When Season 3 of Community ended, it seemed like the series best days were behind it. In addition, the creator, Dan Harmon was fired from the show due to when differences between him and NBC arose. When Season 4 came about without Harmon’s involvement, there was clearly something missing. There were some episodes that came along that actually thrived without its creator, but ultimately, the chapter 4 fell flat. Now, Community has returned for another season, with Harmon thankfully back in the driver’s seat.
We were treated to two brand new episodes last night for the premiere, which kind of catapults the group back into enrollment at Greendale after their graduation, except for Jeff (Joel McHale). The first episode, “Repilot” has Jeff, as a scummy lawyer (as we all knew he’d turn out to be), using Greendale as a factor for his friends not being satisfied with their lives post graduation. He draws up a document to sue the school, but as the episode nears its conclusion, Jeff sees a hologram of Pierce that states that Greendale accepts anybody no matter what and due to that, Jeff retracts his document. His feelings are Greendale opened its arms to him and the gang, and that’s why it deserves a chance. With that in mind, Jeff decides to become a teacher (which Abed predicted back in the beginning of the episode, as Abed only could do), and the gang returns to the books to pursue their real dreams.
In the episode, it is also mentioned indirectly how Troy (Donald Glover) will be leaving the show soon, as Glover is only contracted for five episodes this season. His absence is going to hurt the show, without a shadow of a doubt, as Troy mainly gets the laughs in this episode. His reference to Zach Braff leaving Scrubs in the final season after just six episodes is a “breaking of the fourth wall” moment that had me rolling.
“Repilot” brought us back to Greendale fairly smooth, as the Season 5 opener made me realize that no matter how bumpy the road has been for the study group, I love the characters there in. With Harmon back you can sense a promise of a better season, even though I still feel like the show is getting towards its eventual deathbed.
The second episode, “Introduction to Teaching,” introduces us to Breaking Bad alumni Jonathan Banks as criminology Professor Hickey, whose scheming ways mesh very well with new teacher Jeff, as Annie (Alison Brie) proves to be a minor thorn in each of their sides. Their chemistry definitely will be fun to watch as the show progresses, and Banks slides into a grumpy educator role like he’s been at Greendale for years. A welcome cast addition, indeed.
However, the best part of this episode is Greendale’s new course “Nicolas Cage: Good or Bad?” This course makes me wish Greendale was a real place, because by God, that sounds like an amazing class. Of course, Abed (Danny Pudi) goes nuts trying to figure out if the actor really is good or bad, and it drives him to act out like the randomized actor that Cage is in the middle of a lecture. This is, no doubt, the funniest moment of the episode, and a Community highlight that I will watch over and over again. Pudi is surely the comedic force that will help the show bring in the laughs when Glover disappears, but it’s going to be tough to watch that bromance die.
“Introduction to Teaching” reinforced the fact that a better Community is back, and I hope the momentum keeps up. I’d obviously rather that the show ends on a high note than anything less, but with only two episodes into the new season, I guess we’ll wait to find out how it all ends up.
Oh and the show referencing Scrubs in both episodes? 100 points.
“Introduction to Teaching” Rating-8.5/10