Television has grown more and more competitive these days, putting it up to Hollywood to keep their standards high. If you snooze you lose, and right now Hollywood’s threatening to take a long doze into hibernation.
This is due to fantastic shows – Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire and The Sopranos – breaking onto the scene in recent years. Sure, HBO dramas are garnering a lot of attention, but do any comedies deserve mention in that same list? Yes, actually. Louie, for one. And Curb Your Enthusiasm. South Park, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Arrested Development. And perhaps my favourite show of them all. Community..
Known for it’s pop culture references and ability to adopt other television shows’ styles and tropes, Community has become a favourite to comedy fans everywhere. After two and a half seasons, however, NBC decided not to include Community in its mid-season line-up, instead opting for the almost-as-funny 30 Rock. The remainder of season three’s episodes will be played after the mid-season line-up, but for now the long-term future of the show is unknown.
We need to save the show. Find out how you can help at the bottom of the page. Here are the Top 10 Reasons Community needs our help:
Without having a full and in-depth understanding of meta, I can say that Community uses a lot of meta, and I really like meta. This shall be brief to save myself a long and difficult time of research. I’ll say that as far as I know meta-humour is simply self-referencing for the purposes of comedy. The main culprit of this is Abed, the character suspected of having Asperger’s, who relates to everything via his knowledge of film and television.
I must warn you that watching the below shows – especially to a newcomer to the show – that you will most likely lose about two hours of your life watching “best of” clips of Community. While I would urge you to watch them episode by episode, I can not be to blame when click leads to click leads to click…
9. Dean Pelton
Señor Chang, Greendale College’s Spanish teacher, is known for using his own name to pun, but I prefer the wildness of Dean Pelton’s exuberance. With constant costume changes and extreme lack of safety provided in the college, including fake fire alarms, it’s hard not to warm to his well-meaning if intimidating ways. Anyone who has no shame dressing up as Madonna or saying “drive by Deaning”, I’m with him. The homosexual tension that’s constantly just around the corner is too much to handle at times and his fascination (let’s say fascination…) with Jeff Winger or anyone of the male gender is yet another inappropriate turn to add to everything else.
8. Annie’s Boobs
Well, it just speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
Oh, you haven’t seen that part?
Okay then, here you go:
Yes, so the monkey is named Annie’s Boobs. After Annie’s boobs, of course, but my praise goes not to any physical features of the beautiful and shapely Alison Brie, but the troublesome monkey who steals trinkets and hides out in the vents, as you’ve seen above.
7. Dan Harmon’s Writing
Joel McHale, before Community, was reading scripts and trying to choose his next role. He couldn’t find anything to his liking. When he read Harmon’s script for the pilot episode, he found it to be the best thing he’d ever read. With such great writing evident in the episodes, it’s not hard to see why.
Harmon and his team are not solely a comedic force but have a complete understanding of conflict, of exploiting television clichés and of playing with audience expectations.
If there is no return of Community after season three, be very excited for Harmon’s next project.
6. References and Homages
This is mostly Abed’s doing once again; the cultural reference machine. From Pulp Fiction to comparing the group to the Breakfast Club to treating a whole episode to the film Dinner with André, Abed’s references often add insult to injury, or humour to humour.
Abed’s love for (the abysmal) Cougar Town is one of the most loved references throughout the series. He needs calming down when he heard the show was moved to midseason, trying to stay positive by repeating “six seasons and a movie”.
And apparently Cougar Town likes to reference Community also. How nice.
Somehow the references to the unfunny show in the funny are more satisfying than the other way around…
5. Jeff Winger – How Is He So Likeable?
The casting of Community is one of the huge factors to its success. No character is more important than the central character and Harmon’s version of himself, Jeff Winger. Originally a cynical and money-hungry lawyer, and resisting as much as possible the charm of his misfit bunch of friends, Winger brings out the humanity of the group in every episode. Never out of speeches and always knowing what’s best (after many conscience-defying stunts) Winger keeps karma on the group’s side and keeps us in love with him and his friends.
4 .Troy and Abed
What is there to say? If you’re not aware of the phenomenon that is the best friendship on television today, you should be. You really need to be.
Their unashamed love for each other, their secret handshake, their improvised questions for Batman, their rap. Everything. They know how to tickle our funny bone as well as giving us a warm and tender feeling about our BFFs.
Troy is the high school quarterback who must adjust to being a regular unsure boy and Abed is the dysfunctional, emotionless, but utterly lovable Asperger sufferer who can’t relate to people, but who can always relate to his television shows.
I want to be in one these friendships. Imagining the same messed up fantasies as each other and losing all of the usual insecurities that are involved when you admit your innermost thoughts. Such as eating yourself if you woke up as a donut.
Perhaps the best thing they’ve ever done is get Jeff in at six in the morning…
Harmonies, people: “Troy and Abed in the Mooooorning!”
Aside from the wonderfully-rounded and equally discriminated group are a host of enigmatic fellow students whose presence allows for some top quality laughs in the classroom. For a start we have Star-Burns, known solely for his star-shaped side burns, as you do. (He likes to be called Alex, but who cares?) There’s the devilishly troublemaking OAP Leonard; Vaughn, the eternal hippy with the world’s smallest nipples and Fat Neil, who likes Dungeons & Dragons and is, well, fat.
That’s just for starters. In addition to the fantastically off-kilter Ken Leong as Señor Chang, the single episode cameos that feature in the series are second to none.
More interested in some bigger names? Jack Black as the desperate friend Buddy, Anthony Michael Hall as the ignorant bully and Drew Carey is Jeff’s ex-boss. Betty White is an anthropology lecturer who raps with my boys for Chrisakes!
Community cameos are second to none. And this beats all;
It’s Patton Oswalt! Yes!
Not the bad kind, where your prejudices hurt those of a specific ethnicity, but the funny kind that plays on our racial stereotypes and challenges you to think in a more open way. Making you laugh in the process is an added bonus, of course, and there is no fear of Community letting you down in that respect.
With the group featuring as many different ethnicities and character types as possible – Annie Edison’s character was originally Asian, but had to be changed due to difficulty in finding a suitable actress – and playing on each of their different character flaws to brilliant results.
1. The Dedication and Forward Thinking
Sitcoms, especially in the modern day are becoming more and more predictable and reliant on simple
character traits. Oh, Charlie Harper makes a sexual innuendo. Oh, both Mike and Molly are fat, and therefore like to eat. Hilarious.
Not only are the jokes in Community a lot funnier than the average situational comedy, but the intellect that they put into their craft and the respect they show their audience by pushing their writing as far as they can go is never seen and really respectable.
The best example of this is the Beetlejuice gag. Three years of preparation went into a single gag, showing how into comedy Dan Harmon and his team are. In three separate seasons, the word Beetlejuice was mentioned, and if you’ve ever seen Beetlejuice you know what happens when you mention him a third time…
Talk about dedication and forward thinking. Or obsession, if you feel that way. Either way, you won’t see anything that intricate in your typical shallow sitcom.
Still not convinced?
Watch Troy write a joke:
Oh dear. I miss it.
Don’t you miss it?
Feel free to take part by “hash tagging” ( Hashtagging sounds like an explicit manoeuvre…)
#SaveCommunity, #SixSeasonsAndAMovie or #OccupyNBC and do your part to saving Greendale.
By Conor O’Hagan