Over the next few weeks, I’ll be summarizing my thoughts on many of the series that ended just as the “official” television season came to a close recently.
Overview: Though it offered a strong pilot, Community quickly evolved into something much better than what I originally thought it could be. As the first season progressed, the comedy integrated one pop culture reference after another into the zany world of Greendale Community College while slowly building up characters who could have existed as one-note stereotypes (though I still believe that was the intention all along). Modern Family and Glee have gotten all the awards buzz and have been praised for their respective hearts, but Community has figured out how to make sure its characters feel as well amid the sea of movie references.
Pros: I know that the series isn’t for everyone and I feel like it is tailor-made for someone like me, but damn, I love the reference humor. I can’t get enough of it. And thankfully, Community quickly figured out how to make the references seem organic enough that we weren’t just watching 22 minutes of “hey, reference! LOL!” humor. The character of Abed certainly helps with this hurdle considering he’s written as a person who can only relate to people through pop culture moments. I’m completely intrigued with how Abed is actually not that odd of a person in this world of ours because it does seem like as a society, we relate to one another based on references or knowledge of previous pop culture moments. Abed is actually much deeper and interesting than even the series thinks he is.
It’s more difficult to list the pros of comedy because I feel like things are so subjective and I’d end up just raving about each of the cast members, so what I’ll say is that every member of the cast deserves praise and they are a particularly strong group that has fantastic chemistry. The series’ writers were smart to branch the group off into a revolving door of pairs early in the season that allowed every character/actor to build up a rhythm with others so that by the time the second half of the season rolled around, jokes and beats hit us fast and hard and the actors had no problems dealing with it. No comedy with a somewhat large cast that I’ve ever watched from the beginning has had such great chemistry this early.
Finally, like I said in the overview, I do believe that Community has more heart than people give it credit for. There is an appearance of cynicism, especially from Jeff, but that’s the point. It’s a facade. Over the season, Jeff softened up and so did the series. And most of the other have an emotional charm that give things a nice core.
Cons: Honestly, the only problem I had with the series all season was how the Jeff-Britta romance was thrust upon us early in the season. The chemistry wasn’t there on a romantic level and the characters weren’t there emotionally, so it felt like a NBC note pushing the series to be something it wasn’t. Of course, the writers toyed with the mess in the season’s second half and it eventually felt right — just when they went another direction.
Best storyline: Not really a storyline, but the Abed-Troy relationship, it’s full of a win.
Worst storyline: The aforementioned Jeff-Britta pairing, mostly early in the season. I was okay with it during the season’s second half.
Best performer: Alison Brie — Jumping from the series drama of Mad Men to the character of Annie had to be a challenge, but Brie nailed it. She’s funny, sweet, awkward and sexy and the primary reason I bought into the Jeff-Annie pairing.
Best single moment: The “Goodfellas”-riffing montage in “Contemporary American Poultry.”
Three best episodes: “Contemporary American Poultry,” “Modern Warfare” and “Physical Education”
Worst episode: “Introduction to Statistics”
Where does it fix within the context of the whole series: Well, it’s the first season. So awesome!
Final grade: A
Past days of the wrap