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!
on 19 November 2011
I love Community. I love it like something I feel belongs solely to me, but it's so great I want to share it with everyone. It's probably the most intelligent, self-aware sitcom on TV at the time of writing. It's incredibly quick-witted, so you'll need to be wide awake to catch all the gags, and it's especially rewarding on second and third viewings - the jokes either grow on you, or you'll catch things you missed the first time round.
The story: Jeff's just been disbarred as a lawyer, and so he's forced to go back to community college to earn a proper degree. Quickly becoming attracted to Britta, the surprisingly formidable, stereotype-breaking blonde girl from Spanish, he forms a fake study group in an effort to win her affections. Before you know it, Jeff's learning life lessons, and this loveable, roguish band of misfits come together as a sort of surrogate family. Comparisons abound to John Hughes' 'The Breakfast Club', but Community is clever enough to have Abed, the group's resident pop-culture expert and all-round guru, point these parallels out. That's the kind of show this is. It's so refreshingly sharp, and very postmodern, with most of the jokes seeming to almost reach out of the screen and interact with the audience on an intellectual level. It makes for some great television.
Everything about Community just works; the cast, the writing, the direction. It's destined to be a cult classic, which is a shame, as it means it'll never get the recognition it deserves. I know it's up against Parks & Recreation (currently one of the biggest and most successful American sitcoms, with good reason), but P&R will never have the same appeal to me as Community. I care far more about the study group than I'll ever care about the members of the Parks department.
A couple of things that continue to puzzle me: 1) why are we only getting Season 1 over here now, when the US is nearly halfway through the (hilarious and mind-bendingly fun) third season? and 2) why is this brilliant show in danger of cancellation?! NBC, this is golden, and the fans are trying to tell you as much. See the number of signatures on the 'Save Community' online petition if you don't believe me.
In ending, Dan Harmon has brought something truly unique, truly heartwarming, truly hilarious to our television screens, and I'll never be able to thank him enough. I love Community. I'm sure you will too.
on 5 November 2011
As a citizen of the UK I've been watching all these episodes online, but I'll be buying the DVD as soon as I can. It's absolutely criminal that the show has so little exposure over here, and I really hope they bring out the other seasons in our region. It is, in my opinion, the best sitcom on TV right now, bar none. A thought-provoking comedy with excellent writing.
on 31 October 2012
...to find the best sitcom of the last decade. The pilot and episode 2 are patchy, to be honest, trying very hard to introduce a lot of characters very quickly and it all feels a bit forced.
However, once you make it through these two episodes you are well on your way to falling in love with this incredibly written, witty, clever, beautifully acted ensemble comedy that will often have more well-crafted jokes in a single scene than many sitcoms manage over an entire series. Many times it's made me laugh out loud while watching on my own - an extremely rare occurence.
Enormously recommended, season 2 is even better, please bring out season 3 in the UK!
on 15 January 2012
This NBC show was recently reviewed in Empire Magazine, and sounded pretty intriguing, so I thought I'd give it a go. After watching the first series over a period of a week I have to admit that my wife and I are hooked!
Joel McHale, a stand-up comedian rather than an actor, is pretty natural as struck-off lawyer cum community college student, falling into a Spanish study group whilst attempting to catch the eye of Elisabeth Shue lookalike Britta. Along with Eighties comic icon Chevy Chase as ageing lothario and gullible fool Pierce, Donald Glover (no relation) as ex-High School star quarterback Troy Barnes, Alison Brie as the neurotic Annie, and the brilliant Danny Pudi as off-the-wall pop culture obsessive Abed, McHale struggles with dodgy tutors, a wildly inappropriate college dean, a manipulative head of psychology and the many idiosyncrasies of his fellow group members.
The premise of the show is to see the group interact in their various dysfunctional ways, whilst littering the script with popular culture references - mainly movies and music. The bizarre humour and oddball characters are what make this show special - occasionally the ideas fall a bit flat, hence four stars rather than five, but for the most part this is a heady mix of great interplay and inspired lunacy.
on 9 December 2011
Bought on a whim.
I then watched all 25 episodes in three days (that's a LOT of TV by my usually meagre standards).
The best sitcoms create their own bottle universe, and this soon does, at least after a few 'settling in' episodes.
