You waited so long, now stop debating, ‘cuz I’m back, I’m on the rag and ovulating. Eminem references aside, I announced about a month ago, right around when Community was cancelled (for now), that I was going to watch all 96 episodes of the modern cult classic and rank them all from worst to best. Well, I finally finished watching them all, so here’s my official ranking of every single episode of Community. Episodes are accompanied by screenshots from the episode and brief blurbs about said episode. Here we go.
#96: ADVANCED INTRODUCTION TO FINALITY (S4E13)
Sometimes, when people trash talk season 4, I tell them, “Hey, I liked season 4!” Then I think back to this episode and I say to myself, “Wait, no I didn’t.” This is the only episode that I came out of thinking, “That was terrible.” It’s not funny, it makes little sense, and it seems to have only been done because David Guarascio and Moses Port didn’t know where Dan Harmon was going with the whole “Darkest Timeline” thing. At one point, the group points out that Abed hasn’t mentioned the Darkest Timeline in months, even though he had mentioned it IN THE PREVIOUS EPISODE.
#95: ECONOMICS OF MARINE BIOLOGY (S4E7)
This was one of the many filler episodes where absolutely nothing was accomplished. Archie, the rich guy, is never seen again. Jeff and Pierce’s bonding is for naught because they barely talk for the rest of the season and he’s not in the next one. Neither Shirley nor Troy becomes or even mentions gym teachers for the remainder of the show. Abed’s subplot had potential, and was a bit funny at times, but never led to anything. Of course, most Abed subplots never lead to anything. The only good part of the episode was Magnitude’s sub-subplot, wherein Archie steals his catchphrase and he goes insane trying to think of a new one, leading Craig and Annie to realize they’ve made a huge mistake.
#94: ORIGINS OF VAMPIRE MYTHOLOGY (S3E15)
This episode claims that simply not caring about anything can make a person cool, even if they’re terrible in every other aspect. That’s utter nonsense. I rarely care about things, and yet I’m still not all that cool (I have a WordPress blog, don’t I?). Either way, this episode went absolutely nowhere. The main plot, and by “main” I mean SIX OF THE SEVEN MAIN CHARACTERS ARE INVOLVED IN IT, is that Britta can’t get over her ex, Blade, so the group tries to figure out why and how to help her. First of all, why does the ENTIRE study group need to be there for that, and second of all, why is that necessary at all? It seems like the antithesis of what Community is all about. Imagine if you had only seen the best Community episodes and I told you that there was an episode where the whole study group helps Britta get over an ex-boyfriend. You’d be incredulous. Also, Pierce and Chang go on a man-date. It’s never explained why, nothing ever becomes of it, and the two never speak to each other again, so why was any of this episode necessary?
#93: CONTEMPORARY IMPRESSIONISTS (S3E12)
In this episode, the gang has to impersonate celebrities at a party because Abed is knee-deep in debt with a celebrity look-alike agency. In the end, it feels like this episode sounded like a really good idea in Harmon’s head, but then he realized the notion of Abed impersonating Jamie Lee Curtis wasn’t a comedic gold mine. I think this episode would have ranked higher if it hadn’t immediately followed one of the best winning streaks in Community’s history. The episode right before was “Regional Holiday Music.” “Regional Holiday Music”! The one thing I did really like about the episode is that the guy that became Chang’s deanalchanger was a Moby impersonator. That’s pretty funny.
#92: ASIAN POPULATION STUDIES (S2E12)
Man, this show has never been good at Episode 12s. This episode features a lively discussion about who should be the newest member of the study group: Rich or Andre (spoiler: it’s Chang). Jeff really doesn’t like Rich, and uses Andre as an excuse to prevent Rich from joining the group. This marked the last appearance of Rich Stephenson, presumably because Harmon finally realized he had nothing to do to the character. The question was how Rich could be so perfect, and the answer is… maybe. I think Harmon wanted Rich to be a really sinister character, maybe having something to do with City College, but ultimately decided that was fucking stupid. The resolution of the episode is that Chang can be a part of the study group, and they don’t follow through on that for a long time, so WHAT’S THE POINT?! The show ends with Jeff asking Rich for life advice, Rich agreeing, and then we never see Rich again. This is my main problem with most of the lower-ranking episodes. There’s no point to them. This is, however, the episode wherein Changuage first became a running joke, so that’s a plus.
#91: COURSE LISTING UNAVAILABLE (S3E18)
This one acts less as an episode, and more as a segue into the next couple of episodes. In it, we see Chang start to put his master plan into motion, even though we already know what he’s doing and how he’s doing it, so why should we care? Nothing all that funny happens in this episode, nor anything all that memorable. It’s literally an episode made entirely of buildup.
#90: URBAN MATRIMONY AND THE SANDWICH ARTS (S3E11)
#89: COMMUNICATION STUDIES (S1E16)
In this episode, Britta leaves Jeff an embarrassing drunk voicemail, so Jeff has to smooth things over by… getting drunk with Abed and leaving Britta a drunk voicemail. Also, Chang finds out that Troy and Pierce sent Valentines to themselves and eventually makes them go to the Valentine’s Day Dance in women’s pantsuits. Neither of those opens up a lot of comedic possibilities, which explains why the episode isn’t funny. Neither of them is particularly interesting, either. I hate the Community episodes that are about the group’s romantic lives and nothing else. Hey, speaking of!
#88: HOME ECONOMICS (S1E8)
In this episode, Jeff moves in with Abed, the two of them bond, then break up. Pierce joins Vaughn’s band, they have a falling out, then break up. Troy asks out a girl named Randi, they date briefly, then they presumably break up, because she’s never seen or heard from again. In other words, this episode accomplishes NOTHING. Its saving grace: Vaughn’s refusal to use the any minor cuss word.
#87: BONDAGE AND BETA MALE SEXUALITY (S5E7)
This brings us to Season 5’s worst: “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality.” In this episode, Duncan tries to score with Britta, Chang encounters ghosts, and Hickey handcuffs Abed to a filing cabinet. Once again, do you see a lot of comedic possibilities there? Because I sure don’t. The whole ghost thing was actually really weird, because someone had to actually be a ghost, right? This episode did have an excellent ending, in which Chang begins to suspect he might be the ghost, at which point the camera points to a Shining reference on the wall, before panning down to the text at the bottom of the photo which reads, “Old Timey Photo Club 2014.” Magical.
