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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.

Score: 7/10

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