Erixon is a junior politics and rhetoric double major and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
On March 15, the NBC sitcom “Community” returns to Thursday nights to finish out the end of its third season. If the experts and prognosticators are right, these will likely be the last episodes of “Community” that we will be lucky enough to see and I encourage all of you to tune in before it is too late. “Community” is one of a handful of shows with a legitimate claim to being the best show on television and, well, here’s why.
1. “Community” is one of the most inventive and original shows on TV
The show’s writers and creators consistently push boundaries and go to daring new places for a television show. From a clip show featuring flashbacks to episodes that never happened to the so-called “bottle episode,” in which the cast spends the whole episode in the study room looking for a pen, “Community” never stops playing with the medium. Its episodes function as homage to what television is and treatise on what television can be, and they still manage to be outrageously funny.
2. Greendale’s student body
“Community” revolves around seven students at a small community college in Colorado who form a Spanish study group and become unlikely friends. Now, of course, these seven characters are wonderful and fun to watch, and all of the peripheral characters that make up Greendale’s student body make this show truly great. From minor characters like Leonard with his frozen pizza reviews and Magnitude with his “Pop Pop!” to major characters like Senor Chang and Dean Pelton, this show’s environment is fully realized and richly illustrated.
Pop culture parodies
“Community” loves to lampoon pop culture, and television in particular, whether in the form of extended parodies or in quick references. This show is littered with the remains of our cultural artifacts. The thing that sets this show apart from the average pop culture parody is an underlying reverence, the sense that even while the writers take shots at different shows or genres, they deeply admire and respect those shows and genres and take their roles as part of pop culture very seriously.
The members of the study group constitute one of the most compellingly real and hilarious groups of friends ever to be shown on TV, and one of the joys of watching this show has been being able to witness that bond develop out of thin air. In the pilot, Troy was a former jock who had seen his future in football disappear and was looking for something new, and Abed was a weird, friendless TV fanatic who seemed to be from another planet. In the two and a half years since that original episode, they have become the best of friends despite their differences and, miraculously, it has all seemed natural.
Even while “Community” is laugh-out-loud hilarious on an incredibly consistent basis, it has also crafted some of the most deeply felt and emotionally honest half hours of television I have ever seen (and I’ve seen an awful lot of television). One great example that sticks out in my mind is “Mixology Certification,” which concerns Troy’s 21st birthday, and it is a brilliant meditation on the concept of maturity and the sense of “flying without a net” that one gets as they begin to venture out into the real world. The examples don’t end there. From the sweet and innocent nature of Troy and Abed’s friendship, to the darkly comic group rejection of Todd, to the truly horrendous tale of the murderous glee club director, this show backs up every joke with a weighty emotional punch