#86: COOPERATIVE ESCAPISM IN FAMILIAL RELATIONS (S4E5)
This episode really should have been the worst. It’s just not Community. And yes, the Shirley/Pierce/Annie/Troy/Abed subplot was pretty shit. But what really sets the episode apart is Joel McHale’s performance. It’s hard to take Joel McHale seriously when all he ever plays is Joel McHale. But there was a lot of weight to his performance in this episode. We get a look into how disturbed this man who in the first episode appeared perfect, really is. It’s one of the few instances in this season where I say, “That’s what Dan Harmon would have wanted.” For Jeff’s character, anyway. He probably wouldn’t have done anything else in the entire episode.
#85: BASIC GENEALOGY (S1E18)
I’ve forgotten all about this episode on several occasions. Nothing interesting happens, nothing funny happens, and nothing important happens. A bunch of people have family members, they hang out, that’s an episode. It sounds more like the show Jerry and George pitch on Seinfeld than it does Community. I am, indeed, suggesting that the show they pitch is different from the show itself. Come on, Seinfeld was about how a comedian gets his material. Really, the more I think about it, this episode really should have been a lot lower. Too bad I’m too lazy to fix it!
#84: CELEBRITY PHARMACOLOGY 212 (S2E13)
This episode works but honestly, it just doesn’t stand out. Annie puts on a drug awareness play and Pierce takes it too far. Britta’s nephew wants to fuck her. That’s the episode. This one just feels bizarre, even by Community standards. I feel like Harmon accidentally spilled the beans on what he wanted to eventually do with the characters a little too early. All of a sudden, in the middle of season 2, Craig is a huge pervert, and Pierce is trying to get back at the study group for not including him, and all these character traits seem to spring up out of nowhere before returning to normalcy just a bit by the next episode.
#83: MIXOLOGY CERTIFICATION (S2E10)
We’ve reached the magical point on the list when episodes stop being bad and start being “meh.” In this episode, Troy turns 21, and the crew takes him out drinking. Along the way, we discover that Shirley used to be an alcoholic, Jeff and Britta pretend to know everything, and Abed likes Farscape. This episode is good, honestly, it’s just not all that funny the second time around. The only good jokes in the episode are the Red Door/L Street joke and Annie’s Southern accent, and those jokes are really only funny once. The gag at the end involves Troy trying to wear over 150 t-shirts at once. Why is that funny?
#82: HERSTORY OF DANCE (S4E8)
This episode is actually a really funny concept. Britta is offended by the notion of a Sadie Hawkins dance, decides to throw her own dance, and in the heat of the moment says she’ll throw a Sophie B. Hawkins dance. At the same time Abed, hungry for shenanigans, arranges two dates to the same dance, leading to a few hijinks, but ultimately not working out as Abed intended. He winds up dating the coat room girl. It’s a really funny concept that Guarascio and Port just didn’t do anything with.
#81: PILOT (S1E1)
This pilot did a good job introducing us to the characters and general tone of the show. That being said, by modern standards, it wasn’t a very good episode. It was fine, just not very good. Nothing happened. Again guys, you’re not Louie, something needs to happen in every episode to make it interesting.I kind of feel like Harmon wanted to do a Breakfast Club-type thing and have Troy be Emilio Estevez, but that would not have worked, and it’s a good thing he got away from that as soon as possible. So overall, good introduction, mediocre episode.
#80: INTRO TO FELT SURROGACY (S4E9)
Alright, so the study group is all puppets this episode. What should they do? Get lost in the woods and have a bad trip, obviously! And I’m not exaggerating. That’s literally the only thing they do in the episode. They also sing maybe one or two forgettable songs, but that’s about it. That being said… “I have seen the Blue Man Group, I just didn’t get it! Why can’t they talk? They have so much in common!”
#79: ADVANCED ADVANCED DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS (S5E10)
In this episode, Hickey is trying to reconnect with his son and also play Dungeons and Dragons again. You can probably tell which one of those two things Harmon really wanted to do in this episode. And that’s the main problem. It’s just an excuse to do more Dungeons and Dragons. Sure, there are a few funny moments, but it just doesn’t feel as fresh as the first one, probably because THERE’S A FIRST ONE. The smart thing about the second paintball episode is that it was bigger and had a different tone. This is just the same thing with a few more people. It’s not new.
#78: BASIC SANDWICH (S5E13)
In this one, the gang discovers Russell Borchert (Chris Elliott), the founder of Greendale, and use the fact that he’s the founder of Greendale to prevent Subway from buying out the school. Also, Borchert has several million dollars in a duffel bag, the duffel bag winds up in Chang’s hands, and he uses the money to… give himself diamond teeth? First of all, according to Complex, Lil Wayne got a set of diamond teeth for only $150,000 so Chang should still have quite a bit of money left, right? Second of all, why would Chang use the money on something the people that gave it to him would immediately notice and question? Why not buy a nicer house or save it up for retirement or just retire now? Anyway, this episode makes no goddamn sense and doesn’t wrap up the show very well.
#77: CONVENTIONS OF SPACE AND TIME (S4E3)
#76: HISTORY 101 (S4E1)
You’ll notice that we’re still at #77 and we’ve already listed 7 out of 13 episodes in season 4. Yeah. Anyway, if nothing else, this episode is a good impression of a Community episode. “The Hunger Deans” is a term I use all the time, and Abed’s sitcom fantasies were a nice little wink at the fact that THE SITCOM PEOPLE ARE MAKING COMMUNITY NOW.
#75: DEBATE 109 (S1E9)
This is one of many Community episodes that feels like it just needs more time. The debate scenes are pretty interesting and funny, but there’s only two or three of them and they last maybe two minutes apiece. Still, it’s the thought that counts.
#74: THE ART OF DISCOURSE (S1E22)
Oh yeah, remember this one? No, you don’t. A bunch of annoying high schoolers annoy Jeff and Britta so Jeff gets back at them by fucking their mom. Abed tries to accomplish a few college film cliches with Troy’s help. Nothing else happens. That’s the whole episode. Pierce and Annie probably have one line each.
#73: DIGITAL EXPLORATION OF INTERIOR DESIGN (S3E13)
Once again, this episode is less an episode in its own right and more a prologue to the next episode, “Pillows and Blankets (#11)”. The Subway character is pretty cool, and I think I would have enjoyed Jeff and Annie’s subplot if they would have fleshed it out a bit more, but other than that, there’s just not much to this episode that we haven’t seen already.
#72: ROMANTIC EXPRESSIONISM (S1E15)
In this episode, Annie dates Vaughn. I liked Vaughn, but it was a bit ridiculous to have him date Annie for one episode. Also, Abed, Troy, and Shirley watch Kickpuncher, ridiculing it as they go along. Pierce joins them, but can’t keep up with the others’ wit. That subplot I actually liked. This was actually a pretty good episode for Pierce, a character who’s usually either made the villain or pushed to the side. I always felt Pierce got a bad rap.
