Stay Tuned
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Community" Review: A Passing Grade For Now

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know full well my philosophy on TV pilots.

They’re tricky because you have to introduce all of the characters, but you also have to make it entertaining enough to get people to tune in again. Personally, I think sitcom pilots are even trickier, because it’s only a half hour and most of the best stuff has already been given away in the promos.

Probably the most successful sitcom pilots just jump right in there and try and introduce you to the characters along the way. That is certainly what the pilot of “Community” does, although I’m not sure how successful it is…

“Community” stars Joel McHale (who is best known for “The Soup”) as Jeff, a lawyer who has just had his license suspended because the state bar discovered his degree was from Colombia (the country not the school). Now he’s at Greendale Community College trying to earn a degree the easiest way he can.

He also wants to find a way to impress the attractive woman in his Spanish class, Britta (Gillian Jacobs). So he pretends to be a certified Spanish tutor and invites her to a fake study group. But when she invites Abed (Danny Pudi) and he invites several others, the fake study group turns into a real one. And the group learns much more about each other than they do Spanish.

Rounding out the group are Pierce (Chevy Chase), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), Annie (Alison Brie) and Troy (Donald Glover). Each of them has a reason to be in community college. Shirley is a divorcee looking for a second chance, Annie is recovering from a breakdown, Britta is a drop-out with something to prove, Abed has some serious family issues, Troy lost his football scholarship because of injury and Pierce is, well, we’re not really sure about him yet.

And honestly, I’m not really sure about the show yet either. The pilot is funny (although it is terribly disrespectful to community colleges), but I think that’s mostly because Joel McHale is so funny. But how many times can you laugh at him using his fast-talking ways to get him out of trouble? The rest of the characters will have to step up to the plate and at this point, I’m just not sure they can.

But I’m willing to give it a passing grade now with future re-evaluations throughout the season…

“Community” premieres Thursday, September 17th at 9:30 p.m. on NBC…

Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC