian pop-culture savant. Plots that mix real-world problems with surreal situations — like a school-wide paintball competition or a pillow-fort village that is the focus of a Ken Burns-esque documentary. And I can guarantee: You will never be bored. How can you be when one episode turns the characters into clay stop-motion cartoons?
My favorite Community moment, though: An entire episode centering on a Dungeons & Dragons game. Before you cry nerd, allow us to note: You get to see Chevy Chase mix his brand of snarky humor with genuine evil and sad pathos. You get to see the adorable, invaluable Alison Brie mimic at the most unusual pay-for-sex transaction in the land. And you not only get to witness one of the greatest half-hour TV episodes in recent memory, but you are also reminded of a lesson — that poking fun at people comes with consequences. How many shows on CBS do that?
Lauren Stern: I have to admit, when I first heard that Community was going to be postponed indefinitely, I thought it was all over. I thought we were never going to see the gang in the study room ever again because let’s face it: NBC is known for making poor decisions (See: Conan-Leno debacle of 2010). And of course, my heart literally broke in half at this thought, I mean it was hard enough not hearing “Troy and Abed in the Morning” or “Pop Pop!” on my television this summer. How would I be able to survive television purgatory?
But thanks to the amazing cast, I was able to survive the last five months of “indefinite postponement” thanks to the hilarious trailers, Oct. 19 viral videos, The Soup appearances, and Twitter hashtags. And in a way, it gave me a sense of hope. For the first time in a long time, I had a good feeling that NBC wasn’t going to throw away a good thing again.
And they proved me right (surprisingly). NBC’s best primetime program is back, and judging by the trailers, it’s going to be better than ever. I’m excited to see the direction the gang will go in this season and all of the perfectly incorporated pop culture references. I’m excited for the Dean’s outrageous costumes, Jeff’s rock hard abs, Abed’s metaness, and the revitalization of Chang (This most of all because I love Ken Jeong A LOT). Hell, I’m excited for it all. We will all never ever forget you, Oct. 19, but bring on Feb. 7.
Daniel Cohen: Alternate timelines. Paintball wars. Anime foosball. Inspector Spacetime. Dreamatorium. 8-bit video game episodes. Troy & Abed in the Morning. Star Burns.
Community is the best comedy currently on television. Although, I freely admit it’s not for everybody — Community is an acquired taste. If you’ve never seen the show, I implore you, please … give it three episodes. If you still aren’t convinced after three episodes, then maybe it’s not for you. To be honest, I’m shocked Community is even still on the air. I’ve accepted the fact it could be canceled at any moment. But I’m going to enjoy every last minute spent with Jeff, Britta, Annie, Troy, Abed, Shirley, DEAN PELTON, Chang, and … Pierce (although, not for much longer, thank you Chevy Chase).
My favorite Community moment? Wow … this is impossible to pick. But for me, when Abed takes a class called “Who Indeed: A Critical Analysis of Television’s Who’s the Boss?” and completely ruins the life work of a Professor by proving that Angela is in fact the boss … just wow.
Luke Kalamar: On the surface, Community follows the same formula as a typical school-based comedy. It has students who become friends through a study group and passing their classes is always their ultimate goal. However, after watching even one episode, anyone can see that Community is far more than this. So much of the show completely breaks the shackles of both reason and reality. If it’s not a campus wide paintball fight, it’s “zombies” breaking out during a Halloween celebration. There are even moments where the characters somewhat acknowledge that they’re actually actors on a TV show. It’s always funny, completely original, and everyone should watch it.
My favorite Community moment is definitely when LeVar Burton of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame appeared on the Season 2 episode “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking”. Donald Glover’s character Troy always wanted to meet LeVar Burton, but never actually wanted to physically “meet” him. He simply only wanted a picture. His complete freak out when Burton actually shows up made me tear up from laughing so hard.
Logan J. Fowler: They say that the underside of an iceberg is the larger part. This statement holds true for the utter brilliance that is Community; you kind of have to look past the surface in order to see the wonder that it truly holds. I’ve heard a good percent of the population wave off the show and mostly just cause it didn’t stick. I understand that, I’m not one to force shows on others if they can’t dig. However for me the program possesses not only a wildly outrageous sense of humor that has more of an inside joke sort of feel at some points, but is able to cross this with a serene sweetness from time to time involving the study group looking out for one another.
Take for instance, my favorite moment from the show, and one that made me sit up and pay attention (and continuing through the first season when I first got it via rental). In the episode Environmental Science, there is three storylines at play here; Chang (Ken Jeong) is terribly missing his wife and cries out to Jeff (Joel McHale) about it. Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) is having trouble public speaking and Pierce (Chevy Chase) offers to help. Finally Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) must have their science rat, Fievel respond to a song but Troy’s fear of rodents lead the critter to escaping. Near the tail end of the episode, Abed tracks the mouse and starts singing “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tail at which point two other storylines ends also get wrapped up. In the gymnasium of the school Chang sees his lovely spouse (that Jeff may or may not had a hand in bringing back) as an Irish pipe band busts out the same Troy and Abed are singing, and Shirley is succeeding in her public speaking class as Pierce sits in the back dropping hints about what to do. Finally, the song ends with Troy putting Fievel back in his cage and Abed stating a very sincere “thank you” to his future bromance partner.
The context may be confusing, however bear with me because there’s no YouTube video for that to make the visuals either. But what I just stated is the subtle intelligence of Community; there are laughs to be had and as well as tender moments to draw you in even further. This show has been severe uphill battle since I can remember and it’s sad because there’s something in it for everyone. If you haven’t watched it before then I plead you with this request; imagine loving a TV show so much that it left an empty hole in your heart when it’s gone. Now imagine you get that same feeling each time you hear a Community delay, or possible cancellation, or problems on the show, etc. If I’m not speaking to you yet there’s no getting through, but seriously, I can’t state enough it’s one of my favorite shows ever and it deserves a lot more love so give it a shot. I think in my heart of hearts you won’t be disappointed.