#71: CUSTODY LAW AND EASTERN EUROPEAN DIPLOMACY (S2E18)
This is the longest episode title for a show that is notorious for absurdly long episode titles. And just as one might expect, not much happens. Troy and Abed have a new friend that Britta discovers is a warlord, Chang tries to be a better father, and once again Annie and Pierce do almost nothing the entire episode. But it’s pretty funny, so…
#70: INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS (S1E7)
This was the first Halloween episode, and hands-down the worst, because relative to future Halloween episodes, nothing really happens in this one. Pierce takes too many pills and has a bad trip, Shirley dresses as Harry Potter and everyone thinks she’s Urkel, and we learn a little more about Britta’s character, even though she was already probably the most developed character on the show. Some people don’t like the later Halloween episodes for some reason.
#69 (TEEHEE): ANALYSIS OF CORK-BASED NETWORKING (S5E6)
The Bear Down subplot of this episode is AMAZING, but it ultimately takes a backseat to a cliched, often humorless plot about Annie and Hickey trying to get a billboard put up. Add in some unnecessary and wasted cameos by Kumail Nanjiani and Nathan Fillion, and a dull season 1 Abed subplot that suffers from a noticeable lack of Donald Glover, and you get an episode that focused on all the wrong things.
#68: STUDIES IN MODERN MOVEMENT (S3E7)
Hijinks ensue when the gang helps Annie move in with Troy and Abed. Sounds like something that would happen on Friends, not Community. Also, there are a few subplots where Pierce gets high AGAIN (that was a weirdly common theme on the show), Annie and Britta picking up a hitchhiker who claims to be Jesus and drinks human blood, and Jeff having to spend the day with Craig because Craig blackmails him. Weak sauce, guys.
#67: SPANISH 101 (S1E2)
#66: ACCOUNTING FOR LAWYERS (S2E2)
#65: VCR MAINTENACE AND EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING (S5E9)
Sure, the VCR game that Annie, Abed, Rachel, and Anthony play is pretty funny (thanks, Vince Gilligan!), but ultimately, nothing surpasses this very first scene, in which the Dean dresses like a candy bar and raps. It’s funnier than it sounds. The other subplot is so unnecessary and cliche that I’m not even going to discuss it. I’m sure they were going to develop Rachel eventually, but they really should have done it sooner.
#64: PARANORMAL PARENTAGE (S4E2)
“Paranormal Parentage”is about the gang exploring Pierce’s supposedly haunted mansion, even though they all know it’s a trick and it turns out to be a trick. Of course, there does turn out to be one part that Pierce didn’t plan: the shadowy figure hovering by his bed in the security footage. That’s Gilbert, who’s been living out of the mansion for the past few weeks, even though it technically belongs to Pierce and he could have just told him that. There are a few good moments in the episode. Annie’s Samara introduction is very well-done, and there are some nice callbacks to past episodes (Ghosts can’t go through doors, they’re not fire!).
#63: THE FIRST CHANG DYNASTY (S3E21)
This one’s actually pretty cool. It’s just a typical elaborate heist, though. When they said they were going to do an elaborate heist, this is probably exactly what everyone was expecting. I’ve always loved the “copera” joke, and Troy and Abed’s Italian plumber characters were hilarious. That being said, the resolution was weird and a bit nonsensical, and Chang’s motivation is never really clear. Yes, I just questioned the motivation of an established sociopath.
#62: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (S1E10)
#61: POLITICS OF HUMAN SEXUALITY (S1E11)
The reason these sequential episodes are right near each other on the list is because I have pretty similar opinions on both of them. Troy and Abed’s subplots are both not that funny, in both cases the setup for the episode is better than the episode itself, but this one has a slight edge for one reason only: “Don’t eat the crab dip!”
#60: PASCAL’S TRIANGLE REVISITED (S1E25)
This episode does a pretty good job of summing up the first season. I like how Community always uses the last episode of the season to conclude all the major story arcs. I like to think that Dan Harmon didn’t realize how many dances there were on the show until he wrote this episode. That may be why he stopped doing them afterwards.
By the way, we’re nearly 3400 words in and we’re still at #60.
#59: INTERPRETIVE DANCE (S1E14)
You’ll find that most of season 1 is in this good but not great section of the list. I think this is the episode that made Guarascio and Port assume that Troy and Britta should end up together. This is another one of those episodes where the setup is funnier than the episode itself. But the episode itself is also pretty funny.
#58: PSYCHOLOGY OF LETTING GO (S2E3)
This episode isn’t really good, but I can’t really say it’s bad. The two main plots are pretty mediocre, but there’s a funny subplot where Duncan has a restraining order against Chang, and this is the episode where Abed delivers a baby in the background. Once again, it seems to be focusing on all the wrong things.
#57: INTRODUCTION TO TEACHING (S5E2)
The Nicolas Cage subplot is amazing. Let me just get that out of the way. The main plot is about Jeff not being a good teacher, then finding out how to be a good teacher. This episode also introduced Hickey, a character I never really cared for. But the Nicolas Cage stuff: A+.
#56: PARADIGMS OF HUMAN MEMORY (S2E21)
Oh boy, here comes the hate mail. It’s not that I find this episode bad; I just find the other flashback episode better. Because by the time the other one came around, Dan Harmon thought of a key element to make fake flashbacks work: make them funny. In this episode, the whole joke is that we’ve never seen it. Why is that a joke? Of course, there are a few funny lines in the episode, but they need to COME FROM THE FLASHBACKS TO MAKE IT WORK. That being said… “Feast your ear-tongues on these memory-pops.” Plus, the other clip show episode has a plot, whereas this one is just, “Man, we sure have made some colorful remarks this year, haven’t we?”
#55: ALTERNATIVE HISTORY OF THE GERMAN INVASION (S4E4)
This episode gets a lot of hate, but I liked it. It’s really funny (“There must be nearly 100 luftballoons here!”), it’s got Malcolm McDowell, and the absence of Nick Kroll is something I’d consider a mixed blessing.
#54: ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (S1E24)
In this episode, Chang is fired, replaced with an actual Spanish teacher, and at the same time, the plumbers try to force Troy to become one of them. Contrary to what usually happens, this is actually a pretty funny episode with a terrible setup.
#53: COMPETITIVE ECOLOGY (S3E3)
In this episode, the gang gets into a massive argument. But this time we see it from the outsider perspective of Todd, another student in the group’s biology class. They also kill a turtle. And there’s a lot of fire or something. I don’t know, this episode was pretty rushed. Like many episodes, it really needed a little more time.
Remember how I said we were nearly 3400 words in at entry #60? Well, I’ve typed around 500 more words in the past six entries. That’s like two Green Eggs and Hams.
