Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dropping Out of Community

I eagerly anticipated the premiere of NBC's Community for one reason: Joel McHale.  The hilarious host of The Soup (one of the best shows on TV for years now) was finally breaking out into the world of fictional comedy and it sounded like he had a decent premise to back him up: an ethically-challenged lawyer is forced to go back to community college.  No doubt hilarity could ensue...

The show started off well enough.  As I assumed, McHale was charismatic and funny in the lead role and the writing was snappy, self-aware, and filled with great pop culture references.  I got a Tivo season pass for Community when it broke out a Breakfast Club reference in the first ten minutes of the pilot - "Hey, smoke up, Johnny!"  The supporting cast was hit or miss.  I thought Donald Glover nailed every line and Allison Brie was a bright spot, but Danny Pudi's speed-talking Abed was getting on my nerves very early on and I have long thought that it is time to take Chevy Chase's hand and gently lead him to the retirement home.  The man has lost his comic timing completely.  Ken Jeong is an interesting case.  He was either hysterical or embarrassingly awful depending on the line reading.  I blame that problem on the writers.  Come to think of it, Jeong was terrible in The Hangover, but I digress.  The point is that Community was pretty funny and I looked forward to new episodes throughout the first season.

Over time, however, my opinion changed.  I don't think the writing went downhill.  I think that it was never very good to begin with.  I realize that I was trying hard to like the show because the writing was so damn amiable - old-fashioned even.  The characters are nice people deep down and each episode has them learning a life lesson and having a figurative (though occasionally literal) group hug.  I like this aspect of Community, but, the show is just not as funny as it should be.  I find myself smiling more than laughing and now that I have gotten through two dull episodes of season 2, I am tired of waiting for the show to knock an episode out of the park.  We have another season pass casualty of this young fall season.  My Tivo space is precious and if I need something really funny, I'll flip on an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Side note - I must give credit where credit is due - I was thoroughly entertained by the paintball episode, but that was pretty far outside of the formula for a Community episode, the awful Godfather/Goodfellas chicken-strip one notwithstanding.


  1. I was psyched about this show for McHale too. We caught an episode and always "meant to" catch another, but kept forgetting. Glad to hear yr wrap up confirm my suspicions- that we weren't really missing much.

  2. Personally thinking that Community's the best comedy on tv as of the moment. The dynamic of the show can be stretched, because all characters apart of the ensemble cast can cater to humorous occasions they have given time. The writing is excellent, proved by their ability to parody and reference movies and shows of the past, with no boundary, as shown by 'Modern Warfare', and 'Contemporary American Poultry'. Of course, the direction is also above adequate, with regular works from Joe and Anthony Russo, known for their time spent on Arrested Development, among other great comedies.

  3. I'm with mistakingsolitude, Community is great. Their ability to poke fun at movies not just in dialog, but in editing and camera work as well, continues to impress me and make me laugh.

    But if I had to decide between an episode of Community and an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I'd take a pass on Community too.