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Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler



:siren:Community returns to NBC with two back-to-back episodes Thursday, January 2 at 8/7c!:siren:

Let’s just get the alternate thread titles out of the way now:

Community: Oh, so we’re doing this thread thing again
Community: This show will outlive us all
Community: Let’s just be disappointed now and get it over with
Community: Another season, but is it really worth this?
Community: I’m so, so sorry
Community: We’re in some kind of timeline all right
Community: Come talk about set lighting ITT
Community: The AT&T of Fandoms
Community: This thread is my suicide note
Community: Hey, remember when Jack Black was on this show?
Community: Only The Second Worst Fanbase For A Show About Friendship


The Community thread is your all-in-one resource for caring too much about a TV show, being weird and creepy, and discussing the current state of gaming journalism! Here’s a beginner’s guide to just what this show is all about :
(though if you’re not new I put a lot of work into this and you should probably read it anyway)

Hey jerk, what the hell is this show? TV IV couldn’t shut up about how great it was for a few years and then couldn’t shut up about how awful it was for a few years after that. What gives?

Alright, Community is a sitcom created by Dan Harmon, about a study group who attends the world’s worst community college, Greendale. It’s also much, much more than that. Many shows experiment with genre shifts every once in a while; Community exists on the edge of that, all the time. The slightest bit of chaos will send even the most mundane activities spiraling off into a genre pastiche. Community also takes advantage of these episodes to explore its characters instead of making them dream sequences (well, usually).

Why is this thread so awful?

Well, 1) it’s a large TV IV thread. That should tip you off right away. It’s also because 2) no one can ever agree on the quality of the various seasons (there’s still a huge rift in the fanbase over whether or not Season 3 is a huge piece of crap). Finally, 3) it’s a cult show 4) specifically for nerds. That’s probably the real reason. It just attracts the kinds of people who are passionate and outspoken about television to a fault.

So why can no one agree on the quality of the seasons?

Mainly because the show is completely different every season. Completely. Let me break it down:
  • Season 1 is the adventures of a gang of quirky misfits studying Spanish at a weird community college. It’s more of a normal sitcom at this stage, though it has a lot of fun subverting expectations and making fun of the clichés of other sitcoms. It’s still incredibly hilarious, but the genre-bending the series came to be known for doesn’t come in until near the end. Best episode is “Physical Education,” though most people will probably say “Modern Warfare.”

  • Season 2 treats the experiments with concept episodes in Season 1 as a proof-of-concept and dives headfirst into more of that, though still managing to hold a bit of a grip on the normal (or as Dan Harmon occasionally refers to them, “pizza”) episodes.This is the preferred season of most people who were huge fans of Season 1 but not 3, and it’s indeed great, though I’ve found that the second half has some clunkers. Still, if you enjoy Community anything you’ll probably love Season 2. Best episodes are the six-episode string from “Epidemiology” to “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”

  • Season 3 is what happens when you mix Season 2 with near-certain cancellation. It’s Dan Harmon’s frantic, desperate attempt to get every single idea he has out of his brain right loving now, god dammit, there’s no time left! Every concept is mined for all potential value for both comedy and characterization, and it’s utterly unconcerned with keeping up appearances as a sitcom. Even the “pizza” episodes are loving absurd in some way or another. It has more duds than the previous seasons, and many people write it off both for that and “being up its own rear end,” but some (including me) are willing to forgive it for that because it’s crazy ambitious and goddamn hilarious. Best episode is “Remedial Chaos Theory,” which basically everyone can agree is amazing.
As it turns out, Community was renewed for a fourth season (largely due to Sony footing the bill so they could reap more money for syndication), but the poor ratings, the general inaccessibility of the show, and Harmon’s difficulty to work with resulted in his unceremonious firing. This was exacerbated by what can best be described as an exodus of creative talent from the show, some related to his firing (Chris McKenna and Dino Stamatopoulos, who is a personal friend of Harmon’s), and some unrelated (Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, as well as Joe and Anthony Russo, who you may know as the directors of the next Captain America movie). There was still hope, as five or so writers still remained (including Megan Ganz, who had written some beloved episodes), but fans worried that without Harmon, who was a huge perfectionist and had personally revised every single script, the show would lose its voice. They were, unfortunately, right.
  • Season 4 felt like a much weaker version of Season 1 trying to be Season 3; it had no identity and instead of trying to own what it had and carve out its own path, it tried to ape the successes the show already had without understanding why they worked. It wasn’t terrible, and there were some good episodes, but it wasn’t a show worth getting excited about like the other seasons. The best episode is easily “Basic Human Anatomy,” which was written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Jim Rash, who plays the Dean.
Basically, my (and much of the thread’s) preference is 3>2>1>4, though you're just as likely to find someone who will say 2>1>3>4. Just watch and decide for yourself.