#52: INTRODUCTION TO FILM (S1E3)
I love the Documentary Filmmaking episodes, but strangely enough, it doesn’t work all that well in this one. The high point of this episode is Jeff’s subplot, where he has to decide what to do when he’s ordered to seize the day. And, say it with me now, ANNIE AND PIERCE ARE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.
#51: FOOTBALL, FEMINISM, AND YOU (S1E6)
This episode isn’t much in the way of plot, but it is VERY funny. For one example, there’s Troy’s conservative fight raps, the introduction of the Human Being, and of course, “Your name… begins… with a T!”
#50: EARLY 21st CENTURY ROMANTICISM (S2E15)
This is yet another episode that’s more “funny” than it is “good.” I consider this to be a turning point on the list, because this is the last episode on it that could be considered “bad.” And as you may have noticed, there’s still quite a few season 4 episodes left, because once again, I liked season 4. Wait, no I didn’t.
#49: INTRO TO KNOTS (S4E10)
In this episode, the group ties up Malcolm McDowell, saying they’ll only let him go when and if he gives them a good grade. A great setup, and fairly well-executed. My only complaint is the Darkest Timeline scene at the end, which fuckin sucks.
#48: BASIC INTERGLUTEAL NUMISMATICS (S5E3)
This episode is about the Ass Crack Bandit. Also, it turns out that Starburns is alive. As one may imagine, the episode is clever, dark and silly. One may even say it’s the Dark Silliest. Your hatred of that pun is PALPapble. Anyway, ‘svery nice.
#47: GEOGRAPHY OF GLOBAL CONFLICT (S3E2)
In this one, Annie has an enemy (say that five times fast), and she’s also Annie, and Annie 1 wants to do Model UN, and then Annie 2 beats her to it, and then they organize an MUN-off. The gang winds up resolving the issue through sci-fi logic and name-calling. It’s about as good as you’d expect.
#46: ADVANCED DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING (S4E6)
The third and final Documentary Filmmaking episode, this one revolves around Abed making a documentary about Changnesia, which Jeff uses as a setup to expose Chang for the fraud that he really was. Changnesia was a really dumb concept, but this was still a funny, well-executed episode.
#45: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (S1E4)
This episode has two separate, very memorable subplots. In one, Annie invites Troy and Abed for a psych experiment wherein Duncan puts them in a room and tells them to wait, while he and his students watch the subjects from a monitor in the other room and wait until they all finally break. However, Abed stays patient for so long that Duncan ultimately breaks before he does. Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice, Shirley and Jeff bond over their shared hatred of Vaughn. A very well-remembered episode, and quite a funny one, too, despite a few weird jokes about Duncan being immature.
#44: ADVANCED CRIMINAL LAW (S1E5)
This episode was what I consider to be the first Community episode of Community. While most of the season didn’t feature Annie or Pierce at all, this one gave them their own subplot. In addition, it introduced the Luis Guzman statue, the first mention of Russell Borchert (believe it or not), it was the first appearance of Leonard, it was the first episode in which Craig played a major role, it was the first episode to reveal that Starburns’ name is Alex, and Troy and Abed are first portrayed as good friends in this episode. It was a real milestone for Community, is what I’m saying.
#43: CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN POULTRY (S1E21)
This episode had a pretty funny GoodFellas send-up, introduced Annie’s Boobs, and explored the dynamics of the group, but I think what we all really remember it for is coining the phrase “streets ahead.” Besides “six seasons and a movie,” which started in “Paradigms of Human Memory,” it’s probably the most-quoted Community reference of all time. If you’re a Community fan and you don’t use this quote, well… you’re streets behind.
#42: COMPARATIVE RELIGION (S1E12)
In this episode, Jeff gets into his first fight on Christmas, and Shirley throws a Christmas party that goes awry when we discover that she is the only person in the group who celebrates Christmas (EVEN THOUGH WE FIND OUT LATER THAT ABED ALSO CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS GOD THAT EPISODE JUST), but the real highlight of the episode is Greendale’s hilarious attempt to keep the holidays PC (Merry happy!).
#41: COOPERATIVE POLYGRAPHY (S5E4)
In this one, the gang is forced to take a polygraph test after Pierce’s funeral before getting their bequeathals. A lot of heavy shit goes down, but as Linkin Park might say, in the end it doesn’t even matter, because no one really gets much of anything except for Troy. Annie gets the tiara from “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking,” Britta gets the iPod from “The Art of Discourse,” Jeff gets a bottle of scotch, and no one else gets anything besides a canister of Pierce’s sperm. In the end, it turns out he actually died from dehydration from filling up the sperm canisters! Okay, that’s hilarious. Troy is given Pierce’s entire estate on the condition that he sails around the world. Most of the episode works, although it is pretty limited, since it’s a bottle episode and all.
#40: ABED’S UNCONTROLLABLE CHRISTMAS (S2E11)
I have VERY mixed feelings about this episode. It’s an excellent idea, but it’s not executed all that well. The episode is rarely funny, the one-by-one removal of characters is neither unpredictable nor necessary, and isn’t even really something Christmas specials tend to do. The cave of frozen peas line is the only joke I seem to remember from this episode, and as I said before, it contradicts previous episodes by stating that Abed celebrates Christmas. Overall, I guess it’s pretty good…?
#39: INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM (S1E13)
In this episode, Jeff becomes the editor of the school paper, and Annie finds a cool story (bro) about racial profiling at Greendale, prompting the line “I hope you have an army of raisins, ’cause I’ve got a major scoop.” The highlight of the episode, however, is the abrupt appearance of Jack Black’s character, Buddy, who represents all the background characters on the show who’ve just sat watching all of the study group’s shenanigans. Then at the end, we get our own little Heat Vision and Jack reunion when it is discovered that this study group was actually Buddy’s backup in case he didn’t get into the cool study group, with Owen Wilson and Starburns.
#38: BASIC HUMAN ANATOMY (S4E11)
In this episode, Troy forces Abed into a body swap because he’s dealing with some heavy shit between him and Britta. Also, Jeff tells Craig about it and Craig does a body swap thingie, too, much to Jeff’s frustration and Annie’s sexual frustration. It’s pretty funny, despite being a bit absurd, and thank god they came to their senses and realized Troy and Britta make a terrible couple.
