For this feature, I would like to put the spotlight on lesser known TV shows and movies that deserve your attention.
The first installment of the feature focuses on the TV show, Community. With a semi-recently cancellation scare,
it’s apparent that this show needs a larger, more vocal fan base. You could argue that there already is one, with the flash mob appearing at NBC’s Rockefeller Center when Community was initially absent from the early 2012 lineup. Despite such a fan uproar, they can always use more support.
The set up for Community is a group of oddballs and outcasts who attend the one of the local schools, Greendale Community College, end up together in a Spanish study group, they quickly become friends and that’s where Community feels like an odd experiment at times. For the majority of the first season, it is a by the numbers, fairly entertaining sitcom. It was grounded and made sense, it felt like it took place in the real world. That is until the 23rd episode, “Modern Warfare”, where there is a paintball game held at the school, and the winner gets priority registration for the next semester. It’s here where the show transcends itself and becomes self aware, and instead of making verbal references to pop culture, they devote entire episodes to acting them out. The episode turns into an homage/amalgam to/of tons of action movies ranging from Die Hard to 28 Days Later and Terminator.
After this episode, the series really picks up. The next episode like this, titled “Epidemiology”, is where there is a zombie outbreak at the school’s Halloween party. Since this is the first totally off the wall episode since “Modern Warfare”, it catches you off guard again. Initially someone just becomes sick from the tacos served at the party, but instead of just becoming sick, he becomes a zombie! It’s akin to “Shaun of The Dead”, there’s zombies running around, but there is still tons of funny moments. Eventually the problem is solved, and the characters on the show acknowledge that these events happen. They aren’t just spin off episodes, like “What If” there was a zombie outbreak. These events actually take place, with characters casually mentioning them later, as if there no big deal.
These set ups would be nothing without good characters to act them out. The cast is composed of relative unknowns, with Chevy Chase being the biggest star there. Besides Chevy, we have Joel McHale (The Soup), Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, and Ken Jeong (The Hangover). Every character is likable, even ones that are designed to be hated. It’s safe to say they are the soul of the show, because if they weren’t, the only enjoyable episodes would be the parodies. That is not the case though, because of them, the basic down to the earth episodes can equal or even surpass the parody episodes.
The show is incredibly unique, unafraid to create episodes dedicated to likes of zombie movies and westerns, and then go right back to regular sitcom situations at the end of the episode. It’s full of great, hilariously self aware characters, who truly are the reason why it’s funny. Anyone could make tons of pop culture references, but that isn’t inherently funny. It’s everything coming together in a really nice way.
If you want to watch Community, then you can check out old episodes on Hulu and new episodes at 8:00 PM on Thursdays on NBC.