That doesn’t sound good. Why should I care about Season 5 if that’s the case?

Well, because Season 4 was followed by yet another creative exodus (Community has an amazingly high rate of writer turnovers, in case you were wondering). The showrunners of Season 4, David Guarascio and Moses Port, left after their one-year contract expired, and only two writers (Andy Bobrow and Tim Saccardo) stayed with the show for Season 5, both of whom had been with the show since at least Season 3. However, thanks to pressures from the cast (primarily Joel McHale, as it seems), Dan Harmon is back for this season, and he brought back Chris McKenna and Dino Stamatopoulos with him!

Is there any bad news?
Unfortunately, yes. Chevy Chase was fired a few episodes before the end of Season 4, and Donald Glover, one of the show’s strongest performers, is leaving five episodes in to focus on his rap career under the name Childish Gambino.

I heard Chevy leaving was a mutual agreeme-

Let’s not kid ourselves. He was fired.

What’s going on with Donald, though?

It was thought at first that he was just sick of being on the show and wanted to focus on rapping. Originally, I was even going to jokingly list Troy as a guest star played by Childish Gambino, but a few months back he posted a bunch of images on Instagram that made it look like he’s in kind of a bad place right now, so I thought it was probably in poor taste.

How are they getting rid of their characters?

Not a clue.

Is Season 4 worth watching at all?

I'm not of the opinion that it's unwatchable, but I understand if you think it's not worth your time. Still, you should watch episodes 8 (Herstory of Dance) and 11 (Basic Human Anatomy), which are pretty decent episodes if nothing else. In the context of Season 5, it's also important to watch 408 because it introduces a really great character who's coming back for an episode.

Why has this show not been canceled yet?

Because shows like this have really loyal fanbases, and because NBC consistently fails to produce anything better.

If the fanbase is so loyal, why don’t more people watch it?

Blame people watching it on/pirating it off of the internet.

Is this show on Netflix Instant?

Are you in the US? If so, unfortunately not. Sony made an exclusivity deal a few years back with Hulu Plus. Some people think Netflix might have helped to increase exposure, but to be honest I think that’s rather unlikely. If you live in the UK or Canada, though, you should be able to watch it.

This OP is huge. You care too much about this show.

Probably!

Isn’t Dan Harmon a huge manbaby?

Yes, and he doesn’t really pretend otherwise. Basically everything he writes and says is a form of catharsis, and apparently he never really got used to the idea of his insane, bizarre ramblings that flow directly from his brain to his mouth having ramifications. He still thinks of himself as the guy who made Laser Fart.



What the gently caress is Laser Fart?

You’re welcome.

Hey, am I the only one who noticed the set lighting looked off this episode?

NO.

Is there going to be another paintball episode?

:frogout:

Doesn’t this show have a cast or something you need to talk about?

Ah, yes. Got off track there.


A lawyer who faked his bachelor’s and had to go back to school to get a real one (please don’t ask me how that’s possible), Jeff recently graduated from Greendale after four years (please don’t ask me about that either). His go-to strategy to win an argument is to reference 9/11. Jeff is your usual lazy, arrogant protagonist, which is why he’s one of the show’s less interesting characters before the show develops him. In this case, that means making him still cartoonishly selfish, but not quite as much of a dick about it.


Probably one of the series’ funniest characters, Britta has a need to rebel against everything. The show takes great pleasure in undermining her self-righteous attempts to promote (or tear down) various causes, and she’s pretty much a total hippie. She got way, way dumber after Season 1, which most people didn’t mind because her character was really boring beforehand and Gillian Jacobs is terrific in the role of goofy idiot. Britta is pretty much The Worst at everything, though that aspect of her character has started to wear a little thin. She’s studying to become a psychologist, god help us all.


