With a week to go before Community returns, courtesy of Yahoo, Rob McCarthy pays tribute to the groundbreaking sitcom and looks back at 6 essential episodes.
I absolutely love Community. When it hits, it hits harder than any other sitcom on television today. I was gutted when NBC cancelled the series when it was so close to 'six seasons and a movie' but I stayed confident that Community would manage to find a new home somewhere else, somewhere that appreciates the greatness of this show. Yahoo TV have done well to pick up this gem, I'm eager to get into the sixth season and discover what Dan Harmon has in store for the Greendale 7 (well, it's now the Greendale 4 + Chang!). Before we get to that though the off-season has been a great time to dig out the DVD box sets and re-watch some of the finest episodes of Community. Here's my choice of 6 of the best...
Modern Warfare (Season 1, Episode 23)
Starting with one of the most well known episodes of Community, the original paintball episode. Modern Warfare cemented the fact that Community really was a very good, very funny sitcom, and made sure people would still be talking about the show years after it finished. The plot is pretty much a straightforward parody of action
movies but replacing the guns with paintball guns. Ken Jeong is at his finest, and funniest throughout, plus this episode features
some of the series’ best pop culture parodies. Modern Warfare was directed by Justin Lin of the Fast and Furious movies and may be Community’s finest half hour.
Cooperative Calligraphy (Season 2, Episode 8)
Cooperative Calligraphy is a great episode of television which both mocks and recreates 'Bottle Episode's'. While most famously employed on the various Star Trek
series (where it is more obvious), Abed and later Jeff make it clear
that the entire episode will take place in the study room, making the
action taking place outside (a puppy parade) all the more humorous. The
episode manages to make all the characters both likeable and unlikeable
at the same time, and is again one of Community’s absolute best 22 minutes.
Advanced Dungeons And Dragons (Season 2, Episode 14)
Amazingly, the studio never wanted this episode to be produced thinking that Dungeon’s and Dragons would never be accessible enough for a viewing audience. Did they not know by the mid-point of season 2 just who was watching this show? It's a perfect topic and by raising the stakes of the game to an
almost insanely high level in the opening segment the episode has an
incredible level of tension underneath it. The episode marks Pierce's true descent into villainy, plus Advanced Dungeons And Dragons gave us the debut of Fat Neil, who would become yet another member of Community’s amazing recurring background cast.
Paradigms Of Human Memory (Season 2, Episode 21)
Another season 2 episode (it's the shows strongest year) and one that perfectly mocks the clip show format. The study group begin to reminisce about their favorite times
together and we're presented with a clip show featuring all new clips - episodes that never happened, and amazingly funny ones too. Highlights include the group being institutionalized, a trip they made to a western ghost town, a last
minute glee club performance and the array of costumes that Dean Pelton
has managed to wear over the years.
Remedial Chaos Theory (Season 3, Episode 4)
Remedial Chaos Theory, or the darkest timeline episode, is another of Community's finest half hours,
showcasing all of the cast in different ways while again showcasing
each character’s importance to the group. As the group gathers around to
play Yahtzee in Troy and Abed’s new apartment, they roll a die to see who has to go outside to fetch the pizza, creating six different
timelines where different fates befall the group. It explores the group
dynamic, establishes the darkest timeline and is full of great, silly,
Digital Estate Planning (Season 3, Episode 20)
Such a clever episode. Digital Estate Planning features a retro 8 bit video game with all the cast as playable characters. After being summoned to the reading of Pierce's father's will the study group are instructed that they must complete the game to win the inheritance. It's a perfect send-up of a classic Nintendo Entertainment System game and I defy anyone to not be laughing out loud at the sight of Troy continually bouncing around the screen. Plus Digital Estate Planning gave us a brilliant cameo from Giancarlo Esposito as Pierce's half-brother, Gilbert Lawson.
(You can download a version of the game here)
The sixth season of Community will premiere on Yahoo! Screen on March 17th, 2015, with a two-episode premiere with new episodes being released every Tuesday thereafter.
Check out the new season trailer...