A few weeks back, I talked about my thoughts on one of the hottest new shows of the season, Glee. I said that I don’t usually watch new shows from the get-go, but I’ve actually latched onto two so far this season. When Community premiered on NBC in September, I tuned in because of Joel McHale. For those of you not familiar with him, McHale has been the host of The Soup, a hilarious cable show which rips apart other TV shows, for a few years now. It’s nice to see McHale getting some acting work. He’s very charismatic (the ladies really, really seem to love him), and I wasn’t surprised by his sharp sense of humour in the Community pilot. What did surprise me was how good everything else about the show was.
The premise of the show is that Jeff (McHale) is a lawyer sent back to community college after his degree turns out to be from the country Columbia, rather than the school. When trying to impress the hot girl in his Spanish class, Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Jeff offers to tutor her in Spanish (though he can’t speak the language, either). She assembles a group made up of their ragtag classmates to bring along to the study session, and bonds form between them all, whether Jeff likes it or not. It seemed like a premise that might be a bit limited or get repetitive, but so far they’re doing a nice job of focussing on different characters, and the unique relationships that they have.
Community just aired its sixth episode tonight, and it’s keeping up the momentum that the unusually strong pilot hinted at. It’s not as even or consistently hilarious as a show like Arrested Development, but it has a great offbeat style to its humour. Like 30 Rock, a lot of the jokes aren’t immediately funny, and it takes a minute to piece them together. But the show doesn’t wait for you to catch up. It just barrels on to the next joke. That’s a good thing, because that means Community has a very fast-paced, clever tone.
McHale is the king of deadpan, and he’s really funny here. Chevy Chase actually isn’t given all that much to do, but his clueless-old-guy shtick is still pretty funny. Danny Pudi is definitely relied on for a lot of the show’s bizarre humour, and he plays the possibly-mentally-challenged-guy role really well. Donald Glover (Troy), Alison Brie (Annie), and Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) also have had some nice moments so far. The show is similar to Glee in that it follows an unlikely group of misfits, and it has an offbeat style of humour. I always like both of those traits, so I’m really enjoying these two shows so far. Community seems like it might be too clever and quirky to have a mass appeal, but hopefully it won’t fall by the wayside like a lot of quality TV tends to.