A great ensemble cast, lovely flawed characters, both main and supporting, and my favourite thing of all, endless genre references (the best episode has to be the 'Die-Hard' tinged paintball story, towards the end of the 'season'), but the pool episode is pretty swanky too come to think of it
Alison Brie is totally unrecognisable from her 'Mad Men' role, and Chevy Chase is superb as a bewildered borderline bigot.
Sadly, it seems the show has been out on 'hiatus' (read cancelled) in the US, part way throught Season 3.
But at least the release of Season 2 on Region 2 is something to look forward too eh? and those 9 episodes of Season 3...
on 2 August 2012
I have never commented on a product. I have never cared about a tv series all that much. Sure, there are classics, ones I've watched back to back; prison break, 24, the wire, stuff like that. But then theres community. It took me 3 episodes to get into it, I now find myself actually being able to watch episodes numerous times (ive never done this before, i hate watching stuff twice), enjoying it more and more each time. I find the story, the comedy and the honesty of the writing nothing short of amazing. It has a huge amount of charm even when you're not laughing, I can't give it enough praise and I hope its popularity continues to grow so they can make more seasons. Hooked is an understatement. If your reading these reviews and thinking you'll be blown away instantly, you wont, but the addiction will grow as you watch on and then you will understand :)
Greendale Community College is seriously weird (its Spanish teacher Chinese, a yachting class in the car park, instant expulsion from pottery for anybody who mentions "Ghost"). In charge is the bald, rubbery limbed Dean, any scheme he masterminds guaranteed to misfire (not least his Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Fair).
Enter Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), ex-lawyer, now seeking qualifications which require the least possible effort. Dismayed, he finds himself heading a study group of misfits. Their relationships evolve hilariously....
Fine scripts, with storylines increasingly frenetic. Great cast, Chevy Chase the most familiar name - he entertainingly obnoxious as lecherous Pierson (any secret confided instantly Twittered).
The 4 disc set is crammed - 25 twenty minute episodes, all with commentaries. An Extras Bonanza includes four sets of outtakes. In a spoof documentary the creator laments cuts to his original women's rest room script, the original now shown with circumstances revealed in a completely new light. Especially enjoyed were the cast appraisals, they invited to assess their colleagues' performance (Chevy declaring it would not be a bad show once they got rid of Joel).
Self-mocking and full of digs at various films and shows ("Dead Poets Society", "Good Will Hunting", "Die Hard", "Glee" - to name but a few). Not everything works, but most of it does (especially when Abed is around).
Sit back, take a deep breath, and relish an exhilarating ride.
on 9 December 2011
This show is fantastic! It's utterly brilliant, there's nothing else to say about it.
I love basically everything about the show: the characters, the jokes, the popculture references that fly everywhere. This is one of my favourite shows and it never fails to deliver. There's nothing I want more for Christmas than the first season of this! (and the second season and the third and then I'd like six seasons and a movie, please!)
on 20 April 2012
Getting into a new sitcom can be a painful experience. The characters are often larger than life and the show is usually set in one or two rooms. This was certainly the case with `Community', the first 2 or 3 episodes seem hard to swallow as a bunch of zany characters all become students at a rubbish US Community College. However, stick with it and you realise that not all is as it seems, this sense of zaniness if not like `Scrubs' or the tweeness like `Glee'; `Community' is a far more acidic show than both of these and is knowingly mocking the conventions it sits on.
At its base `Community' is sitcom 101 - straight up guy, will they won't they girl, a set of wacky side characters. These are the foundations on which many popular sitcoms have built themselves and `Community' is not going to try and reinvent the wheel. What it does do is add a level of snarky humour and intelligence that is more in keeping with the likes of '30 Rock' than `Everyone Dislikes 2 and a Half Men'. By the middles of season 1 the `Community' writing team are openly mocking the nature of sitcoms with knowing asides and 4th wall breakage. By the time episodes set around paintballing appear you are completely hooked. Here is a sitcom that is not afraid to do anything - each week could be different, rather than the usual sitcom trap of every episode being the same.
With its darker tone `Community' may be a little harsh for some people, its not quite `Family Guy' but its heading in that adult direction. With such out-there characters the show can be a little `Glee'ful at times and each episode seems to end on a cheesy life lesson that can be nauseating. Throw in the fact that the characters take a few episodes to warm too and you have a show that is awesome, but only after a while. Will people give it the chance? I recommend that you do.