#37: FOOSBALL AND NOCTURNAL VIGILANTISM (S3E9)
#36: COOPERATIVE CALLIGRAPHY (S2E8)
I love how Community evades all criticism by being like, “Yeah, but we say that we’re doing it, therefore it’s parody!” In this bottle episode, Annie gets upset because no one ever returns her pens, so she decides no one can leave the study room until they find out who took the pen. Things escalate, as seen in the above image, and they ultimately decide on the resolution that a ghost must have taken it, because that would make more sense than any of them taking it. However, it turns out that Annie’s Boobs took the pen (the monkey, not Annie’s cleavage) and is hiding it in the vent. Interestingly, if you look back at the episode, you can actually see Annie’s Boobs taking the pen early on. Also, the gang exposes a lot of secrets that lead to conflicts that last throughout the rest of the series, but who cares? Monkeys!
#35: INTRO TO POLITICAL SCIENCE (S2E17)
This is the big election episode, where Annie wants to become student president and Jeff wants to prove the title is meaningless. And the winner gets to meet Joe Biden. At the same time, Troy and Abed are commenting on the election via Greendale Campus TV, and Abed gets involved with a Secret Service agent who is never seen or heard from again. Eventually, Annie and Jeff both resign after things go too far, leading to debates that consist of Magnitude saying “Pop pop!” and Leonard blowing raspberries. In an attempt to continue seeing his girl, Abed makes intentionally suspicious statements, which also leads to Biden avoiding Greendale. It wouldn’t have mattered if he had come, because South Park won the election. With seven votes. Conclusion: wut?
#34: BIOLOGY 101 (S3E1)
So much happens in this episode, but at the same time, nothing happens at all. Jeff daydreams a song-and-dance number about this year finally being normal, Troy and Abed announce their big move, Chang lives in the air vent (a subplot that was hardly even discussed this season), and that’s just the opening sequence. The big question of the episode is whether or not the group can be friends when they’re not a study group. When Pierce leaves, Jeff is fine with it, but when Jeff is kicked out of Biology, allowing Pierce to reenter, things get pretty cray, and long story short, Jeff chops the table with an axe. Also, Abed is distraught about the loss of his beloved Cougar Town (which is still on, but I don’t know the story there), and eventually finds a new obsession in Inspector Spacetime, yet another thing Dan Harmon just kind of left floating around that Guarascio and Port had to figure out what to do with.
#33: HEROICS ORIGINS (S4E12)
Yet another season 4 episode that gets a bad rap that I really liked. In this one, Abed discovers the strange connections between members of the group from before the existence of the group, as well as some odd connections to Craig, Chang, Annie’s Boobs, Annie’s boobs, and Magnitude. And while it is ultimately meaningless that the group is connected, the same is true of real-life theories like this one. The comic book transitions were pretty cool, and the episode as a whole awards the show’s more in-depth viewers by delving deeper into the complex origin stories of the group. But the ending with the mechanical spider was absurdly dumb.
#32: REPILOT (S5E1)In this episode, we find how everything went sour after the gas leak year (season 4). Everyone’s lives are ruined, so they turn to the one place they have to go: Greendale. This episode does a good job of retconning season 4 as well as setting up season 5. Throw in a few hilarious Scrubs references and you’ve got a pretty good episode.
#30: BASIC STORY (S5E12)In this episode, nothing happens. But that’s the joke, so it’s cool (?). The gang has saved Greendale, and the insurance appraiser is coming to see if the place has any value. Meanwhile, Abed goes crazy over a lack of TV scenarios. In the end, however, it turns out that Carl and Richie are about to sell the school to Subway, and the only way to stop them is by finding buried treasure. Then the episode ends. This episode is honestly a little too meta. It’s mocking not a particular show or genre, but the very essence of fiction. Can characters keep going when they accomplish their mission? It is a problem very few people explore. What really happens after happily ever after? And not in the dumbass Disney sense of “Oh, after happily ever after, there’s just another story!” That doesn’t answer the question! What happens when there’s no story? A very similar theme is explored in “GI Jeff,” which we’ll get to in a while.
#29: INTRODUCTION TO FINALITY (S3E22)This episode has quite a few subplots. In one, Troy is told he is the Truest Repairman by Vice Dean Laybourne, who is promptly killed by a “freon gas leak,” making Murray the new Vice Dean. Troy grows suspicious and challenges Murray to a duel in the Sun Chamber (a chamber in which the temperature increases rapidly until you can fix the air conditioner. There is also a hilarious cameo from Hal Rudnick in this scene, who is actually less annoying in this than he is on the ScreenJunkies Show. Also, Shirley has some sort of Greendale Court case (not by the pool, sadly) with Pierce, who brings back Rob Corddry as his lawyer. Meanwhile, Evil Abed returns to destroy the lame timeline by making Britta depressed and sawing off Jeff’s arm. I like how this episode left it up to us whether the Darkest Timeline was real or an escape mechanism for Abed (probably the latter), unlike “Advanced Intro to Finality,” which implies that either Abed described the Darkest Timeline to Jeff in great detail, or it’s real (or a gas leak, teehee). Very nice.
#27: COMPETITIVE WINE TASTING (S2E20)In this episode, the main plot is a really lame and forgettable one, about Pierce’s Chinese girlfriend. The two subplots, however, are fantastic. In one, Troy lies about being raped by his uncle, and in another, Abed takes a class about Who’s the Boss and impresses the teacher, Stephen Tobolowsky (probably the biggest star you’ve never heard of) by answering the question that he never could (who’s the boss, obviously). It’s nice when Troy and Abed each have their own separate subplot rather than having to share one with Annie or Britta or something.
#25: DIGITAL ESTATE PLANNING (S3E20)The cool thing about this episode is that it’s a video game! That’s about it. This is another episode that really needed a little more time. It felt like the whole game was rushing to get to the end. They spend a little bit of time at the beginning, a little bit of time in the village, and that’s about all we see of the game. This episode also introduced us to Gilbert, a character who is never developed after this episode and has maybe 5 lines throughout the series. But yay, video games!