Abed is a film student, though that’s really underselling it. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, a bizarre style of filmmaking, and an ambiguous disorder. He was the breakout character in earlier seasons, now he’s the main scapegoat for the show’s detractors’ claims that the show has become impenetrable for newcomers and “stuck up its own rear end.” He’s also Troy’s best friend/platonic life partner. Abed is obsessed with Inspector Spacetime, a fake sci-fi show that was "ripped off" by Doctor Who, which the fanbase ruined immediately and everyone in this thread hates.


An über-religious Christian, Shirley is easily the most responsible member of the group, owning a sandwich store in Greendale’s cafetorium and having two three children with Theo Huxtable. Despite making little attempt to hide her borderline extremism, she’s altogether one of the group’s nicer members and is actually rather cloying. She’s ignored as a character far more often than is fair considering how great Yvette Nicole Brown is, and tends to be funniest when paired up with Jeff, of all people. I have no idea why she’s still attending classes instead of running her business.


A compulsive over-achiever and perennial winner of the TV IV Most Giffed Award, Annie is only at Greendale because she was forced to drop out of high school due to an addiction to Adderall. She went to the same high school as Troy and had a crush on him in Season 1, which was eventually completely dropped in favor of an unhealthy fixation on Jeff, made more than a little creepy by the age difference. She currently lives with Troy and Abed. She was majoring in Hospital Administration until Season 4, when she switched to Criminal Justice. As Alison Brie is an attractive and funny woman, she is incessantly creeped on by this thread, to the point where there was an argument after the Season 3 premiere about the symbolic importance of a panty shot. I’m not making that up.


Lovable idiot and comedic powerhouse, Troy was the quarterback at his old high school until he couldn’t handle the pressure and intentionally hurt himself in a keg flip gone horribly wrong. He’s Abed’s best friend/platonic life partner, which is completely at odds with his initial stereotypical “jock” characterization and will be totally heartbreaking after Donald Glover leaves the show five episodes into this season. He was attracted to Britta in Season 3, and they dated for most of Season 4 in a subplot that never really went anywhere before it ended with Abed breaking up with Britta for him, because that was kind of a weird episode. He became the new Greendale quarterback in an early plot, though the team was sadly swallowed up into the earth or something because we never heard from them again.


The rather ineffectual Dean of Greendale, he is completely in denial about his odd sexual proclivities and can often be found wearing an absurd costume with a ridiculous excuse for it. He’s obsessed with political correctness to the point of absurdity, creating the horrifying abomination known as the Greendale Human Being in the process. He’s gotten weirder with each season, though he started pretty far along that road to being with. The Dean loves the study group, likely due to their odd misadventures and remarkable diversity, and often pops into the study room unexpectedly. He’s completely obsessed with Jeff, though, beating even Annie in that regard. His actor has an Academy Award for Screenwriting. He was a recurring character in the first two seasons and wasn’t made a regular until the third, which is the reason he’s poorly Photoshopped into most promo pictures.


“Kevin,” better known as Ben Chang, is completely insane. That’s really the only fitting descriptor. I mean, Ken Jeong plays the character well, but it’s not hard to see why a lot of fans are sick of this character. He was the Spanish teacher at Greendale (as Señor Chang, natch) until it’s revealed that he faked his credentials, and knows next to nothing about Spanish. Seriously, he was teaching his students Klingon at one point. After his firing, he goes to Greendale as a student before his life completely spirals into absurdity, the precise details of which I will not go into detail here. One of the few things Season 4 did unambiguously well was set up a semi-return to sanity for the character, though part of it happened in a dream sequence so I don’t know how much of it stuck. Shirley named her third child after him, which seems bizarre considering everything that’s happened since then. He’s got a weird habit of replacing words in his sentences with “Chang,” something the Dean seems to have picked up on with his own title.


Who?

Community also has a large and varied pool of recurring characters, many of whom also have no business still being at Greendale. Here are a small sample of them. These are just some of the most prominent side characters, though depending on who is featured in Season 5, I may update this section later to accommodate.


Duncan was introduced in the pilot as the main “professor” character (a role later filled by Chang). This didn’t happen, primarily because John Oliver wanted to stay on The Daily Show, but Duncan still appears occasionally (read: not since Season 2). He’s a professor of psychology, he’s British, and he’s a serious alcoholic alcoholic. He’s also weirdly pathetic and lonely, and makes attempts to go after his female students constantly.


