After nearly nine months off the air, “Community” returned with the premiere of its fourth season on Feb. 7. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, all you need to know is that it’s an über-meta comedy that follows the triumphs and shenanigans of a group of community college students. They attend classes such as “Advanced Breath Holding” and “Baby Talk,” build college-wide pillow forts and embark upon crazy (sometimes claymation) adventures. “Community” is also known for its theme episodes, including the famous Modern Warfare/paintball ones. Characters are not afraid to break the fourth wall, reference a trope while engaging in said trope and occasionally express with self-awareness that they are attending a two-year school for a fourth year.
Season 4’s opening episode involved a few ambitious moments — it included a fantasy sequence with Abed, a movie parody (“The Hunger Deans!”), animation and Dean Pelton in a sequined dress, and established Troy and Britta’s relationship, to name a few. While the episode was entertaining overall, the Troy-Britta storyline was awkward at best; it was sort of a free-standing scene that felt artificial. On the positive side, the episode managed to juggle five plots rather well. While “Community” creator Dan Harmon is no longer a part of the show, it’s safe to say that the season is off to a hopeful start. As the season unfolds, it will be interesting to see how the show is affected by the lack of Harmon’s influence.
“Community,” which airs Thursdays on NBC at 8 p.m., is not for television amateurs. The pop culture references are frequent, especially when Abed is around, and the themed episodes are certainly more enjoyable if one is familiar with the movie or concept that’s being parodied. That being said, “Community’s” (beyond sarcastic) humor may not be for everyone. But it is certainly a unique show, and the writing is some of the most clever stuff out there. It’s not surprising to see that the fan base is growing, along with the ratings.
So check out this quirky little show while it’s still cool. Watch it with friends and laugh at the crazy situations, but don’t be shocked to find yourself identifying with the very real characters. This show has a multi-talented cast, including actor/writer/rapper Donald Glover, and just about everyone is attractive (Hi there, Joel McHale.). Bottom line: Community is worth your time … if you think you can handle it, that is.
The time to enroll is now.