#24: REGIONAL HOLIDAY MUSIC (S3E10)This direct parody of Glee is one of Community‘s funniest episodes, due in part to guest star Taran Killam and the hilarious songs by Ludwig Gorannson, Annie Mebane, and Steve Basilone. Rather than talking about what works and doesn’t work about the episode, I’m just going to share some of my favorite lines from the episode
“What the hell are regionals? They keep talking about them.” -Pierce
“Glee club has become history club.” -Jeff
“They’re this close, Pierce!” -Craig
“I’m not saying I killed the glee club, I’m saying that if you don’t listen to me, it’s like you’re metaphorically cutting the brakes on… look, Kings of Leon!” -Mr. Rad
“Oh, Britta’s in this?” -Craig
“Glee! It’s a drug that you use/That turns your pain into shoes/And your shoes into dance!” -Mr. Rad and Abed
“Decorative plates!” -Troy
“If years were seasons, this December would be the December of our December” -Abed
“Santa Claus was born in 1945, he had a boogie woogie Coca-Cola army jive, and when the commies gave the polio to Doris Day, Santa helped the Beatles chase McCarthy away” -Troy and Abed
“He made the iron curtain and The Gremlins 2, fake butter and AIDS and Twin Peaks!”-Troy
“Boopy doopy doop boop sex” -Annie
#23: THE SCIENCE OF ILLUSION (S1E20)Oh boy, this one. The setup of this episode is that it’s April Fool’s Day. So naturally, all the subplots involve pranks perpetrated by the group. Jeff and Troy convince Pierce to go around dressed like the Cookie Crisp wizard all day, and that leads to a few good laughs. Meanwhile, Britta attempts to but a sombrero on a frog and leave it on Chang’s desk. Problem: Britta Britta’s things up and winds up tossing a cadaver out the window. Annie and Shirley investigate the crime scene, but Abed makes the mistake of asking who’s the good cop and who’s the bad cop. This leads to the two of them fighting about which one is worse while investigating the crime. But of course, the real highlight episode is the end tag. Sing along, kids! TROY AND ABED IN THE MOOOORNING!
#22: ANTHROPOLOGY 101 (S2E1)In the season 2 premiere, Betty White plays a character that Harmon soon realized was A) Just a female version of Chang, and B) very expensive. Meanwhile, Jeff and Britta try to fake a relationship to make up for last year’s debacle at the end-of-the-year dance, and eventually this leads to a massive argument between the group, eventually resulting in their project not getting done. In the end, Jeff improvises (as usual), but still ultimately fails to provide the proper answer.
#21: INTERMEDIATE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING (S2E16)Community had a habit of sneaking bizarre shit right past us. In this episode, Pierce pretends to be dying (and the hospital plays along?) and plays mindgames on the group by giving them strange bequeathals. He gave Britta a blank $10,000 check that she could give to a charity of her choice. Or herself. He gives Shirley a CD of the group supposedly talking about her behind her back. He tells Jeff that he got into contact with his estranged father, who is on his way to the hospital. He gets Troy LeVar Burton, and Troy is overwhelmed by his presence. He gives Annie a tiara, telling her that she is his favorite. This turns out not to be a mind game. These seemingly innocent gifts cause the group to fall apart, and Abed catches it all on tape, pointing out at the end that he may not have told the story he thought he would, but he used an ending narration to make it seem like it all fits together. Now that is some bizarre shit, and we didn’t even notice. By season 3, of course, Community was more open about their strangeness. More on that in a minute.
#20: A FISTFUL OF PAINTBALLS (S2E23)This is the second out of 2-4 paintball episodes (depending on your definition), and this time, it’s Western. That’s… pretty much the only distinction. Also, Pierce is trying to either exact revenge on the group or make amends with them. It’s unclear. That’s about it, though. Pretty cool, I guess.
#19: APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULINARY ARTS (S2E22)This is a solid episode all the way through. From the get-go, Duncan and the class are celebrating their blow-off class. Then, Dean Pelton walks in with a reporter from Dean Magazine (missed opportunity: Magadean) writing a report on Greendale. Duncan makes an excuse to leave, but luckily (?), Shirley’s water breaks and the group has to support her while they wait for Andre. While Pierce, Troy, and Abed have their own inconsequential, pointless, and brief subplot in the background, the gang has to help Shirley out. Abed knows how to deliver a baby from that time he did it in the background, but Shirley isn’t comfortable with that, so he has to coach Britta through it. Chang gives her words of encouragement because Shirley is worried that the baby may be his. The whole gang pitches in and in the end everything works out, except for the fact that the kid is named Ben Bennett and Dean Magazine shuts down after two issues.
#18: CRITICAL FILM STUDIES (S2E19)In this episode, the group throws Abed a really cool surprise Pulp Fiction party, but unfortunately, Abed is doing My Dinner with Andre, and claims not to be interested in pop culture anymore. Jeff is very impressed with Abed, until discovering that he’s just doing My Dinner with Andre. Meanwhile, at the Pulp Fiction party, things fall apart when Jeff’s present for Abed is a briefcase, much like the one in Pulp Fiction. Troy opens it to discover that it’s… the briefcase from Pulp Fiction. Then he accidentally sets it ablaze. Britta gets fired for damages caused to the restaurant. This was the quintessential Abed episode, an eclectic mix of references to the two movies listed above, as well as an interesting Cougar Town reference and an even more interesting story about what it means to be a good friend. I don’t think I’ll ever forget my My Dinner with Andre dinner with Abed episode of Community.
#17: BASIC LUPINE UROLOGY (S3E17)This episode parodies Law & Order by asking the age-old question “What if that, but also, Greendale?” A study group yam is smashed, and it’s up to them to find out who did it, because no one else cares about their fucking yam. In fact, at first, no one cares, but Annie believes that it was an A+ yam. Shirley, Troy and Abed first agree to help, going after Pierce, whose first guess is Todd, who had a motivation. Troy and Abed confront Todd, noticing a suspicious hand injury, but Todd claims he burned it in Home Economics and was unable to enter the lab because it was locked. They discover that the door was locked at 8:10 PM, so they go to Fat Neil, the keymaster. He says that Magnitude was the last one to sign out. Magnitude says that someone stole the key from his backpack. Troy and Abed set up a trap and catch Starburns, who refuses to talk because they have no authority. Troy and Abed eventually do corner Starburns, who confesses that Todd actually did it. However, it turns out that Todd is a soldier, and his former CO steps in to help him out. Regardless, Todd eventually confesses, but Jeff isn’t convinced. He makes a closing statement that forces Vicky to admit that she had boiled everyone else’s yams. Also, Starburns dies. A very loaded episode, but a very well-done one nonetheless, managing once again to perfectly mimic the tone of Law and Order.
#16: MESSIANIC MYTHS AND ANCIENT PEOPLES (S2E5)
This episode is a metacommentary on how meta Community is. Meta meta. Shirley asks Abed to make a viral video about the New Testament for her, but she decides to take it in a new direction by making a movie about a story about a filmmaker exploring Jesus and discovering that he is Jesus in a way. Rumors swirl, some saying that theaters will show the film backwards, others saying that the film is made of deleted scenes and the deleted scenes are the actual film. Abed doesn’t help either, answering each question with a cryptic statement that will have you pondering for hours. The result, of course, is shit, but it’s quite a fun ride.
