Community (Season 1)
Community (Season 1): after being disbarred a hot-shot lawyer finds himself at Greendale community college, and befriended by a study group of high-level social stereotypes. First off, it’s a great bunch of characters, and this show would be nothing without solid characters. They’re well-drawn, with a range of strengths & flaws, and most impressively, almost every pairing of the 7 mains have a unique relationship which is explored in at least one episode, or hinted at through the season. Troy and Abed’s bromance in particular is great to watch, and although 7 is a weird number, it works well and means there’s lots of material. Expanding the cast further are a great ensemble of supporting characters that keep re-appearing: Dean Pelton being one of the best, but not to forget Starburns, Vaugn, and Senor Chan. After the cast, the biggest strength is the comedy writing; which heaps on loads of dry, fast, witty, sharp lines: because of this, the 20 minute episodes are short, punchy and fun to watch – barring Jack Black’s appearance – and most importantly, they’re very moreish. The only main downside that limits my enjoyment is the continual, heavy, explicit use of parody / meta / tropes / genre clichés that one character in particular (a pop-culture nerd with hints of aspergers) continually explains – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but every time it distances you by shouting “you’re watching a TV”. Abed’s role as a meta bridge and observational/explanatory character is a bizarre one, but he handles it like a boss. The ‘parody‘ element is a strength and a weakness. Best episodes are Goodfellas Chicken Fingers and Paintball (action hero movie) episodes – but they are the least original, and blatant borderline cheesy movie/genre rip-offs! For the amount of raw talent and comedy potential in the cast, and despite being funny, Season 1 does feel soft, polished and a little too safe – but above all else, it shows that the show has major potential.
I actually think the “meta” and pop-culture referencing aspects of Community, as well as its parodies, are the biggest strengths of the show. I’ve seen every episode, so I agree that the first season is not perfect but this series just gets better every year. It’s one of the most underrated shows on air.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it, and think it’s cool/cute when they do the whole parody schtick, however, I feel that with writing this good and a cast this talented that they’re taking the easy way out by riffing so heavily on predictable genre tropes / stereotypes / storylines. As good as the ‘borrowed’ episodes are, I much prefer the ones that explore the ‘real’ characters and delve into their backgrounds/personalty properly.
I’m with fernandorafael – the pop culture references and all of the meta stuff makes Community stand out from all the other comedies and sitcoms on TV at the moment. Though, it does make it slightly less accessible – either you get those moments, or you don’t.
Season 2’s excellent. It just gets better. Incredibly underrated and one of the funniest things on TV at the moment.
I agree with Jaina :)
See comment above to fernandorafael