I have friends who watch a lot of TV; I don’t tend to trust the TV recommendations of these people because I find that watching hours upon hours of garbage reduces your critical faculties. Yeah, that show looks great in comparison to According to Jim, but what doesn’t?
So I come to you as someone who watches very little TV. Almost none. Not because I’m better than the medium but because the medium offers way too much crap and I have way too many other options. It takes a damn good show to not only get me watching but also to get me anticipating the next episode. Community is that show.
Set in a fictional community college, Community mixes absurdism, dark humor, incredible wit and terrific characters to create what looks like the best TV comedy since Arrested Development. Smart, hilarious and sometimes shocking, Community is a show that should be DVRed simply because you’ll need to keep pausing it when you erupt in laughter.
What Community does best is balance its amazing ensemble. Joel McHale is a douchebag lawyer who is forced to go back to school, and while there he falls in with a motley crew, each of whom can hold their own comedically. Gillian Jacobs is Britta, the blonde with whom McHale’s character falls in love; Yvette Nicole Brown is Shirley, the middle aged black divorcee; Mystery Team‘s Donald Glover is Troy, a former football star and current doofus; Alison Brie is Annie, a goody two shoes naive girl; Chevy Chase is Pierce, the old, racist, pompous windbag, and Danny Pudi is Abed, the best character on the show, an autistic Palestinian movie nerd.
It’s the way the show juggles that ensemble that makes it special. While McHale is always the center of the episodes, each of the actors get moments to shine. And while Community does have its characters learn things at the end of the episodes, those moments of emotional catharsis never come at the expense of hilarity.
And as if the main cast wasn’t funny enough, the show has a slew of ringers in the wings including Ken Jeong as Senor Chang, the angry, perverted Spanish teacher; The Daily Show‘s John Oliver as a professor and Jim Rash as the indescribable Dean.
But don’t take my word for it – here’s the latest episode, which features a ton of incredible moments. Watch it and decide for yourself. But do give it a chance – like all good, smart comedy on network TV Community seems to be having trouble finding an audience. Don’t make Community be one of those shows whose passing we lament – let’s keep this series on the air long enough for it to devolve into terribleness. That should take about ten years at the current rate of Community excellence.