The Day Thread Is Streets Ahead (9/17)

Ten years ago today, seven students in a Spanish 101 at Greendale Community College formed a study group.  They were Jeff Winger, a disgraced lawyer, who formed the study group to try to trick a political activist into sex; Pierce Hawthorne, a rich elderly man; Shirley Bennet, a religious single mother; Abed Nadir, an awkward filmmaker; Troy Barnes, a high school football player; Annie Edison, a try-hard; and Britta, who once fell in love with Subway.

And thus Community was born.  The pilot was written by Dan Harmon and directed by Anthony & Joe Russo, who, as of this moment, have directed the highest grossing movie of all time.  (Sharp-eyed viewers can spot several Community alums making appearances in the MCU.)

Five of my favorite episodes:

1.) Season 2, Episode 14, “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.” The bottle episode from Season 2 that isn’t the bottle episode (“Cooperative Calligraphy”, also great).  I’ve always had a soft spot for this episode because it’s one of the times the group actually makes an effort to try to reach out and help some one (in this case, “Fat” Neil).  I’m always impressed how they can paint a picture of the adventure going on just by talking.  Directed by Joe Russo.


2.) Season 1, Episode 7, “Introduction to Statistics” – The first hint that Community was going to go for cartoonish wackiness, with Pierce tripping out as the Beastmaster and Abed refusing to drop his Christian Bale growl as Batman.  Also, that shot where Abed pulls Jeff and Pierce out of a fort made out of chairs and tables was really well staged.  “Epidemiology”, Season 2’s Halloween episode, was also good… but I prefer this one, as anytime we see Abed as Batman is gold.  Directed by the Fast & Furious director, Justin Lin.

3.) Season 3, Episode 17, “Basic Lupine Urology” – A murdered yam gives the group an excuse to cosplay as Law & Order characters.  Directed by Robert Schrab, creator of Scud: The Disposable Assassin and co-director of MST3K Season 12.


4.) Season 1, Episode 23, “Modern Warfare”.  The infamous paintball episode, which dunks on Glee and John Woo.  I remember being very impressed when this episode aired, as the cinematography was several levels better than anything else seen on TV at the time.  (The biggest thing that bothered me about the “gas leak” season its that it was obvious how scaled back the budget got when everything looked flat like … a run-of-the-mill network TV show.). Also directed by Justin Lin.

5.) Season 1, Episode 10, “Environmental Science”. When Community first aired to really low ratings, I thought it might not be renewed and this would be the last episode.  But what an ending it would be, right?  Troy and Abed’s rendition of “Somewhere Out There”, Shirley learning from Pierce how to conquer her fears of public speaking by imagining a sandwich, the dance number between Señor Chang and his wife… it would have been a perfect ending.  Directed by Seth Gordon, who also directed The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.