Community is one of the funniest new shows on TV in quite some time. Centered on a random and ragtag group of students at Greendale Community College, it’s hilarious, smart and pretty darn creative. Trafficking in rapid-fire dialogue and repartee that’s reminiscent of 30 Rock, Community succeeds in large part due to the power of its cast. Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, and Ken Jeong probably have the biggest name recognition at this point, but the entire crew has such chemistry that it truly is an ensemble show. In particular, I love the relationship between Donald Glover’s Troy and Danny Pudi’s Abed. These two play off each other so well that it’s hard not to envision a series of buddy movies starring them in globe-trotting adventure a la Bing Crosby and Bob Hope…with Spanish rap songs instead of show tunes.
The storylines are goofy and consistently funny, while the writing is stellar and very sharp. “Throw-away” lines and gags are often brought up off-handedly a few episodes after they were first introduced, adding an extra of humor goodness for viewers with an attention to detail. The episodes were all hilarious, but a few stand out from the rest. The Halloween episode and the Paintball episode were probably my favorite from this season. The Paintball one in particular is an epic spoof/homage to action/superhero films with riff after riff on those genres.
If there’s one thing that the show risks wearing out at some point, it’s all the cultural references, coupled with the ironic/self-referential humor. Family Guy’s a good example of show that’s worn out its welcome on that front, while South Park has managed to navigate that minefield pretty well. Hopefully Community will find its future in the later category.
In terms of this DVD release, it’s a solid start for a freshman show. Bonus features include cast commentaries for every episode, outtakes, alternate scenes, mini episodes and a bunch of other fun behind-the-scenes extras. Bottom line? If you watched this on air, you need to get this set. If you haven’t watched it yet, you need to get your act together and check it out now.