"We earn the right to pick on Greendale by going there every day. Our school may be a toilet, but it's our toilet. Nobody craps in it but us." - Jeff Winger
On paper, Community is a show about students enrolled in a community college that aired from 2009-2013 on NBC and then 2014 on Yahoo Screen. However, it's kind of a difficult show to describe, as it could be something completely different from week to week. It started with the normal premise of a Spanish study group forming at Greendale Community College, but there was very little studying happening in any given episode due to all of the strange happenings at Greendale born out of rather mundane situations. Who could have known that a quick game of paintball would turn into a school wide war zone when the prospect of priority registration is put up as a prize, or that losing a pen would cause the study group to lock themselves in the study room until it could be found, that an epic pillow fight would break out to determine whether they should be building a pillow or a blanket fort, or that their former Spanish teacher would become a crazy dictator trying to take over the school? Heightened realities, meta humor, homages, and parodies abound in this show that constantly redefined what it was.
The best part of Community is how smart the writing was and the chemistry between the cast. You could just tell that, behind the scenes drama aside, the majority of the actors all had a blast working together on the show. Aside from the fourth season, where creator and original showrunner Dan Harmon was replaced, the show never dumbed itself down to appeal to a greater audience and it made no apologies for being as weird as it could be. I've heard it described as the anti-Big Bang Theory, which is perfect because one is a show about "nerds" created for the general public, and the other is a show about a diverse cast of characters created for a very niche audience. No other show could get away with half of the crazy concept episodes Community produced, but within the world of Greendale Community College, it made sense, and there was always that one self aware foot planted in reality to ground the more outlandish stories with character development and heart. While all of the characters had their quirks and personality defects, we as an audience were supposed to laugh at them - not from a malicious point of view, but from a place of understanding. It was also so refreshing to see a show where the focus was not on the romantic relationships between the characters, but rather the friendships. All of the female characters were rounded individuals not defined by their relationship with a man. Britta in particular was always allowed to be a mess who you couldn't help but root for when everyone else on the show knocked her down again and again.
It's kind of a miracle that Community made it to six seasons given how it never had massive appeal with the general public, even though it was pre-destined by the show itself that there would be six seasons and a movie (still waiting on that one!). You either get it or you don't, which obviously didn't help with the ratings through the years. The show definitely morphed and evolved as the seasons went on, as is necessary for any show, but it still retained its heart and unique voice right up until the end. Sure, the study group may have become a committee to save Greendale and several of the original Greendale Seven left and were replaced by new characters, but those changes allowed the characters to grow and kept the show from getting stagnant. It's so rewatchable and still laugh out loud funny years later. Community is a show for the geek in us all where we can celebrate the strangeness that makes us unique without having to apologize for it because we are all Human Beings. E Pluribus Anus.
|Character||Jeff Winger, Dean Pelton, Britta Perry||Pierce, Dean|
|Episode: Season 1||Investigative Journalism, Beginner Pottery||Social Psychology, Introduction to Statistics, Home Economics, Beginner Pottery|
|Episode: Season 2||Basic Rocket Science, Epidemiology, Advanced D&D, Paradigms of Human Memory||Basic Rocket Science, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons|
|Episode: Season 3||Remedial Chaos Theory, Pillows and Blankets, Digital Estate Planning||Remedial Chaos Theory, Digital Estate Planning|
|Episode: Season 5||Cooperative Polygraphy, Geothermal Escapism, Advanced Advanced D&D||Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons|
|Episode: Season 6||Advanced Safety Features, Modern Espionage, Emotional Consequences of Broadcast TV|
|Relationship||Jeff/Dean, Troy and Abed, Jeff and Rich||Troy and Abed, Jeff and Britta, Jeff and Dean|
|Song||Dean Pelton's Peanut Rap, Somewhere Out There||Getting Rid of Britta, Kiss From a Rose|