A walking disaster in human form, Garrett talks exclusively in shouts. Seriously, this guy is a mess in every possible way. The school holds regular rallies to “save” him. Allergic to everything.


An obscenely old man attending Greendale. He’s Jeff’s mortal enemy, and they trade insults regularly. He reviews frozen food on the internet. His last name used to be Briggs, but he changed it in Season 2 to try to win an election. If you like watching old people wearing backpacks blow raspberries at people, look no further!


Fat Neil isn’t what he likes to be called, but it’s what everyone calls the poor guy so I’m just gonna roll with it. Doesn’t have a ton of personality, but one of the best episodes in the series revolved around him so he’s alright in my book. Dating Vicki.


The single greatest parody of lovely catchphrase sitcom characters in history, Magnitude loves to party and shouts “Pop! Pop!” Yes, that is his entire personality. If you hate this character I hate you.


Starburns, also known by his nickname “Alex,” was the campus’ resident drug dealer/general douchebag. Didn’t like being called Starburns, but refused to shave his sideburns out of a desire for attention. Starburns was killed along with his lizard and top hat in a tragic meth lab explosion.

Or was he?!?


Look at this rear end in a top hat. Christ, what a loser.


Like Neil, Vicki doesn’t have a whole lot of personality, but that’s useful because it lets her be slotted into just about any weird comedic situation the show needs. She’s a dance major and one of the few traits she does have is that she’s occasionally prone to fits of aggression, as evidenced by the time she stabbed some old guy in the cheek with a pencil.


Annie's grumpy Criminology professor who joined the study group's Teacher-Student Alliance. He's less a recurring character and more a full cast member this season.

What about guest stars?

Community has always gone overboard with its guest stars. In previous seasons, we’ve gotten such names as Rob Corddry, John Goodman, Michael K. Williams, Jack Black, LeVar Burton, Luis Guzmán, Giancarlo Esposito, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Ironside and Drew Carey. You may have noticed that I just listed a lot of names. Season 5 has more guest stars than that in 13 episodes. There’s gonna be a shitload of guest stars, seriously.

So, do I need to watch the old seasons to make any sense of this show? Everyone says it’s impenetrable for new viewers.

Normally I’d say yes, but the first episode of the new season is being branded a “repilot,” and the cast and crew seem to say that you can watch the season premiere with no prior knowledge of the show. Now, we have no idea how well they succeeded, and I suspect that statement is at least partially bullshit, but we’ll see when it airs.

Where can I read the old threads?

Season 1
Season 2
301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320-322
401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410-413

Should I do that?

I wouldn’t!

...But if you’re stubborn, there’s some great :ironicat: moments in some of the earlier ones. You’re gonna need archives for all of these, obviously.

So, do you think the premiere will do well in the ratings?

Nope!

Should I get the DVDs?

The DVDs are pretty good, especially because of the gag reel and full commentaries for every episode. The DVD sets are all available on Amazon, but we still haven’t gotten any Blu-Rays for some reason, which really sucks. Also, word of advice: Due to a mistake, the wrong cut got sent out for some episodes on the Season 1 DVD and so some scenes are missing from the episodes “Social Psychology” and “Environmental Science.” If you want to see those scenes (they’re short and inconsequential, but still), I’m told the versions of the episodes available on iTunes are the full cuts.

Well, this all sounds swell. I’d like to post here. How do I go about not ruining this thread?

Thanks for asking! If you abide by a few basic guidelines, everything will be just fine:

:siren:RULES, SERIOUSLY, loving READ THIS::siren:
  1. While I’m sure your post about how this episode was obviously crap/amazing and everyone who disagrees is an uncultured philistine who hates quality entertainment would have been deep and insightful, maybe calm down a bit before posting.
  2. I know the atmosphere in here can get a little much for people who just like the show and not want to marry it or whatever, but there is no cult of Dan Harmon, and you’re not really doing anything other than making people angry by accusing people of being a part of it.
  3. Yes, we all know Alison Brie is a perfect human specimen. Please stop talking about her breasts! Don’t be creepy!
  4. It’s important that we keep active in this thread, so if you see something odd, post about it! I bet no one has asked about the set lighting this episode! You’ll be the toast of the town, you sly dog!

In conclusion:



Community returns to NBC Thursday, January 2nd at 8/7c with two back-to-back episodes.

Arist fucked around with this message at 02:41 on Jan 10, 2014

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Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

A MIRACLE posted:

Great op! Are we doing separate threads per episodes or keeping it all in here?

I made that monster of an OP under the impression we would do it all in one. If we get like 15 pages for the premiere I'll consult Deadpool, but I doubt it. I'm also super unprepared to make weekly threads so I'd have to figure something out.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

I'm taking a firm stance on Physical Education being the best episode of Season 1. Fight me.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

I wasn't saying one opinion was correct or not, I was trying to say "this is my opinion, and you should know most people don't share it." Your post is an example of the same kind of stupid reactionary poo poo that you just said ruins this thread.

Arist fucked around with this message at 20:32 on Dec 24, 2013

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

In Dan Harmon news, Dan Harmon got engaged to his girlfriend today. Good for him. :unsmith:

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

crm posted:

Can you fix these in the OP

3<2<1<4

2<1<3<4

Both of these statements say 4 is the best. Hopefully this isn't what you really mean.

Gah! I'll fix that, there's a formatting bug for ampersands and the less than/greater than signs in the Awful app so I had to redo that part every time I made an edit.

E: and now every apostrophe and quotation mark broke :suicide:

e2: fixed by copying my source document and editing in the changes I've made since, though in the process I inadvertently turned the entire OP bold for a short bit. What I'm saying is I'm kinda lovely at this.

Arist fucked around with this message at 02:47 on Dec 29, 2013

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

I'm gonna add it to the OP, but everyone who didn't watch Season 4 should at the very least watch episodes 8 and 11 (Herstory of Dance and Basic Human Anatomy), which are actually pretty decent episodes, at the very least.

In the case of Herstory of Dance, it's even more important now because it introduces a really great guest character who's returning this season.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

I haven't heard anything about that.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Uh, I think you mean Untitled Web Series About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time. Totally different.

:regd08:

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

That makes no sense to me because the Inspector Spacetime stuff really never went much further than "Look, Blorgons!" It was a pretty shallow parody, all things considered. I don't understand why they'd need to check for infringement.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Last Chance posted:

Did you study law at Greendale?

Plus, I think they've done more than that. I've heard that there's some kind of Inspector Spacetime convention episode in season four that's filled with characters and references, but I can't be sure because I might have dreamt about it during a bout with food poisoning.

The post I was responding to mentioned Dan Harmon saying that they needed a guy to make sure they weren't infringing. I hear Dan Harmon wasn't involved with Season 4 or something, I might be wrong.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

About a day after Inspector Spacetime first appeared, tropers made it into this.

Arist fucked around with this message at 21:00 on Jan 2, 2014

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Most of the poo poo that happened I put in the character bios in the OP.

The answer is not much.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Five minutes until a full hour of Community! :dance:

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

help... people?

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

"Herpes comma water fountains..."

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

After everything Scrubs did for him!?

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Sir, I have to ask you to leave the concierge desk.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Yoshifan823 posted:

Her is amazing. Watch before you judge.

Judging things without watching them is like half of what we do here.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Ahahahaha Abed directed Jeff's commercial.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

You're not worth the monologue. Give me your tie.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

I'm much sadder than the rest of you!

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

I don't believe in evil, but this school clearly got a finger up its butt as a child.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Gas leak year, ahahahahahahahahaha

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

404GoonNotFound posted:

Is there a hard number for how many episodes Dong Lover is signed on for anyway?

5.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Screw you, Abed.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

They destroyed the table!

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Still another episode after this!

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Table, resume table mode.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

I am learning Excel!

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Holy poo poo Kevin Corrigan is back!

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Oh poo poo Annie's gonna disrupt his peace :argh:

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

I assume you know why I'm keeping you after class.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Holy gently caress.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

It's back. This show is really back.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

I have seen human heads used for things other than heads!

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Well, that escalated quickly.

Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Don't forget, if I fire you you're likely to starve and die, so...

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Arist
Feb 13, 2012

who, me?




Oven Wrangler

Holy poo poo he IS replacing Pierce!

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