#15: VIRTUAL SYSTEMS ANALYSIS (S3E16)
Annie sets Troy and Britta up on a date (and yet Harmon complains when Guarascio and Port decides they’re a couple?), leaving her and Abed alone in the apartment. They decide to do some Inspector Spacetime stuff in the Dreamatorium, but things take a bizarre turn when Abed starts to get all philosophical about what the Dreamatorium means to him. He tries to run simulations to show Annie the error of her ways. It leads to a philosophical discussion about the fabric of the group and the relationship between Annie and Abed, as well as the personalities of each of them. There’s also a really funny scene at the beginning where Craig shows up dressed as a woman on the right half of his body and a man on the left half, undergoing his usual routine. He comes back later and says he thinks he went too far on this one, and that he has to go to the bank later. “What should I tell people? I had good news and bad news?” It’s interesting that in this season, the restaurant is named Senor Kevin’s, and in the next season, Senor Chang becomes Kevin.
#14: ADVANCED GAY (S3E6)
In this episode, we are introduced to Cornelius Hawthorne, the abusive, ridiculous, unbelievably racist father of Pierce Hawthorne. Pierce realizes that his moist towelettes have become trendy in the gay community. At first, he embraces the news, but his overbearing father is having none of it. Jeff tries to help Pierce stand up to his father by throwing the party, and eventually killing Pierce’s father. Britta wonders if all this has anything to do with Jeff’s daddy issues. This episode does sort of discuss daddy issues in an interesting way, as well as observing on the nature of homophobia. Plus, it was the origin of that ivory toupee, so there’s that.
#13: GI JEFF (S5E11)
This was one of the more meta episodes of Community, and that’s really saying something. On one level, it’s a simple G.I. Joe parody. But there’s also a complex mythos it develops, in which toy commercials exist in a realm between the cartoon world and our own. And on another level, it shows how all shows with this narrative structure could fall apart easily and lead to utter chaos. Jeff shoots and kills Destro, something any Joe could have done a thousand times on the show, and it leads to, among other things, the group winding up in prison and G.I. Joe and Cobra joining forces to become G.I. Jobra, a group whose sole purpose is to destroy Jeff and his rogue band of former Joes. THEN we find out that Jeff was actually dreaming all this while in a Korean-pill-and-scotch-induced coma, which leads to an examination of Jeff’s character and the discovery that he is actually 40, which in turn hearkens back to the older discussion topic of how similar Jeff and Pierce really are. It’s a lot like The LEGO Movie, if you think about it.
#12: CURRICULUM UNAVAILABLE (S3E19)
The best episode in the rollercoaster ride of a plotline that made up the end of season three, this one revolves around the study group going into group therapy, supposedly to help Abed. The therapist is Dr. Heidi, played by the mad genius that is John Hodgman. The group points out that Abed has been acting out recently, leading to flashbacks of him freaking out over daylight saving’s time, Shirley’s praise of Brett Ratner, and narrating Pierce’s life. The rest of the episode consists of increasingly outlandish flashbacks, until Hodgman draws the conclusion that Greendale is actually an insane asylum and the past three years had been part of a shared psychosis of theirs. They walk out, until Jeff realizes that the very notion is preposterous (Annie is literally carrying a Greendale backpack) and go back in only to find Hodgman trying to escape through the window. He confesses that he had actually been hired by Chang to keep the Greendale Seven from going back. This episode is so interesting because it puts before our eyes the kind of ridiculous stuff Harmon has had us believe the past three years, and for a second you almost believe that Greendale doesn’t exist.
#11: PILLOWS AND BLANKETS (S3E14)
This hilarious parody of war documentaries once again asks the question, “What if that, but also, Greendale?” Troy and Abed are at arms about who should get the world record: Abed’s pillow fort, or Troy’s blanket fort. Troy gives Abed an all tomato, but Abed decides war is the only way. Everyone gets involved, including Jeff, who sees the war as an opportunity to miss classes. In the end, Jeff convinces Troy and Abed that things have gone too far, and that they should put on their imaginary friend hats and make nice. The best part: the North Cafeteria, named after William North, is located in the western portion of East Hall, gateway to the western half of North Hall, which is not named after William North, but for its position above the South Wall. It is the most contested and confusing battlefield on Greendale’s campus, next to the English Memorial Spanish Center, named after Portuguese sailor English Memorial.
And so we’ve reached the top ten. it took about 8,600 words, but we finally made it. Here we go.
#10: CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND INTERIOR DESIGN (S2E9)
Rather than sum up the episode, I’m going to try and sum up the ending. Jeff and Annie call Craig into the study room, at which point Annie shoots Garrity. causing Craig to pull out his gun and shoot Annie. Jeff is understandably mad, so he shoots Craig. Annie stands up and explains to Jeff that it was actually just meant to teach him a lesson, but then Craig stands up and says that he and Jeff we’re trying to teach Annie a lesson. So Annie shoots Jeff. Then it turns out that Annie’s gun was also a prop, at which point it is revealed that the whole thing was meant to teach Craig not to switch sides so readily. Then, as Garrity is about to leave, a security guard walks in and shoots him (another prop), to teach everyone about the dangers of prop guns. As an added bonus, each shot looks more realistic than the previous.
#9: FOR A FEW PAINTBALLS MORE (S2E24)
I think one of the reasons I didn’t like the first part of the episode was because it focused on Westerns, a genre I’ve always found to be a bit of a bore. Luckily for me, in the second installment, they veer away from the Western theme and decide to do Star Wars. I think Harmon realized in the early stages of this episode that if he didn’t do Star Wars now, he might never get the chance. This episode is awesome from start to finish, featuring Abed as Han Solo, Jeff as Han Solo, Britta as Britta, and Jordan Black as an ice cream cone. Fun fact: it was this very episode that convinced Marvel to have Joe and Anthony Russo direct The Winter Soldier. You can see why.
#8: HORROR FICTION IN SEVEN SPOOKY STEPS (S3E5)
Britta discovers that one member of the group has homicidal tendencies and tries to find out who by having the group tell scary stories. This gives us some interesting insight into how the group thinks collectively and individually. Pierce thinks about mainly sex (and Don’t Be A Menace, apparently). Britta’s first story indicates her lack of creativity and individual thought, despite how she projects herself. Abed’s indicates an excessive logicality, and I want to point out at this point that only two or three members of the group actually tell scary stories. One of them is Annie, who is clearly influenced by modern pop culture (hers is about a Victorian woman who teaches a vampire to read). At the same time, she projects her worries about Jeff and Britta’s relationship by portraying Jeff as a vampire who uses Britta for sustenance and Annie as a strong independent woman who tries to reform the vampire, then gives up and eats him. In Shirley’s, the gang is all debaucherous young’uns who are ultimately tortured forever by Satan himself, Dean Pelton. In Troy’s, Troy and Abed are two friends who encounter an evil doctor, who sews the two together. Sadly for him, this only makes them stronger than they ever were. In the end, they switch the evil doctor’s hand and feet, while also sewing his ass cheeks to his chest, creating breasts he can never touch. This episode also features the payoff of a three-year-long Beetlejuice joke, and a very interesting ending where it turns out that the only sane one among them… is Abed. This brings up questions of whose perspective we see the characters from, as well as whether or not the show is canonically a show. It’s very nice.
