September 17, 2009

new show review: community

Community is one of the shows I've been most excited about this season. It definitely has a plum spot on NBC's class Thursday comedy night. Let's see if it fulfills the tall order.

The cast includes Joel McHale as Jeff Winger, a lawyer who was suspended by the bar and needs to get his college degree, so he's enrolled at the the local community college. His friend Duncan (John Oliver from The Daily Show) is a professor, who Jeff is hoping will help him breeze through classes with some test answers.

At school, Jeff meets Abed (Danny Pudi) a fast-talking slightly neurotic nerd. And Britta (Gillian Jacobs), a woman from his Spanish class who Jeff is crushing on. Jeff decides to create a fake Spanish study group in order to get to know her.

Pierce (Chevy Chase) has returned to school as he sits on a moist towelette fortune, Annie (Alison Brie, Trudy from Mad Men) is a paranoid over-achieving recovering pill popper fresh out of high school, Troy (Donald Glover) is also just out of high school where he was a jock who skated by on his popularity, Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) is a jumpy and possibly violent mom, who is falling victim to Pierce's sexual harassment.

The study group quickly falls apart as personalities clash, and they start to rip each other apart. Jeff - more concerned with securing test answers and a date with Britta - does not help matters. He redeems himself with a motivational speech that, while slightly misguided, works to bring the group together. And now it's official. It's a community. Except he doesn't get a date from Britta...or the test answers from Duncan.

In the end, the group comes together to give Jeff an unintentional pep talk, and he decides he has no choice but to earn his degree. They agree to officially form the study group.

Not a lot happened in the pilot besides bringing these people together. I feel like most of the funniest parts were in the many, many previews that NBC showed all season. The jokes in the pilot were a little heavy-handed, but that tends to happen with comedy pilots. McHale's performance is good, but a little overdone. I'm hoping that will go away in the coming episodes. Chevy's character is written perfectly for him. My favorite performance of the pilot was Danny Pudi as Abed, he's just ridiculous enough. Overall, I'm a little disappointed, but I'll keep watching.


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