Television
Entertainment Television

'Community' review: Freak flag still flying

It's never easy to be the fan of a TV show that isn't in the Top 10 and gets shoved around more than a nerd in a locker room. But it's been a particularly bumpy ride for fans of NBC's "Community" over the past four years.

The zany sitcom about a study group of nontraditional students at fictional Greendale Community College is well-loved, but not by many. Low ratings have left it in the grip of possible cancellation since its first season. It suffered another indignity in October, when NBC pulled the Season 4 premiere at the last minute and shelved the 13-episode season (7 p.m. Feb. 7, NBC; 3.5 stars out of 4).

And that was only after last year's awkward firing of "Community" creator and showrunner Dan Harmon, which gave fans cause to fret that that his ouster meant the show would lower its freak flag to half-mast.

No worries, folks, the quirky campus comedy is as clever and edgy as ever. As the season begins, the study group engages in a "Hunger Games"-style competition to determine who gets a spot in Greendale's coveted history class. Apparently "History of Ice Cream" is overbooked, which prompts Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) to conduct "The Hunger Deans." The absurd competition gives the dean a few costume changes and a couple of buff, shirtless guys for backup, just in case he swoons too low when Jeff (Joel McHale) takes to the dance floor. (Yes, there will be dancing.)

Abed (Danny Pudi) can't even enjoy the contest, however, because he's nervous that this could be the gang's final year together. That prompts Britta (Gillian Jacobs) to suggest he go to his "happy place," which gives "Community" fans another awesomely trippy meta fantasy scene. This one involved a sitcom called "The Abed Show," complete with a laugh track, the Greendale gang as animated babies and a special guest star stepping in as Pierce. (Chevy Chase, who plays Pierce, isn't in the fantasy scene.)

So much happens in the episode--I haven't even mentioned Annie (Alison Brie) and Shirley's (Yvette Nicole Brown) prank-playing--it's worth a second watch to catch everything. The second episode sent for review, which revolves around Troy (Donald Glover), Abed and Britta (who still is dating Troy) attending a fan convention for "Inspector Spacetime"--the show's nod to "Doctor Who"--was even sharper.

The Greendale gang is back. Speaking for geeks everywhere, I hope it's not for the last time.

Want more? Discuss this article and others on Show Patrol's Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 'Community' goes back to school Feb. 7

    'Community' goes back to school Feb. 7

    It looks like "Community" will be back Feb. 7, but nothing is a certainty when it comes to NBC and this show. The network seems to be treating it like a bastard stepchild.

  • Rejoice! Adele's new album is rumored to arrive this fall

    Rejoice! Adele's new album is rumored to arrive this fall

    There's a fire starting in my heart and it's making me realize it's been kind of a while since Adele released an album. Her last full-length "21" dropped in 2011 and I barely remember that year it feels so long ago. But now, there's some good news to fill our recently Adele-less lives and it's...

  • Chicago rappers Probcause and Saba team up on 'M.I.A.'

    Chicago rappers Probcause and Saba team up on 'M.I.A.'

    Welcome to RedEye's "Song of the Day," an ongoing feature where music reporter Josh Terry or another RedEye staff member highlights something they're listening to. Some days the track will be new, and some days it will be old. No matter what, each offering is something you should check out. Check...

  • Trump vows never to eat Oreos again, citing move from Chicago to Mexico

    Trump vows never to eat Oreos again, citing move from Chicago to Mexico

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump repeated his claim Tuesday evening that he would stop eating Oreos, citing the cookie maker's decision to close a plant in Chicago and move it to Mexico.

  • Let's talk about this new Justin Bieber song 'What Do You Mean?'

    Let's talk about this new Justin Bieber song 'What Do You Mean?'

    Don't get me wrong, Justin Bieber is still really embarrassing. He's the young pop star who recently said something only a 21-year-old would say, "Now being 21, and going through some hardships, I think you can hear that in my vocals." This is a guy who, last year at a charity gala benefiting AIDS...

  • Illinois lottery winners have to wait for payout due to budget impasse

    Illinois lottery winners have to wait for payout due to budget impasse

    After years of struggling financially, Susan Rick thought things were looking up when her boyfriend won $250,000 from the Illinois Lottery last month. She could stop working seven days a week, maybe fix up the house and take a trip to Minnesota to visit her daughter.

Comments
Loading
75°