Air Date: Thursday January 20, 2011 | Grade: A-
Community starts off NBC’s new three-hour comedy block with its usual high level of comedy gold. This is one show that manages to make me laugh week after week.
Jeff (Joel McHale), Rich (Greg Cromer) and Annie (Alison Brie)
The study group returns from their Christmas break, faced with the task of adding Rich (Greg Cromer) or Señor Chang (Ken Jeong) to the group. Jeff (Joel McHale) doesn’t deal with Annie’s (Alison Brie) crush on Rich very well and he is the main objector to Rich joining the group. I like how the writers have treated the Jeff/Annie storyline. They both have feelings they’re not ready to deal with but it’s slowly unraveling.
It is quiet on the Abed (Danny Pudi) front; he is the one who tells Jeff that Rich rejected Annie because she’s too young for him. “Asian Population Studies” has the opportunity to fully play on a movie cliché when Jeff runs in the rain. I love that the writers spin who he goes to see. I’m not sure what is more surprising – Jeff running to Annie or who he actually visits, Rich. One of the things I love about Community is how it pays homage to other TV shows and films. The show always finds a way to make it their own.
Andre (Malcolm-Jamal Warner)
Along with the group, we finally get to meet Shirley’s (Yvette Nicole Brown) ex-husband, Andre (Malcolm Jamal Warner). