Whether a TV show is “good” or not is inherently subjective. However, Community, created by Dan Harmon, has developed a passionate cult following and critical acclaim over its 6 season run on NBC and Yahoo! Screen from 2009-2015.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Community is considered one of the smartest, most inventive sitcoms in TV history. Its meta humor, homages to different film genres, and quirky characters come together to form a uniquely hilarious show.
In this approximately 3000 word article, we’ll take an in-depth look at why Community stands out among other sitcoms. We’ll provide an overview of the show, analyze the strengths of the writing and cast, discuss some of its most memorable episodes, and examine the impact it has had on fans and the TV landscape.
Overview of Community
Community is an American television sitcom that first aired on NBC in 2009. Created by Dan Harmon, the show revolves around a diverse group of students at Greendale Community College who form an unlikely study group.
Known for its clever writing and unique storytelling format, Community has gained a dedicated fanbase over the years.
Premise and Main Characters
The premise of Community centers around Jeff Winger, a disbarred lawyer who is forced to enroll at Greendale Community College to earn a legitimate degree. Jeff becomes a part of a study group consisting of Abed, Troy, Britta, Annie, Shirley, and Pierce.
Each character brings their own quirks and personality traits to the group, creating a dynamic and entertaining dynamic.
Abed is the pop culture enthusiast who often views life through the lens of movies and TV shows. Troy is the former high school football star who embraces his silly side and develops a close friendship with Abed. Britta is the politically outspoken and often rebellious member of the group.
Annie is the overachiever who is determined to succeed academically. Shirley is the sweet and motherly figure of the group, while Pierce is the eccentric and often insensitive older member. Together, they navigate the ups and downs of college life while forming deep bonds and learning more about themselves and each other.
Origins and Impact on NBC
Community premiered on NBC in September 2009 and quickly gained a cult following. The show’s unique blend of humor, clever writing, and meta-commentary on pop culture appealed to a niche audience. Despite its critical acclaim and dedicated fanbase, Community faced several challenges throughout its run, including multiple hiatuses and changes in showrunners.
However, Community’s impact on NBC cannot be ignored. The show served as a launching pad for several talented actors, including Donald Glover, who went on to achieve success in both music and acting. Community also pushed the boundaries of traditional sitcom storytelling, often experimenting with different genres and formats, which influenced future comedy shows.
Although Community faced cancellation multiple times, its passionate fanbase fought to keep the show alive. The show eventually found a new home on the streaming platform, Yahoo! Screen, for its sixth and final season.
Strengths of the Writing
One of the greatest strengths of the TV show Community lies in its exceptional writing. The writers of the show have managed to create a unique blend of comedy and clever storytelling that keeps viewers hooked from episode to episode. Here are some of the key strengths of the writing:
Pop Culture Parodies and Homages
The writers of Community have a knack for incorporating pop culture parodies and homages into the show. From episodes that pay tribute to classic movies like “Pulp Fiction” and “Goodfellas” to spoofing popular TV shows like “Lost” and “Law & Order,” the show is a treasure trove of pop culture references.
These parodies not only provide great entertainment value but also showcase the writers’ deep understanding and love for various genres.
Meta Humor and Self-Referential Comedy
Community is known for its meta humor and self-referential comedy. The show often breaks the fourth wall, with characters commenting on the absurdity of their own situations or referencing their existence within a TV show.
This self-awareness adds an extra layer of humor and makes the viewing experience even more enjoyable. It’s like the writers are winking at the audience, inviting them to be part of the joke.
Memorable Running Gags
One of the hallmarks of Community’s writing is its ability to create memorable running gags. These running gags, which are repeated throughout the series, become inside jokes for dedicated fans. They range from recurring catchphrases like “cool, cool, cool” and “streets ahead” to ongoing storylines like the rivalry between Troy and Abed’s pillow forts.
These running gags not only provide consistent laughs but also help to establish a sense of continuity and familiarity among viewers.
“Modern Warfare” – Action Movie Homage
“Modern Warfare” is widely considered one of the standout episodes of the hit TV show Community. In this episode, the writers took a bold and creative approach by paying homage to action movies. The result? An action-packed episode that kept viewers on the edge of their seats.
From the intense paintball battles to the clever references to iconic action movie scenes, “Modern Warfare” delivered in every way possible. It showcased the show’s ability to blend different genres seamlessly, making it a must-watch episode for both fans and newcomers to the series.
“Cooperative Calligraphy” – Bottle Episode
Another standout episode of Community is “Cooperative Calligraphy,” which is often praised for its unique storytelling format. This episode is what is known as a “bottle episode,” where the entire story takes place in a single location.
In this case, it’s the study room where the main characters spend most of their time. The episode explores how a seemingly small incident, the disappearance of Annie’s pen, escalates into a hilarious and chaotic search that reveals hidden secrets and tensions within the group.
