Community

So, how about a brand, spanking new show? Community, which premiered September 17, is set at Greendale Community College, and apparently designed to exploit every stereotype you ever had about community college.

The school’s Dean, incompetent from the very first moment of the show, serves as a fitting introductory device, asking, “What is community college?” As he names off the different “types” found in a community college, the camera shows us each principal character, matching those descriptions.

The expositional responsibility soon shifts to Jeff (Joel McHale), a lawyer who is going back to school to right some old wrongs:

“I thought you had a Bachelor’s from Columbia.”

“Well now I have to get one from America.”

Ba-dump, bump.

Jeff forms a fake study group to hit on a hot girl, and it quickly turns into a real study group, where we get to have all misfits from the various social groups thrown together. We get a diversity officer’s wet dream of colors, ages, and genders. (Thankfully, there’s no wheelchair-bound guy to give an excuse for easy disabled jokes.) There’s no reason to believe this group of people would willfully stay together. It’s one of those premises you just have to accept to get on with the show.

The thing is, Jeff thinks he’s got community college in the bag with an old client/friend, Professor Duncan (The Daily Show’s hilarious John Oliver), running the department, who’s going to get him the answers to every test. But Duncan wants to teach Jeff a lesson in integrity. So Jeff has no answers, and he ends up having to stay with the group.

If nothing else, the episode deserves credit for its Breakfast Club references and for being dedicated to the recently departed John Hughes.

It’s a pretty typical pilot. It’s got the “New Kid on the Block” thing going for it, where it’s everybody’s first day in a new universe, so the audience gets introduced to everyone/thing along with the characters. Nobody has any gigantic hurdles set up for them, though. Ostensibly, we’ll get to each one’s inner turmoil in later episodes. I can’t say I’m dying to find out about those. We’ll see if it lasts.

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