Sunday 17 March 2013

Verdict: Community Season 1

Given that Community premièred on American TV back in 2009, it can be said that I have been a little slow on the uptake. Four years since the first season aired and I've only just stumbled across the show by chance after looking around for something new and interesting to watch; as it stands, I'm over the moon that I did and a little sad that I didn't sooner.

Senor Chang confronts Annie
Community is a real gem of a show that has gained something of a cult following in its three full seasons (the fourth season is currently airing in the US). The show follows a diverse group of students at a community college (the fictional Greendale, Colorado) as they navigate the perks and harsh truths of being a student.

Taking centre-stage is ex-lawyer, womaniser and narcissist Jeff (Joel McHale), a character who oozes enough charm and charisma to give Han Solo a (Kessel) run for his money. The original premise sees the focus set squarely on Jeff, his mission to get his law degree (for real this time) and leave this community college 'blip' behind him being the main plot strand of the season; however, it isn't long before the lead writers discover that the gold lies with aiming the focus at each and every member of the cast.

There's the uptight and 'cool' Britta (Gillian Jacobs) on whom Jeff's sights are firmly set. Then there's motherly and caring Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), quirky and totally innocent Annie (Alison Brie), pop-culture obsessed and socially awkward Abed (Danny Pudi), high-school football hero Troy (Donald Glover) and the overtly racist and bigoted senior student, Pierce (Chevy Chase). Rounding out the cast is the group's borderline psychotic Spanish teacher Senor Chang (Ken Jeong); the simple fact that their Spanish teacher is Chinese is genius in itself.

It's an eclectic and varied ensemble of characters and thankfully, each are given their chance to develop and grow as the first season goes along. The character development across the first season leads some truly heart-warming and touching episodes; 'Interpretive Dance', 'The Art of Discourse', 'Romantic Expressionism' and 'Beginner Pottery' are all great episodes that show how Community connects with the audience emotionally.

Jeff and Britta in the study room
As the season goes on, it becomes increasingly hard to pick a single favourite character; for me, it swings between Troy and Abed for their silly antics ("Troy and Abed in the moooorning"), Annie for her adorableness and Shirley owing to her giggly laugh and "thinly veiled anger issues".

The lack of laughter track suits the show really well and it allows for the jokes to flow thick and fast; Community isn't the kind of show you can half-watch because you'll miss a hell of lot if you do. The reams of in-jokes, movie quotes, references and Abed being "meta" is fast-paced brilliance that'll leave you in stitches.

On the whole, it is hard to pick apart some of the weaknesses in the first season of Community. A couple of episodes, such as 'English as a Second Language' stick out as being not as good as the rest,  but are by no means terrible. On the whole however, the whole season is fantastic; there isn't a single episode that will fail to make you laugh to some degree.

If haven't gotten onto watching Community, then you should. Grab hold a copy of Season 1 now and get onto it! It is easily one of the funniest shows on television!

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