It’s a testament to the show’s ability to create compelling narratives in confined spaces, and it’s a fan-favorite for its witty dialogue and brilliant character interactions.
“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” – Stop Motion Animation
“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” stands out not only for its heartwarming storyline but also for its unique animation style. In this episode, the show takes a break from its usual format and presents the story entirely in stop motion animation.
The result is a visually stunning and emotionally resonant episode that explores the themes of friendship, acceptance, and the meaning of Christmas. It’s a testament to the show’s willingness to push boundaries and experiment with different storytelling techniques.
“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” is often regarded as one of the most memorable episodes of Community and is a must-watch for fans of the show.
These standout episodes of Community demonstrate the show’s ability to innovate and captivate its audience. Whether it’s through action-packed homages, confined storytelling, or unique animation styles, Community continues to push the boundaries of what a TV show can achieve.
So, if you’re looking for a show that offers both laughter and creative storytelling, look no further than Community.
Brilliant Cast Performances
Joel McHale as Jeff Winger
One of the standout performances in the hit TV show “Community” is Joel McHale’s portrayal of Jeff Winger. McHale brings a charismatic and snarky charm to the character, making Jeff Winger both likable and flawed at the same time.
His comedic timing and delivery of witty one-liners are top-notch, adding a layer of humor to every scene he is in. McHale’s ability to effortlessly switch between comedy and drama showcases his versatility as an actor, making Jeff Winger one of the most memorable characters in the series.
Donald Glover as Troy Barnes
Donald Glover’s performance as Troy Barnes in “Community” is nothing short of brilliant. Glover’s natural comedic talent shines through in every episode, bringing a sense of innocence and naivety to the character.
His chemistry with the rest of the cast, particularly his on-screen best friend Abed, played by Danny Pudi, is electric and adds a dynamic element to the show. Glover’s comedic timing and physicality bring a unique energy to his scenes, making Troy Barnes a fan-favorite character among viewers.
Danny Pudi as Abed Nadir
Danny Pudi’s portrayal of Abed Nadir in “Community” is nothing short of genius. Pudi’s ability to embody the eccentric and pop-culture obsessed character is remarkable. His attention to detail in capturing Abed’s mannerisms and speech patterns adds authenticity to the role.
Pudi’s delivery of Abed’s deadpan humor and his spot-on impressions of various movie characters bring a level of hilarity to the show that is truly unmatched. His performance as Abed is a testament to his comedic talent and makes him a standout member of the cast.
Dedicated Fan Community
One of the most remarkable aspects of the TV show “Community” is its dedicated fan community. From the moment the show aired in 2009 until its final episode in 2015, fans of the show formed a passionate and engaged community that continues to thrive to this day.
Save Our Show Campaigns
When “Community” faced the threat of cancellation after its fifth season, fans took matters into their own hands. They launched a series of “Save Our Show” campaigns, utilizing social media platforms like Twitter and Tumblr to rally support and demonstrate their love for the show.
The dedication of these fans was truly extraordinary, with hashtags like #SixSeasonsandaMovie trending worldwide. Their efforts paid off, as the show was eventually renewed for a sixth season.
One notable example of the fan community’s determination was the “Six Seasons and a Movie” campaign. This catchphrase, coined by one of the show’s characters, became a rallying cry for fans who wanted to see the show continue.
It not only showcased the creativity of the fanbase but also demonstrated their ability to mobilize and make a significant impact.
In-Jokes and Memes
Another testament to the strength of the “Community” fan community is the creation of in-jokes and memes that have become synonymous with the show. These inside references range from recurring catchphrases like “Cool. Cool, cool, cool.”
to references to the show’s unique episodes, such as “Remedial Chaos Theory” and the “Pillow Fort” episode.
These in-jokes and memes have not only brought joy to the fans but have also served as a way for the community to connect and bond over their shared love for the show. It’s not uncommon to see fans using these references in online discussions, social media posts, and even incorporating them into their everyday conversations.
Lasting Pop Culture Impact
The impact of “Community” extends beyond its dedicated fan community. The show’s clever writing, pop culture references, and meta-humor have left a lasting impression on the television landscape. Its influence can be seen in subsequent TV shows, such as “Rick and Morty,” which shares the same creator, Dan Harmon.
Moreover, “Community” has become a cult classic, with new fans discovering the show through streaming platforms like Netflix. Its unique blend of humor, character development, and storytelling continues to captivate audiences, even years after its original airing.
The show’s enduring popularity is a testament to its quality and the loyalty of its fanbase.
In conclusion, Community succeeds in blending clever writing, an eccentric cast of characters, and a wide variety of storytelling methods to create a truly unique sitcom. While it never achieved mainstream popularity, its innovative style and meta-commentary on TV tropes earned it a dedicated cult following and high critical praise.
Over its six seasons, Community produced some of the smartest, most inventive comedy on television. Its legacy lives on through its vibrant online fan community, memorable characters and jokes, and influence on future shows.