Top positive review
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The cleverest funniest sitcom currently on air
on 11 September 2011
I was initially skeptical when online friends hailed this show as "brilliant" but given the fact the same forum told me to watch "arrested development" and "It's always sunny in Philidelphia" I decided to give it a try. First off I'd say the show has more in common with arrested development, particularly in its meta-moments and parodying of other shows - although the show's main character Jeff is one of those likeable unlikeable people. It took me a few episodes to get used to the show's style as there are a couple of worrying "scrubs" emotional growth moments (although the show eventually mocks these scrubs comparisons) and some of the characters take a while to get used to. Abed for example is a character who actually thinks he is in a TV show and is always comparing the episode's events with other TV shows. At first I thought this may turn out to be an annoying gimmick but it turns out the writers and the actor absolutely nails this approach. Similarly characters like "troy" appear to be simplistic "jock" archetypes but you soon realise the character has a lot more to him and that the actor Donald Glover is an excellent physical comedian. After a few episodes I completely got into the show's groove and it rarely makes a mis-step throughout the remaining 20 episodes something that is incredibly rare for a sitcom. There are too many great moments to mention but the obvious highlight is "modern warfare" which is an entire episode parodying "28 days later", "Battle royale" and many other film tropes, within the setting of paintball. "Beginners pottery" and "Physical education" are also great episodes where the entire cast gets a moment to shine.
Special mention also has to be made of Ken Jeong, who plays an asian spanish teacher. For people unfamiliar with the actor he had some hilarious moments in "the hangover" and "Transformers 3). If you enjoyed those samples you will love him in Community where he exudes repulsiveness throughout and is a character you love to hate.
It's truly a crime that this show hasn't been broadcast on a mainstream UK channel as in many ways I think it's a show the British would embrace more strongly than the American audience it is aimed at as it has far more in common with shows like "extras" than it does "friends". Luckily the DVD is now available in the UK at a bargain price. For those worried about whether it's worth owning the DVD I should point out I rewatched the entire season just recently and found there were so many in-jokes I missed the first time around and that the initial episodes are a lot stronger when you know how the show progresses. There are also some hilarious extras on the DVD, the highlight of which is the "end of season report" in which the show's creator interviews the main cast to understand why the show's ratings dropped so much after the premiere. This is funny in itself but is made even more entertaining by the fact that all of the cast play parodies of themselves.
I'll be buying season 2 as soon as it becomes available!