Monday, April 25, 2011

An Embarrassing Love Letter to Community/NBC

Thursday nights on NBC. In the 90's, Seinfeld, Friends, ER, and Frasier once made it "Must See TV" until all of those eventually died out. The last five years saw a revitalization with 30 Rock, The Office, Parks & Rec, and, most recently, Community. (I'm going to intentionally leave out Outsourced and a few other short lived duds.) The Office was certainly a favorite of mine early on - before it got all ridiculous. And 30 Rock may have some of the best dialogue and one-liners but rarely do I finish an episode completely satisfied. Parks & Rec may be my current favorite due to the incredible characters they've created (hilarious and I care about them) and some pretty stellar plot lines.

That leaves us with Community. I was skeptical at first. Yet once they found their footing, Community certainly discovered what they were good at. That is, they consistently have the best conceptualized and effective half hour of sitcom-ness on Thursday night. They revel in their spoofs on anything and everything from pop culture (Pulp Fiction, D&D, Claymation ... you name it) while maintaining likeable characters that form a sense of connectedness between each episode. Also, it seems like they work really hard.

Case in point: this past week's episode, "Paradigms of Human Memory" was a "recap" episode that pieced together clips from previous episodes - or so I thought! Recap episodes are, in my opinion, the laziest, cheesiest form of television. I'm annoyed with them being on the DVD extras. They provide no new content and only play to super-fans of shows that unhealthily revel in all the "memories" they've created with a television show. So Community did what it does best and made a recap show that had all new content yet successfully cited a ton of their past episodes while simultaneously integrating it all into a fantastic plotline. This taking of a specific genre, episode type, subject, etc and totally playing with it until it's some sort of 2.0 version of whatever it is is pretty fantastic.

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