"Community" is so far making the grade...

NBC's new prime time comedy series is already winning me over.

After only three episodes, I have high hopes for NBC's new comedy series about life at a community college. “Community,” created by Dan Harmon, is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, of  “Arrested Development,” (which, in my opinion, is hands-down the most brilliant comedy to ever grace prime time television.)

While Fox's new series, “Glee,” is (disappointingly) riding the obnoxiously long coattails of “High School Musical,” “Community” presents itself as a “school days” show for grown-ups--a satirical, dysfunctional Breakfast Club, flaunting stereotypes and weaknesses of its misfit characters.

The Spanish study group in “Community” comprises a cast of stock types, but with a twist. The “rebel” character, Jeff Winger (played by Joel McHale), is more of a weasel than a bad-ass. He finds himself at Greendale Community College to cheat his way to an easy degree after his illegitimate law degree was revoked. Instead of the jock on top of the world, we have Troy (Donald Glover), a former high school football star who refuses to remove his letterman jacket and move on with this life. The "pretty girl," Britta (Gillian Jacobs), is still the pretty girl, but far from “miss perfect,” as she is also a former drop-out. White-haired sixty-something Pierce (Chevy Chase), lapses between sage-like wisdom and downright creepiness. Will he ever find success in his attempts to woo (or sexually harass) sassy middle-aged divorcee, Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown)? I look forward to finding out.

Last night's episode was my favorite yet (though in all fairness, there have only been two others). The perfect parody of the professor from “Dead Poets Society” had me rolling with laughter. But we also got a closer, more human look at one of the most colorful characters, Abed, the Arab student with Asperger's Syndrome (Danny Pudi).

The third episode proved that “Community” can integrate sensitive subject matter without seeming cheesy, losing credibility, or sacrificing its politically-incorrect brand of humor.

The new show has thereby gained my trust and affection.

And it's also given me something to watch in that half-hour eternity between “The Office” and “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”*

Well done, on both counts.

(* “Community” is moving next week to the 8:00 p.m. time slot. Don't miss it.)

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.