I recently finished the comedy series Community and enjoyed it quite a bit. Unlike a lot of shows, which has a steady stream of consistency, Community episodes seemed to vary wildly from the “just okay,” to the “pretty good,” and the handful of “really exceptional.” Because of this periodic spike in awesomeness I decided to do a breakdown of my top five.
5. Contemporary American Poultry (S1E21)
I liked Community pretty much from the first couple episodes, but it wasn’t until the mafia episode that I really fell in love with it. This was the first time we really got to see storylines that could be bent to ridiculous proportions for the sake of parody. The episode really captures everything Community is about. It takes a stereotype about college life (great chicken nuggets) and uses it as a basis to play off of tropes in film/television (gangsters). The result is a quirky organized crime ring of chicken nugget slingers and all the cultural perks that come with them.
4. Basic Intergluteal Numismatics (S5E3)
The “Ass Crack Bandit” episode does something similar with the crime drama genre. The plot revolves around an unknown assailant who terrorizes the school by slipping quarters into their ass crack when they bend down to pick stuff up. Yes…it’s exactly as ridiculous as it sounds. Yet every aspect of this episode is dramatized so seriously you can’t help but laugh. Right down to the ambiguous ending we don’t necessarily want but absolutely deserve.
3. Geothermal Escapism (S5E5)/ Modern Warfare (S1E23)/
A Fistful Of Paintballs/For A Few Paintballs More (S2E23/24)/Modern Espionage (S6E11)/Pillows and Blankets (S3E14)/App Development And Condiments (S5E8)
In case you’re wondering the answer is yes. I did combine SEVEN different episodes for the number 3 slot because…well because it’s my list and I can do what I want! But why these particular episodes? A couple of them are easy as they all involve paintball, but the “lava floor,” “pillow war,” and “MeowMeowBeenz” episodes are totally unrelated except for one storytelling trait: surrealism. Most Community episodes are ridiculous, but these 7 take it to a whole new level of absurdity…and it’s awesome. These episodes throw all meaningful logic out the window in the name of genre tropes and classical homages, which became a Community staple one could expect at least once a season.
2. Virtual Systems Analysis (S3E16)
While Community is certainly known for its absurd plots, any fan will tell you the show’s strength actual comes from its roster of characters. They are all fully formed creations with diverse relationships between them and I can think of no better episode that captures this depth of storytelling than the Dreamatorium episode. The Dreamatorium is a room in Abed, Annie, and Troy’s apartment where they essentially play make believe. Except for Abed, who is suggested to be on the spectrum and can actually turn the room into whatever play scenario they are acting out. We get to actually see the world through Abed’s eyes while Annie is still stuck in “reality.” It’s a trippy episode with some great special effects and direction. But at its core, it’s really just a great character piece that explores these two friends trying to understand each other.
1. Remedial Chaos Theory (S3E3)
Abed is undeniably responsibility for a lot of Community’s fun. His “meta” tendencies range from one-liners to plots for entire episodes. And my favorite is undoubtedly the “dice” episode. The storytelling structure is fairly simple: during a party, Jeff rolls a die to see who will go downstairs to get pizza. Abed realizes that depending on the number rolled, six different series of events will play out (what Abed calls “timelines”). Then, of course, we get to see those six different series of events. Once again, what makes this episode so special is Community’s characters. Because of their strong relationships to one another, the absence of just one character from the scene completely alters the outcome. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the “darkest.”
Well, that’s all I got. Think I’m missing one from the list? Let me know your favorites!