by James Conn, Peak Associate
I knew of popular sitcom Community for a few years prior to actually watching it, mainly because I am a massive fan of the creator and producer of the show – Dan Harmon (best known for Rick and Morty). Additionally, the fact that I was already a fan of some of the cast members such as Ken Jeong and Donald Glover really spiked my interest. But for some reason it took me so long to actually watch it and WOW, I absolutely loved it. Now, years after the show’s finale, rumours of a movie are circulating more and more. The cast have said they are interested, Dan Harmon is pushing to make it happen, and according to one of the show’s producers, Chris McKenna, the script is already written. There has never been a better time to start watching (or rewatching) this beloved series.
The series is set at the fictional Greendale Community College and revolves around seven students in a study group navigating their way through post-secondary. Joel McHale plays Jeff Winger, a disbarred lawyer who is forced to attend Greendale to get his degree. He lies about being a Spanish tutor in the hopes of sleeping with his classmate Britta Perry (played by Gillian Jacobs). However, she invites Abed Nadir (played by Danny Pudi) who then invites four of their other classmates to the study session: Troy Barnes (played by Donald Glover), Annie Edison (played by Alison Brie), Shirley Bennett (played by Yvette Nicole Brown), and Pierce Hawthorne (played by Chevy Chase). Together they make up a “study group.”
At first glance, it may seem like just another generic school-based sitcom — which would be a fair assessment after watching the first few episodes of season one. However, once you get further into the show, Community subverts audiences’ expectations by satirizing sitcom tropes, deconstructing genres, and parodying popular culture. The show will often completely change the established format of sitcoms by paying homage to another TV show or movie. These episodes add great variety to the conventional genre of sitcoms.
Furthermore, Community has some of the smartest and efficient storytelling told within a sitcom format. Each episode is meticulous in setting up story points then paying them off later, so you never feel disappointed.
We are all probably aware of Ken Jeong’s pervasive “HA GAYYYYYYY!” moment on the show. It has been reused and repurposed into a massively popular meme, which is the type of crude humour I was expecting from the show. However, Community is by far the smartest, wittiest, funniest, and engaging sitcom series I have ever watched, and I have watched a lot of sitcoms over the years.
I believe one of the main reasons this show resonates with me so much is that the characters do not feel like characters. They feel like real people. . . but not just any people, they feel like your best friends — friends that you know inside and out. People that you grow close with over the course of the show’s six-season run.
I have watched other sitcoms Parks and Rec and The Office many times and they are great, but the emotional response I get from Community is so unique. All the meta humour mainly revolving around Abed and his seeming awareness that they are in a TV show is amazing. Also, all the pop-culture references to other shows and movies are great. I was genuinely sad when I finished the last episode because it felt like the end of an era, even though I had only spent about two weeks binging the entire series. Simply put, Community is different from any other sitcom out there and you should definitely check it out.