It was one of the most critically acclaimed cult shows of the late-00s, and it’s coming to Lightbox today. Tara Ward runs down Community’s 10 most gloriously wackadoo episodes.
If you’re seeking a clever comedy bursting with pop-culture satire and musical parodies, then look no further than the televisual gem Community.
When the egotistical Jeff Winger is disbarred for faking his legal qualifications, he’s forced to enrol at Greendale Community College to earn a legitimate law degree. In an effort to impress a fellow student, Jeff forms a study group which ends up being filled by a series of eclectic but loveable misfits. As the study group take a variety of unusual classes together (Intro to Knots, anyone?), friendships develop and antics ensue.
These weird and wonderful characters are played by an impressive ensemble cast that includes Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, and Ken Jeong. There’s also a bevy of notable guest stars to keep watch for, like Matt Lucas, Brie Larson, Jack Black, Hilary Duff and Betty White. And Luke Perry. LUKE PERRY everyone, we have a winner.
Community has a great cast and fantastic writing, but it’s the show’s crazy themes that make it brilliant. For a comedy about six people attending their local polytech, Community goes gloriously long and loose with its storylines. What other sitcom boasts episodes about a recurring paintball battle filmed in spaghetti western style, or takes place within a 1980s video game, or is a Goodfellas parody about chicken wings? Not even Blossom reached such imaginative extremes, and that show featured a dream sequence with ALF.
Community’s charm lies in its ability to pull off these random yet genius concepts, while retaining the humour and wit that makes it one of the best comedies on television. No episode is the same. It’s an all singing, all dancing masterpiece.
Let’s embrace the crazy and sign up to a crash course in understanding the top ten wackiest episodes of Community.
Intro to Felt Surrogacy (season 4, episode 9)
The study group use puppet therapy to work through the trauma of a hot air balloon adventure that went horribly wrong. Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander guest stars, and the episode features the classic song and dance line ‘that’s an adventure/please bring your dentures’.
Pillows and Blankets (season 3, episode 14)
Pillow forts are matters of life and death in this homage to a Ken Burns war documentary. Jeff (Joel McHale) is going downtown to Pillowtown to risk his life in a brutal blanket-related conflict, with a nail-biting chase scene that puts James Bond to shame.
Digital Estate Planning (season 3, episode 20)
The study group are forced to play a 1980s video game to help Hawthorne (Chevy Chase) gain his inheritance. It’s hilarious and ridiculous and possibly the best thing I’ve seen on television.
A Fistful of Paintballs (season 2, episode 23)
Community has an ongoing love affair with paintball-related episodes, and this season finale also includes a Western themed end-of-year picnic and giant ice-cream mascot named ‘Pistol Patty’s Cowboy Creamery’.
Basic Lupine Urology (season 3, episode 17)
The study group channel Law and Order in their quest to discover who committed the heinous crime of squashing their biology project. Spoiler alert: it was a yam. DUN DUN.
Remedial Chaos Theory (season 3, episode 4)
The moment one of the study group heads out for pizza takes place in six different timelines, with each timeline featuring different actions and consequences. It’s chaotic and mind-bending, and that’s even before we get a glimpse of Abed’s evil goatee.
Beginner Pottery (season 1, episode 19)
The first rule of pottery club: never reinact the pottery scene from Ghost. Don’t even think about humming the first few bars of ‘Unchained Melody’, or you’ll end up taking boating lessons in the car park with the rest of the study group.
Epidemiology (season 2, episode 6)
It’s Halloween at Greendale, and the study group comes down with a mysterious zombie-like illness. This episode features a giant banana, a crapload of ABBA songs, and the voice of George Takei.
Regional Holiday Music (season 3, episode 10)
It’s Christmas and it’s a musical episode which means it’s ALL OUR DREAMS COME TRUE.
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Cooperative Calligraphy (season 2, episode 8)
Finally, a show that takes missing stationery seriously. Also includes a puppy parade, devastating handbag confessions and the return of a kleptomaniac monkey in a vent named Annie’s Boobs.
Community dropped on Lightbox this week and you can watch it all here:
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