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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Community grew into consistent funny

     I wasn't a fan of NBC's Community last year.  I think I watched two episodes, maybe a bit of a third, last fall, and found it much more stupid than amusing.  A friend told me that it improved by winter.  I gave it another chance, and the first episode I sampled at that time didn't impress me.  At her urging (she usually has really good taste in TV, especially comedies), I tried one more episode, and found it pretty funny.  And so, more because she was so excited about it, than because I wanted to, I pre-ordered the first season DVD and watched the whole season in a few days this fall.  I'm glad that I did.

     Community took a little time to find it's footing, but the reason that I wasn't much into it from my winter sampling was because it really builds on itself over time.  It's not exactly serial, although there are serial elements.  Most episodes are stand alone, though.  It's just that the characters go through a lot together, and somehow, the more you watch them, the more you grown fond of them, they way they have with each other.

     Last week in "Basic Rocket Sciene", most of the group is trapped in a KFC space simulator, except for Abed (Danny Pudi), who was so excited that he ran home to change into a space suit.  The episode parodied a number of astronaut movies as the study group tried to finish the simulator, while Abed and Dean Pelton (Reno 9-1-1's Jim Rash - why isn't he a main character yet?) guided them in.  And Pierce went crazy, an oppurtunity for Chevy Chase to act more weird and outlandish than he has in awhile.  He's a great comic actor, who has made some of the best and worth movies of all time, but I can see why he is enjoying himself in this show.  It was very funny.

     I'm still trying to figure out how Senor Change (Ken Jeong) fits into the show, though.  He was the mean teacher the first season, but then was fired, and has become a student.  Will he eventually integrate into the central study group, a friend to the other misfits?  He's not any more screwed up than the rest of them, after all.  Or will he morph into an even greater villain, intent on taking them down?  I can't decide which I'd rather see.

     The basic cast is led by Joel McHale (The Soup) as Jeff, but also includes Mad Men's Alison Brie as Annie, the aforementioned Chase, and occasionally, The Daily Show's John Oliver and the hilarious John Michael Higgins.  The lesser know actors, Donald Glover, Gillian Jacobs, and Yvette Nicole Brown have all also been around for awhile, and hold their own.  It's a true ensemble, and that's what works best.

     I have changed my mind on Community.  It's certainly not my favorite sitcom on television, but it's earned a season pass on my TiVo.  I hope it can do the same for you.  Community airs Thursday nights at 8pm on NBC.

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