#7: DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING: REDUX (S3E8)
This episode was fucking insane. Abed films a documentary about Craig trying to shoot a new commercial for Greendale. Annie is his script supervisor, everyone else is in the commercial. Jeff plays Craig, as you can clearly see above, and it’s pretty hilarious. Pierce demands a trailer, doesn’t get one, and then rents a trailer and refuses to come out until he gets a new one. Jeff demands to shoot in front of the Luis Guzman statue, hoping that Guzman’s lawyers won’t allow it. However, it turns out that Guzman actually wants to be in the commercial. Craig overhauls the entire script so that Guzman can be in it. He becomes more demanding of his actors, forcing Troy and Britta to reshoot a hugging scene for 12 hours. The ad is already insanely over budget, and everyone seems to be losing it on the set, especially Jeff and Annie. The crew finally reaches their breaking point when Craig recasts Jeff in a bald cap with Chang in a blond wig. By the time Guzman arrives, the school is in shambles, and Guzman refuses to participate in the commercial. Luckily for Craig, Abed manages to cut his own commercial in time for Carl and Richie to see it. This was probably Jim Rash’s finest episode, as it explores his character in a much deeper way than any other. It also explores Abed’s role as a sort of outside observer of the group, even when he’s a part of it, sometimes swooping in to save the day, but otherwise mostly doing his own thing. It’s a very clever, very funny, very bizarre episode, and that’s all a Community episode should be.
#6: GEOTHERMAL ESCAPISM (S5E5)
I’ve heard people say that this is the best paintball episode (paintball referring not to paintball specifically, but to episodes wherein simple games cause mass chaos). And that may very well be. The post-apocalyptic setting is interesting in relation to Troy’s departure, which from Abed’s and from our own perspective could be seen as a catastrophic event. The episode is a basic Mad Max/Waterworld parody on the surface, but it’s actually a setup for a very emotional, very funny farewell for Donald Glover. Plus, the game mechanics are pretty funny, too. Simply seeing people take themselves so seriously and dire while standing on chairs and sofas is funny enough to carry the episode. One of the other things I love about the episode is Jeff and Britta’s extended argument about a knock-knock joke. Just an all-around great episode.
#5: EPIDEMIOLOGY 206 (S2E6)
In the second Community Halloween episode, a strange mystery meat is making those who eat it very sick. Then Pierce becomes a zombie. It turns out that Craig got the meat from an army surplus store, and he needs to get out of the building, seal everyone else in the building, and wait for the army to come. Unfortunately, this means the group must survive a zombie apocalypse. The episode is a very well-done and surprisingly scary homage to zombie flicks, and it’s interesting how everyone winds up getting infected, as that’s what probably would happen in that scenario. It’s very funny and very well-done. Good for you, Community. Have a cookie.
#4: ADVANCED DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS (S2E14)
Community has always been good at making it seem like a lot is at stake, even when literally nothing is at stake. Of course, in this episode Neil is severely depressed, so I suppose there is something at stake. Pierce, however, believes the group is excluding him from their game, so he forces himself into the game and destroys everyone. In this one, the focus is really on Fat Neil and Pierce. Fat Neil is a character we never really knew much about, so it’s interesting to look at a background character for once, to find out their story. We also see Pierce cast as the villain, not because he is pure villain, but because he has spent his time at the school looking for friends, and when he finally gets them and they alienate him, he seeks revenge. OK, so maybe he is kind of a stock villain in this episode. But it suits him well.
#3: APP DEVELOPMENT AND CONDIMENTS (S5E8)
Community from the beginning was social satire first and foremost, and that is never more apparent than in this episode, which seems to have so much of everything people love about Community. It has a Yelp-for-people app that leads to the collapse of civilization as it establishes a caste system where “Fives have lives, fours have chores, threes have fleas, twos have blues, and ones don’t get a rhyme because they’re garbage.” It has tons of hilarious moments like the line I just mentioned. It has the typical Britta ridicule (people only listen to her when she has mustard on her face). It even has Starburns’ magnificent Zardoz costume, pictured above. It’s an episode that works on every level, to the point that it’s almost too much.
#2: MODERN WARFARE (S1E23)
I think we all remember where we were when we first saw “Modern Warfare.” Most of us were at home, but still. It was sort of unheard of, for a relatively tame social satire to suddenly become an action movie one episode. And Harmon got all the parodies he could out of this one episode, because he wasn’t sure if he would be able to do them later. The episode parodies Battle Royale, Pitch Black, The Matrix, Die Hard, Terminator, 28 Days Later, The Warriors, Rambo, Predator, and the films of John Carpenter and John Woo, among others. It seems like everyone in the world liked this episode, and for good reason. They could very easily have made this all Jeff’s dream (*cough* season 4 *cough*), but by keeping it real (dawg), they created this realm of possibility in which they could explore the fallout of all the decisions made during this apocalyptic scenario. Some may say “Geothermal Escapism” is better, but… it isn’t. Now, I’ve said in the past that this was something unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I realize now that that is not true. It is something that I hadn’t expected, but I have seen things like it before.
Now, “Remedial Chaos Theory,” on the other hand…
#1: REMEDIAL CHAOS THEORY (S3E4)
You see that chart there? That is the plot map that the Community writers used while writing “Remedial Chaos Theory.” LOOK AT THAT SHIT. In this episode, Jeff rolls a die to see who has to get the pizza, and we explore the seven different realities created by the roll of the die. This is an episode that was brought up constantly for the remainder of the show, and it makes one wonder if certain episodes take place on different timelines. In the timeline we follow, everyone has a happy funtime dance party and sings “Roxanne” together. In another, Pierce dies, Jeff loses an arm, Troy breaks his larynx, and Annie goes insane. I don’t even know how to comment on this. It’s insanely dark, but at the same time, it’s relatively light. We learn so much about the characters, but not much changes after the episode. It’s just an amazing, mind-blowing, beautiful, dark, twisted episode of Community.
Well, 10,400 words and 96 episodes later, I’ve finally completed my recap of Community. I hope you enjoyed, and if you’re new to the show, I hope you enjoy it. I sure did.
I’ll have a whole bunch of articles out real soon. Like if you like, favorite if you favorite, follow if you follow, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…
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