Thursday, September 24, 2009
TV: Community --"Pilot"--
Sometimes, a shows cast is what makes me watch, almost more than anything else.
That's exactly why I finally decided to catch up and watch the pilot episode for the new NBC comedy, Community. Now, as I stated before, and many times over, television comedies don't hit with me, especially on NBC. Give me a smart, or even trashy, drama like say Dollhouse, Fringe, or True Blood, and you have a faithful viewer. However, you throw a Scrubs or Office in my face, and I lose interest.
That's not the case for Community. Starring The Soup's Joel McHale, who plays Jeff, a suspended lawyer who is back in school after his college degree is deemed invalid by the State Bar. The show centers on Jeff's experiences going to community college and the people he meets there. John Oliver (The Daily Show) plays Duncan, a professor at the community college, whom Jeff represented as a lawyer. He also meets a girl, Britta, played by the gorgeous Gillian Jacobs, who is his main love interest in the series, as well as Pierce (Chevy Chase), an older student who has been married seven times.
The cast also features Danny Pudi as Abed, Jeff's faithful, right hand man, and Donald Glover, best known for being a part of the Derrick Comedy Troupe, a very funny comedy group, that everyone should check out. The cast of this is the true star of the show.
The pilot episode follows Jeff, in his hapless attempt to woo his love interest, Britta, by creating a fake Spanish study group. All goes a rye as the group begins to slowly fall apart, until Jeff believes that he has all the answers to the test, via his friend Duncan. Things go down hill from there, as he simply has a stack of yellow papers, until the show ends with the group getting back together, to attempt to pass their upcoming Spanish test.
This show is what I love about comedies, and also what I really hate about them. First, what I love.
This show is easily the funniest 30 minutes that I have had a chance to see this season so far. Sure, we are only a few weeks into the season, but that doesn't take away from just how hilarious this pilot is. It's not a dumb comedy either, quite on the contrary. There are many pop culture refrences for geeks like me to chew on, and Joel McHale is just a real blast to watch, and his interchanges with Oliver and Pudi are pure comedic gold. Also, the dedication to John Hughes at the end of the episode was a real class move, as the episode is full of Breakfast Club refrences. It's a really witty show, which makes me much more interested into where the show goes from here. Do I expect it to keep it's steam up for the whole season, not likely. But do I expect to laugh a ton? Without a doubt.
However, after you get pass that, the show really doesn't offer much in the way of intriguing plot or anything of that sort. Yes, I know the show isn't about that, but in a world where we also have Fringe on during the same hour, it really doesn't stand up. The show doesn't seem like it will offer much in the way of story, outside of a love story involving Jeff and Britta, which will be fun to watch, but not something comperable to that of a full Fringe season.
Also, there is something visually uninteresting about television comedies. It's a minor complaint, but I really hope that there is a day where the most visually interesting comedy on television isn't a show like 30 Rock, that, while funny, still doesn't look all that interesting. This has an interesting look, much like Scrubs (which is the only thing I'll give that show), but still leaves me wanting more. Maybe it's the dramas that we have, and I'm simply spoiled, but you can't blame me for wanting.
However, that really doesn't effect the overall reaction one will have to this show. The main thing that you will remember after watching the pilot is what lines you will be quoting to your friends. This show has one liner after one liner, and is the perfect arena for McHale to shine. While his previous efforts (a pilot for an American version of the I.T. Crowd mainly) have faltered, this should be the perfect place for him to show his chops. It's not a life changing show, but it is one that will change many viewers weekly TV schedules. It's funny, witty, charming, and most importantly, it will be all those things a week, a month, and hopefully a season from now.
All in all, the cast of this show is what will keep me watching for every episode to come. The show could be about kittens jumping rope, and seeing Joel McHale on screen talking about it would get me to watch. Why do you think people watch The Soup? The cast is brilliant, and the first pilot, while not amazing, is totally worth checking out before new episodes air every Thursday at 9:30 on NBC. The show is great, and a perfect Hulu watch after finishing up your weekly Fringe viewing, and leading into the Daily Show on Comedy Central. Just saying.
COMMUNITY //Pilot// - B
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