TLDR: Not to oversell it, but Community is probably the best comedy series there has ever been.
What’s it about?
A disbarred lawyer is sent to Greendale Community College after it’s discovered that he faked his law degree. Set in his smarmy ways, he tries to lie his way closer to “the hot blonde from Spanish class” and inadvertently forms a study group of oddballs and outcasts.
Why watch it?
At base, it is Community’s warmth and wackiness that makes it quite unlike anything else on TV. The study group differ wildly in everything from age, to race, to philosophy, yet they quickly become a credible family. Though the show is totally off-the-wall, often labelled a live-action cartoon (with some episodes of actual cartoons) the relationships between the seven students are incredibly genuine. Aging and wealthy Pierce is desperate for validation from detached group leader Jeff. Pop culture nerd Abed and former jock Troy form an unlikely, childlike friendship that leads to unexpected growth. Abrasive anarchist Britta struggles to connect with her fellow female students: divorced Christian housewife Shirley and recovering addict/valedictorian Annie. The dynamics shouldn’t work, and the group seems perpetually on the verge of combustion, but somehow they always pull through and are all the more sincere for it.
Starting strong with Breakfast Club tones in the pilot, every episode alludes to if not outright spoofs pop culture – there’s never any shortage of material. Community is dense with referential humour, but clever, fresh writing keeps it from becoming alienating. Set within a small group, the show quickly develops running gags and over time these begin to feel like the best kind of in-jokes. The fanbase have even adopted Abed’s rallying cry of “Six Seasons and a Movie” (to save NBC’s The Cape) as their campaign to keep Community on the air. It’s a sense of kinship that the showrunners work hard to earn from their viewers, a prime example being this scene in which Dan Harmon pays homage to this fan made video. All in all, the show is aptly named: it’s a ‘community’ that transcends the screen, the cast and crew, and fully encompasses the fans. Community has had many close calls, with key players on-screen and off getting fired or dropping out at regular intervals, and threats of cancellation after almost every season, but the unparalleled loyalty of the fans has brought it back time and time again.
NBC eventually dropped Community after its fifth season in 2014, and it really did seem like that was that. It was only three hours before the cast’s contracts were due to expire that they found their second life on Yahoo Screen, where the show will return for its sixth season in March. Until then you can catch up on all five seasons on Netflix, and you absolutely should. There’s a reason it keeps coming back! All backstage drama aside, it’s totally worth becoming a part of this community. We’re almost there! #SixSeasonsandaMovie.