Save ‘Community’! Why You Should Be Watching

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Late in 2011, NBC announced that they would be indefinitely shelving the series Community to make room for Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea? Then on Jan. 6, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt announced that the series was not cancelled and that the remaining episodes would eventually air. Yet a date has not been set, and whether or not Community will last this remaining season is still a mystery. Community has a dedicated fan base and is praised by critics, but in terms of ratings it does not fare as well as other NBC series. It is time to change that. If you have not yet tuned in, this is why you should.

1. Chevy Chase

The grandma/grandpa saying dirty things gimmick is not very fresh. (Betty White in The Proposal). But Chase’s dirty old man Pierce Hawthorne pulls it off. His humor is the farthest thing from politically correct and his comedic timing is spot on:
“I'll give you the same advice my father gave me the night I lost my virginity: just pick one; they all cost the same.”
“I'll show you the tool that's most important to our survival… but fair warning, it's my penis.”
He says things with blatantly prejudiced undertones and then contradicts them with his actions. Despite his unsavory bits, the study group still accepts Pierce, and he accepts them.  In the study group’s family of misfits, Pierce is the great uncle that gets drunk at Thanksgiving and says embarrassing things. We grew up with Clark Griswold’s disastrous family vacations, and Chase was one of the inaugural members of Saturday Night Live. In 2012, he is still making us laugh on Community.

2. Theme Episodes

When Community does a “special” episode, the production team and writers go the extra mile. For “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” the opening credits were changed to give the episode an epic medieval feeling ala Game of Thrones. There was even a narrator with a British accent guiding the episode. Then “Modern Warfare” had the school facing off in a paintball game that carried enough references to make any film fan giggle. There was the obvious Chang (Ken Jeong from The Hangover) doing homage to Scarface, and the more obscure like the 28 Days Later moment when Jeff (Joel McHale) walked outside to a quad that was empty except for plastic buckets. For the first Christmas special, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”, the episode was animated to look like the classic Claymation Christmas specials from the 70s. The most recent Christmas special, “Regional Holiday Music” was a musical parody of Glee, obviously pointing out the repetitive nature of the show.



3. The Guest Stars

Community takes actors that we love in other series and rarely see now, and ironically places them into the show. As a fan of The Wire, it was nothing less than spectacular to see Omar Little (Michael K. Williams) in a pink sweater teaching biology. The eternal 80s nerd Anthony Michael Hall played a bully in the second season. LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow fame guess starred as himself to surprise his biggest fan, Troy (Donald Glover). Sawyer from Lost (Josh Holloway) turned up in the second paintball episode, “A Fistful of Paintballs” (another homage, this time to spaghetti westerns).  Other guest stars like Owen Wilson, Jack Black, Patton Oswalt and Betty White have all appeared in episodes.



4. Abed

Abed is socially awkward and uses his extensive knowledge of film and movies to relate to others. He is the observer of the group and often compares what he witnesses to scenes in movies. He spent nearly an entire episode reenacting My Dinner With Andre and dressed up as Batman to save the day. He also played Don Draper for a few minutes and almost planted a big wet one on Annie (Alison Brie). He is the heart of the show, the fourth wall that keeps the other characters in check. He has a deadpan delivery of brutally honest observations about his friends. His mannerisms are childlike and his character has become a favorite on the series. “I’ll admit it, I’ve fallen madly in love with Abed Nadir,” Sarah Rochman, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh said.



5. Because it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside

The heart of the show is the friendship that forms between the ragtag study group, despite the fact that the characters seem to have nothing in common. Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) is a devoted Christian, Britta (Gillian Jacobs) is a feminist, Abed is a walking film encyclopedia with Asperger’s, Annie is an overachiever schoolgirl, and yet somehow, they come together every week and form a beautiful dysfunctional family. Troy was the popular football star in high school and Jeff is a back-to-school lawyer who’s almost 40, but they are still the best of friends, and you genuinely believe that they could be in the real word. The show proves that people have far more depth than the labels given to them, and that anyone can be a friend if you take a moment to look beyond what is obvious. “Community is perfection,” Harrison Friday, a sophomore at Columbia College, Chicago said. 

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