"Community": Six seasons and a movie
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
For anyone who hasn’t heard of it, “Community” is a sitcom on NBC. It’s about a study group at a community college called Greendale, and it’s mainly focused on the friendships that the study group slowly forms over two and a half seasons (it’s halfway through season three right now). I’m going to give you a few reasons why you should check it out.
The “Community” setup is far from the average sitcom structure. Like the rest of the Thursday night lineup on NBC, there is no audience or laugh-track, and the jokes are fast-paced and intelligent. If you miss something funny, they don’t wait around for the viewer to get it; they’re already saying the next joke. You should literally watch each episode at least twice to catch everything. The humor is often pop-culture based and at times very meta, but there is still something for everyone, because each of the main characters are so different from each other.
Because the show takes place at a community college, they are able to have main characters of all ages and backgrounds. In the pilot, the show focuses around Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) who is a former lawyer who was caught with a fake law degree, so he’s back at school to earn a legitimate one. Jeff is narcissistic, arrogant, very intelligent, and, as we slowly find out, extremely insecure. He forms a Spanish study group in an attempt to sleep with a girl in his class, Britta, who in any other sitcom would be a typical blonde, lead female character who would have a “will they, won’t they” relationship with Jeff. Not on this show. Britta is smart and opinionated but very flawed, as are the rest of the characters who join the study group.
Troy (Donald Glover), a former football star who doesn’t know who he is beyond his high school success, Annie (Alison Brie), a success-obsessed former pill addict, Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), a Christian with deep seated rage issues, Abed (Danny Pudi), who has Asperger’s and can only relate to people through movie and TV references, and Pierce (Chevy Chase), a lonely, insecure older man who is desperate to be liked and included. Sounds like a pretty unlikely group of friends, right? The show knows that, and patiently allows their friendship to develop naturally over the seasons.
Now, in season three, we’ve gotten to the point where we’re truly getting to know each character’s nature and how they relate to each other. Troy and Abed now have probably the best friendship of anyone on TV. Jeff has begun to care for people other than himself for the first time in his life. I won’t go into the others, because you should really just watch it for yourself.
The remarkable thing about the group is that every character is as flawed as any real person. They’re selfish, manipulative, and make mistakes. That’s why it’s so easy for the audience to relate. We all know a Jeff, or an Abed, or a Britta. I see myself in the characters and so for me the show and the fanbase became its own real community, as it has for many other viewers. For all its jokes and ridiculous secondary characters, the show truly has heart; it’s obvious how much the cast and crew love the world they’ve created, and that’s what makes it such an enjoyable watch.
The cleverness of the storylines and the unbelievable detail are unparalleled. The viewers have a dialogue with the writers thanks to the magic of the Internet, and that helps create the feeling that we, the fans, are a part of this show.
In December, the show was taken off the air and put on an indefinite hiatus. They finished making the final half of the season, and thanks to the enormous support of the fans (who used techniques like the #SixSeasonsandaMovie hashtag on Twitter to rally behind the show), NBC put it back on the air last week.
The show is still in danger of not being renewed for a fourth season (which the writers have said will be the final one, as it fits with the normal four year college timeline), and only through the viewership and support of the fans will that be possible.
So, I am here to ask, will you give “Community” a try? Catch it Thursday nights at 8 p.m. on NBC (channel 7), or even on Hulu the next day.