Folks, I am a huge fan of the television series Community. If you come to my house, I will make you watch a marathon. If you are on my Christmas list, odds are you get something with Joel McHale’s face on it. And if you call me with an emergency during a certain Thursday timeslot, you’d better hope a commercial is on.
So, given NBCâs recent
soulcrushing, devastating, slap-in-the-face-ing midseason announcement, it seemed like the perfect time to revisit some of my favorite, endlessly watchable Community episodes.
5. Epidemiology (Season 2, Episode 6)
Everything about this episode is awesome. It is silly and fun and zombie-filled, so, of course, itâs already become a Halloween staple. Since there isnât much of a story, more an amalgamation of hilarious bits set inside a zombie attack, here are a few quick highlights:
- Tro-bedâs Aliens costume, designed to impress the ladies; Star Trek Pierce; Dragonturtle; Chiquita MD! And double points from this soccer fan for Jeffâs âDavid Beckhamâ costume, complete with Jabulani ball.
- The deanâs iTunes playlist, an addictive mix of Abbaâs greatest hits and personal voice memos. (âAdd Eat, Pray, Love soundtrack to workout mix.â)
- Abed to Troy: âMake me proud. Be the first black man to make it to the end.â
- Shirley and her unwittingly ambiguous costume âbondingâ in the bathroom with Chang, dressed as Peggy Fleming. (“Just been proven racist by the racist-prover”)
- And, my name might not be Kevin, but I still loved the voiceover from George Takei.
[youtube TvEm6DcnwRk&NR=1 nolink]
4. Critical Film Studies (Season 2, Episode 19)
The study group’s spoof (“I prefer the term ‘homage’!”) of Pulp Fiction and the lesser-known My Dinner With Andre is an instant classic, if only to see Shirleyâs kick-ass sideburns and Pierce in a gimp costume (âAm I the hero or the love-interest?â).
Danny Pudi gives one of the most memorable performances of the series. As Abed decides to start a new non-meta life, Pudi slips in-and-out of the character with ease and charisma. His lengthy Cougar Town monologue never feels forced or sluggish, though Iâm with Jeff on this one â if you want me to take it seriously, stop saying its name.
[youtube W75UKtgifF8 nolink]
3. Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples (Season 2, Episode 5)
After Shirley asks Abed to help her create a viral video with a Christian message, he decides instead to make a high-concept Jesus movie for the post post-modern world because, of course, Jesus âwas like ET, Edward Scissorhands and Marty McFly combined!â
Meanwhile, in a terrific side plot, Pierce starts hanging out with a dangerous crowd of hipsters (âThe pack of old people that hang out in the cafeteria. People call them hipsters because theyâve all had hip replacements.â), and reluctant âdadâ of the group Jeff has to put his foot down.
Iâll admit it – Iâm a sucker for religious satire, especially when it doesnât end in vicious trench warfare. This episode has a rollicking plot that doesnât pull punches, whether pointing out the contradictions of excessive religiosity or mocking self-indulgent artists, in a wink at the showâs own âmetaâ intensity. It also contains some of the sharpest dialog of the entire series, and showcases Yvette Nicole Brownâs impeccable delivery. (âDid you just scripture me, Muslim!?â)
[youtube VDXgG29tB3U nolink]
2. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Season 2, Episode 14)
It bothered me when Community established Pierce as the âvillainâ of Season 2. The study group should be off-limits from that kind of thing; I donât want my idiosyncratic oddballs to be villains â or busy making googly-eyes with each other. However, it was all completely worth it for this wonderful episode.
The study group stages an informal intervention for a depressed fellow classmate, Fat Neil, over a game of D&D. The gang quickly gets caught up in the imaginary world, especially after Pierce barges in and demands to be included.
Changâs introduction and swift exit is a thing of beauty, of Jolson-inspired dark beauty. (âSo weâre just going to ignore that hate crime?â) And the silent lovemaking montage between Annie and Abedâs characters â Hector the Well-Endowed and an Elf Maiden, respectively â is a feat in comic timing. Annieâs Disney-eyed seduction hints at her not-so-innocent dark side, and the reactions around the table are priceless.
[youtube FwOLED0kRDY nolink]
1. Remedial Chaos Theory (Season 3, Episode 4)
Since we’re obviously trapped in the darkest, most terrible timeline – you know, the one in which NBC chooses to air desperate, laugh-track enhanced drivel <coughs, “Whitney”> instead of comedic brilliance – “Remedial Chaos Theory” tops my list.
Alternate timelines, flaming Norwegian troll dolls, airplane bathrooms, Yahtzee, a scale model of the rolling-boulder scene from Raiders! This episode is everything that fans adore, and full of the self-contained “elitism” that apparently puts off the rest of the tv-viewing population. Like that brief moment when Abed pauses to adjust the tiny, fallen Indiana Jones doll before rushing to Pierce’s aid.
Each story reveals some new understanding about the characters, gradually layering insights until arriving at its wonderfully accepting conclusion – a feel-good dance party to The Police’s “Roxanne.” Because, really, what could be better than enjoying life with the people you love. After all, thatâs what community (and Community) is all about.
[youtube -g8bUt9toVM nolink]
So, please, fellow fans, don your felt goatees and help the NBC programming executives find their way back to the prime timeline, where they will immediately announce that theyâve renewed Community for a fourth season.
Photo: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC