For all the Community fans in this forum, here's a very well written article (by Adam Quigley of /Film) on not only last week's insanely good new episode, but also touches on why it's probably the best comedy show on television.
It genuinely saddens me that more people don't watch Community. I know all I should care about is the fact that I enjoy it, and I shouldn't really care that most people would rather watch meaningless hogwash like Big Bang Theory... But still, I always think that if my precious Community ever got canceled because of low ratings, that's the kind of thing that would make myself (and I assume all its fans) bitterly resent the world, haha.
I too have been a fan of "Community" since the first episode. Even though I never cared for Joel McHale, I really enjoy the other characters and especially the plots and inside jokes. This is one of the shows our family makes "appointment television", and I take the time to archive off favorite episodes.
The show is in constant danger of becoming "the Abed show", though, because his character makes it so easy to explore different fun ideas. Maybe TOO easy. Even though the parody show episdes are all favorites of mine, the show can't last as long if that's all they ever do.
[Mark Suszko] "...the show can't last as long if that's all they ever do."
I have a pretty long list of elements that that's true for. The dean stuff is seriously played out, they're losing their way with Chang, they've completely lost their way with Pierce, and some others.
It's a shame, because I'd have called it my favorite comedy a couple of years ago. The nod for me now goes to Modern Family, which actually offers some hope for Community. Starting toward the end of last season, that show ran far enough off the rails that, after the first two eps of the season, I was pretty sure I was done. But in the couple of episodes since then, they've righted the ship in short order.
Another thing that gives me hope. Keep your eyes peeled next year for the Creative Arts Emmys, which this year was on Reelz. FAR more entertaining than the regular Emmys, and they let showrunners write their own bits. Dan Harmon did a routine with his presentation of the award for best hairdressing that was the funniest thing I've seen on TV in many years. It started with him thinking that he won the award, and berating the other nominees -- I always knew I was better than you, you losers on Mad Men. You get the idea, but the writing was sharper than that, and his delivery was jaw-dropping. THAT guy can surely not let this thing get away from him. Heck, he should be ON the show, not just running it....
[Tim Wilson] "I have a pretty long list of elements that that's true for. The dean stuff is seriously played out, they're losing their way with Chang, they've completely lost their way with Pierce, and some others."
I have to disagree losing their way on Chang. Originally he was just a one note egotistical a-hole, but I think in this new season they have actually fleshed him out more. I love the mentally deranged angle they are playing out right now. They are changing him from "Ken Jeong being Ken Jeong", into a delusional, psychotic monster. The film noir/detective parody from like 2 episodes ago was probably my personal favorite thing that the show has ever done with Chang.
I will agree about Pierce, though. They've never really known what to do with Pierce. I mean, I find him funny, but it's always kind of felt like they have him as a character because they have access to a comic talent like Chevy Chase and they don't want to lose that. There were a few Pierce heavy episodes in season 2 where they tried to justify him as a sort of villain within the group, which was funny as it happened, but they never quite made that fully work in terms of the group dynamic.
I like the dean, but he works best in small doses. They definitely risk completely destroying that character with too much screen time. In my opinion, Shirley could use a little work on her character. BUT, all the criticism of the individual characters aside, they work best as a group, and as reactionary elements to the group, which is the whole reason the show is awesome. If they had an episode that just focused solely on one character (almost in a spin-off kind of way), it wouldn't work at all.
I agree that the magic in the show comes from the ensemble performance. These actors have great comedic timing, and the whipcrack editing helps that along.
I have to figure there is some back and forth tug of war in the back room as to what Chevy's character is supposed to be, what his motivations are. Started out pretty clear, that he's the type that's always questing for some special insight, also, that he's essentially bored and lonely, and he's burned all his relationshps, so the kids at the college offer him a sense of belonging, of family. But then they write in new stuff that takes him out of that framework, then they go back to the old framework.
Chang has always been a character of chaotic evil alignment, but he's also set up as a moral lesson because his moves never seem to pay off, in fact, he gets his comeuppance more often on the show than anyone.
The Dean is my least favoirte character because I can't believe all the cliche stereotyping they put on him woth being gay AND a "furry" AND making him have all these inappropriate advances on Jeff and so forth. I really liked the new dynamic where they had John goodman come in to be an antagonist/rival, but they seem to have let that story line drop, as well as Shirley's family problems.
Troy and Abed are the breakout favorites of the show, the pair that are the nmost fun and most likely to get a spin-off, yet most likely to wind up as "Lenny and Squiggy", if over-used.
[Mark Suszko] "I really liked the new dynamic where they had John goodman come in to be an antagonist/rival, but they seem to have let that story line drop, as well as Shirley's family problems."
I definitely read that John Goodman is going to have a six episode stint in season 3, so he'll be back. Why they chose to introduce him in the first episode and then follow that with three episodes without him, well, that I can't explain. But I'll trust Dan Harmon.
[Mark Suszko] " But then they write in new stuff that takes [Pierce] out of that framework, then they go back to the old framework."
I thought Chevy was best (or most comically) used at his evil peak, in the Dungeons and Dragons episode. I would have liked to see him continue to be evil, but somehow stay in the group out of some form of guilt by the rest of them because he's lonely. That seemed like that's where they were going with that, but then of course it would probably become harder and harder each week for the writers to justify him continuing to be accepted.
[Mark Suszko] "
Troy and Abed are the breakout favorites of the show, the pair that are the nmost fun and most likely to get a spin-off, yet most likely to wind up as "Lenny and Squiggy", if over-used."
Yeah, I like them the best too. But you could essentially say that any of the group would become played out if over-used. I think they insert the correct amount of everyone in each episode, and the writers seem to love each character enough to give them (moderately) equal screen time, and never short change anyone.
It would be nice to see Abed get into some real conflict at some point, but I think his character probably prohibits that. But it should be great to see what appears to be a blossoming rivalry between Troy and Jeff starting to emerge, with each desiring to be the alpha-male.
And just for the hell of it:
More Star Burns!
Ken Jeong is a very interesting guy. In high school, a violinist and ace student. Graduated at 16, winning Greensboro NC's Youth of the Year Award. (My wife is from Greensboro.) Undergrad degree from Duke, and then a MEDICAL DEGREE from UNC Chapel Hill.
Because he's a DOCTOR.
He did a little theater in college, including a couple of plays in his senior year. He messed around with comedy on the side while he was a DOCTOR (a GP, married to another DOCTOR), and got into acting full time after Knocked Up. (Pretty remarkable to me that he's been in the game for so little time.)
Here's an article from the Greensboro NC News & Record when Hangover came out. Needless to say, he wasn't in a hurry for his mother to see the movie.
His official website is DrKen.net...since he's a DOCTOR. "Former Doctor Kendrick Jeong recounts his journey from actually being a “really serious and pretty intense” general practitioner at Kaiser Permanente...." He went on Ryan Seacrest's radio show, and one of the guys in Ryan's office recognized Ken...AS HIS DOCTOR. Because Ken is a DOCTOR.
I'm crazy about the guy. He's the only reason I keep checking in on Community now and again, but the show is still off my "DVR every week" list for now.