NBC's Community: What's it like?

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"You've heard it's loser college."
-- Dean Craig Pelton

The esteemed Rob Buckley (Of The Medium is Not Enough) recently peaked my interest about a new sitcom which had arrived in NBC's stable. It's called Community and to quote the pair of tweets from Rob which got my interest:

"Community is actually as smart and maybe even better written than 30 Rock. "

"You have to admire a show that does heart warming, while cynically undercutting it, yet somehow still leaving the moment heartwarming."

That was enough to make me want to take a closer look at the show, which I did by plunging into watching the first two episodes - I figured that at worst it would be about forty minutes
lost watching them both and they might turn out to be entertaining.

So is this show going to be for you? Well check out the trailer yourself.

My first reaction when watching this went something like "Holy ****, is that Chevy Chase? It is, it's ****ing Chevy Chase! What the **** has he been doing all these years? Is he going to be any good?"

Short answer to that final question is yes, yes he is. Which is good because while there are other familiar faces in the show - Chevy is the biggest name there and as such it was important that he was still funny. Fortunately he is, he's been given a great character and he hasn't lost his comic timing.

That aside, what is Community about? As you will have gathered from the trailer the show centers around one Jeff Winger (Joel McHale - Talk Soup) a lawyer who has returned to community college after being disbarred for having an unacceptable law degree. He's a man who's used to getting his own way, using words to manipulate and control others. He initially meets talkative Abed (Danny Pudi) and then decides to form a fake study group in order to get closer to the attractive Britta (Gillian Jacobs). Abed is invited to the group by Britta and he in turn invites others to join. Turning Jeff's attempt at bedding Britta into a genuine study group.

The other people who join are divorcee Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown ), Troy (Donald Glover - 30 Rock), Annie (Alison Brie - 30 Rock) and of course Pierce (Chevy Chase). A disparate group of individuals drawn together by Abed (as as such indirectly by Jeff). It is this group which the show rotates around, supported (and taught Spanish) by the awesome Senor Chang (Ken Jeong - MADtv), Jeff's friend Professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver - The Daily Show) and Dean Craig Pelton.

Community is a show about these people, while it's still early days (just two episodes) and some of the characters still haven't had time to develop and explore their personalities they're already all distinctive and likable - even Jeff who's supposed to be a bit of a jerk. In fact that's something I'm a little concerned about, at this point there doesn't seem to be much in the way of an external antagonist, most likely the show will work through friction from it's disparate cast members instead - we'll have to see how things develop, 30 Rock for example evolved Alec Baldwin's character away from being antagonistic towards Liz and the show with great success.

The real thing which stands out about the show is not located in the pilot episode - which is more of a 'get to know the characters and situation', it's in the second episode 'Spanish 101' which builds up to a wonderful moment that is simultaneously heartwarming, funny, bizarre, cynical, world weary and just lovely. It's a moment with a lot of heart, tongue in cheek and is far better than any second episode moment has any right to be. This is in part thanks to the fact that the second episode is focused around Chevy's character Pierce and he really nails it.

I think I can feel pretty confident in predicting that Community is going to take off and become big in the same way that The Office and 30 Rock both have before. It's a clever, funny and entertaining show which has managed to provide a fresh enough spin on the old situation comedy. It reminds me of many great shows I've seen previously, and there's also something of the Brit-com in it's style as well. Which is to say - I like this show a lot and feel it's destined for big things, so get yourself in on the ground floor so you can say "I started watching Community before it became big" and have all your friends envious of you (or something).

If you're in the US the full episodes are available to watch at NBC's official site here.


1 comment so far.

  1. MediumRob 29 September 2009 at 11:39
    Glad you liked it!

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