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The Best TV You’re Not Watching: 'Community'

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Mar 24, 2011 | 11:27am EDT

Community Cast NBCIf you’re already a huge Community fan – as fans of the show tend to be – you already know that the show just got renewed for another season and things are going pretty good right now. However, while NBC has put another 26 episodes of faith in the hilarious show, the ratings are still fairly modest which means there are quite a few of you out there who’ve yet to surrender to Community’s multitudes of awesomeness. This is where I help you get with the program because you are missing one of the best shows on television.

Why You’re Not Watching

It’s About A Buncha Losers – Been There, Done That

Okay, at first glance the show looks like it’s about a group of nobodies trying to stick together and deal with the mundane, yet ridiculous trials of everyday life but guess what? That’s bullshit and it’s a big reason why the show is so great. It takes these sitcom tropes, like the buncha losers, and turns them on their heads and the study group at the heart of the show is a perfect example of how well that works.

It’s a Half-Hour Sitcom That Actually Requires Your Full Attention

I get it. When I get home from work, I love watching old reruns of Seinfeld and Friends because I’m tired and I don’t feel like giving something my full attention but I still want to laugh. I love The Office because its crazy is right in front of your face for the taking, but with a show like Community, it’s so layered and half the jokes pass by in such a flash or build on past, subtle jokes that it’s hard to keep up if you’re not up for it.

It’s on During American Idol and The Big Bang Theory

First, it’s on during the American Idol results show, which is always drawn out and boring. Just check back here for results and skip the useless hour of television. As for The Big Bang Theory, if you think that’s funny because "oh my gosh those nerds are so nerdy and it’s so funny and great," I have one word for you: ABED. Turn off “Three and Half Nerds” (credit: Hannah Lawrence) and watch Community, damnit.

You Kind of Need to Know and Love the Characters to Appreciate It

Yeah, those of us who’ve seen every episode (multiple times) have a hard time separating the study group from our actual friends, but at this point the characters are so well-developed that it takes at least five episodes before you really come to love them. (I know because I forced my brother to watch episodes until he loved it and the fifth episode was the one that finally got him to say “THESE GUYS ARE AWESOME.” Don’t make me do that to you, 'cause I will.) That’s a tall order for a new sitcom and I get that, but it’s worth it. I swear.

Community Paintball Modern WarfareWhat You’re Missing

The Characters Are More Fun Than Your Real Friends

It’s true. This buncha losers may be ultra losery, but they are the most entertaining, insane, lovable, hilarious, ridiculous, awesome, mind-blowing, surprising, awesome (again) bunch of losery folks on TV. I love them all, but I’m continually charmed specifically by Abed’s overwhelming, intensely dedicated nerdery, Troy’s constant killer but beyond just a dumb jock one-liners, and Annie’s prim and proper school girl laced with just the right amount of holy shit that girl’s crazy.

It’s So Much Fun It Hurts

Community operates on this thin line between mundane reality and complete insanity and if you don’t think that’s awesome, just let that thought marinate in your head for a minute, then watch “Modern Warfare” (the paintball, yeah PAINTBALL, episode), “Contemporary American Poultry” (The Goodfellas homage) and “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (which is exactly what is sounds like). When you’re done with that, I won’t have to convince you gobble up every other episode.

It’s Self-Aware Without Being Masturbatory…ahem, Glee

Creator Dan Harmon and his band of hilarious writers know what they have on their hands. They know that Chevy Chase is gold mine of OldWhiteManSays-inspired story lines, they know that Joel McHale is the perfect mega-douche, and they know that Alison Brie is widely regarded as Holy-Shit-My-Brain-is-Melting-She’s-So-Hot. They know Ken Jeong is a fucking maniac. They know Donald Glover is his best when everything is wrong and he can’t take it anymore or when nothing makes sense and he can’t take it anymore. They know this and they use it to play into the characters and to enhance those characters. They also know how to make fun of themselves as a whole, like the time they devoted an entire episode to the idea of meta television (an element the show uses constantly). But instead of tooting their own horn, like "look we’re so awesome, let’s blend that into the storyline," it’s a more honest use of their own realities and the result is gut-busting humor.

Troy and Abed: The Greatest Bromance Ever Known

The Bottom Line

It’s Written By, Directed By, Acted By, Produced By, and Beloved By Certifiably Hilarious and Awesome People

There is a reason New York Magazine named Community the best show of 2010. There is a reason its cast and writers are so highly regarded in the comedy world. No, the show's not flawless. Yes, it’s a little ambitious and it tends to leave folks who didn’t jump on the bandwagon early on in the dust. However, it is a true expression of an extreme love for fearless, well-written, insanely-detailed, adeptly-crafted, hilarious television. Those of us who’ve grown up on the school of television sitcoms have no excuse but to embrace and love every second of this show, but at its heart it’s just really good television. And really, everyone should be able to appreciate a half-hour of damn good TV.

Community airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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