Can you feel it in the air? October 19th finally takes over hearts on this February 7th, and Community once again airs tonight on NBC.
After last year’s delays and controversies, many doubted whether we’d see the study group’s antics ever again. They had plenty of reason to worry, of course — Dan Harmon’s less-than-ceremonious exit as showrunner; public issues with Chevy Chase; Megan Ganz’s exit as writer; its forced “indefinite hiatus” from the fall schedule — but it looks like it finally all systems go for the small Colorado-based community college.
And so the sun shines again, smiling down on the flag that proudly proclaims “E Pluribus Anus.”
To prepare for the new semester, your summer homework was to watch all three seasons of Community, but you’d only be a proper Greendale student if you neglected to do it entirely. So, here’s a cheat sheet with some of the best moments of the Greendale Seven (+ two).
The Greendale Seven’s uncontested leader, Jeff Winger is the epitome of cool (also, narcissism.) When he realizes that he’s more handsome that the guy famous for being handsome (an already great joke, considering Joel McHale’s constant quips about Ryan Seacrest on The Soup), Jeff’s ego reaches crazy new heights – akin to the extremely poor analogy of an an apple growing so big it pops. And thus, Seacrest Hulk was born.
Despite his faults, he always finds a way to keep the group together. Usually with a rousing speech that in no way is a rehash of speeches he’s made before.
As beautiful as Gillian Jacobs is, you can never overlook how Britta is the AT&T of people. She’s well-intentioned (for the most part), but she’s also the person that finds joy in getting Chang’d with a stun gun.
Later, Britta discovered how much she liked “therapizing” her fellow study group, going so far as to diagnose Jeff with an “edible” complex without even reading the whole chapter about it (S3E6: “Advanced Gay.”)
She’s the worst. Seriously. (But we love her anyway.)
The overachieving Annie Edison is as full of passion as she is of naivete. So much so that you can’t help but laugh when she’s put into a situation when her sweetness dies away in a wave of righteous fury, overt insanity, or, at times, shockingly graphic sexual prowess:
She isn’t without her faults, though. As much flak as Britta gets, Annie’s actions have often had bigger consequences for the group, like when she nearly sold Greendale out for City College in “Basic Rocket Science” or in this scene, when she had Chang removed as Spanish teacher:
But no matter her offenses or Jeff’s protests, you just can’t deny those doe eyes. (Also, this.)
Abed’s worst (best?) character trait is his inability to connect with other human beings, except through established movie paradigms. This, of course, gave birth to some of the best episodes of series: the Goodfellas-inspired chicken finger empire (S1E21: “Contemporary American Poultry”), the “My Dinner with Andre” Dinner with Abed (S2E19: “Critical Film Studies”), and, of course, the Star Wars-inspired paintball episode.
The middle of season 3 was Abed’s crowning moment, as he lead the United Forts of Pillowtown to war against Troy’s Legit Republic of Blanketsburg. In a two-parter that should have been nominated for an Emmy, these episodes rolled a giant pop culture reference (Ken Burns’ documentaries), tons of jokes, and plenty of heart all into one delicious helping.
Despite Shirley’s Christian proclivities, Troy often finds himself being the moral center of the group. He’s the one most relatable to the audience, and we find ourselves thinking what Troy often gets around to saying. Of course, he does have his own Greendale-appropriate storyline: he discovers he is the Truest Repairman — “I’m pretty much their Messiah” — ultimately defeating Vice Dean Laybourne’s killer in the Sun Chamber. But when all is said and done and things have the potential to get even crazier, he’s the one that says “no.”
Still, he can’t be completely perfect, and when he isn’t, he’s hilarious.
Donald Glover crying is just about the best thing ever.
Shirley’s combination of maternal, sweet, and sassy is pefectly portrayed by Yvette Nicole Brown, but her best moments are ones where she isn’t necessarily on screen. When trying to help Pierce reclaim his inheritance by playing a video game, Annie gets herself into a bit of a sticky situation — one that Shirley seems all too eager to clean up.
We often hear of Shirley’s dark past, but we’ve only gotten a few glimpses of it here and there: during Troy’s 21st birthday (S2E10: “Mixology Certification”) and the fact that she slept with Chang (S2E6: “Epidemiology.”) But in this third season episode, we discover that her darker past goes all the way back to childhood, as she took the time to humiliate other kids at foosball — including a pint-sized Jeff. This eventually spiraled into the Jeff vs. Shirley anime-style parody that is unforgettable.
Pierce’s best moments are a bit more somber than the others; he often finds a semblance of humility and heart only after making some horrible mistake (or after making the other realize that they’ve made similar horrible mistakes.) He is just as flawed and human as the rest of them, but only after you carve away at the shell of racism, sexism, and self-importance.
But while those moments are humanizing and real, they’re not nearly as funny. So, here’s two clips of Pierce at his best:
Ben Chang and Craig Pelton
And for a great bonus, Hulu put together two great videos highlighting the best of Spanish Professor Security Guard Emperor of Greendale Ben Chang and the inimitable Dean Craig Pelton.
With the new season beginning tonight, there will no doubt be many more scenes to add to this list in the near future. For now, let’s just celebrate that Community is back for its fourth season (only two more seasons and movie to go!)
I’ll be recapping/reviewing the episodes as they air, doing my best to channel Amy’s Fringe fanaticism, but with fewer “yo”s. Stay tuned for those within a few days of each airing.
Community airs Thursday nights at 8PM on NBC.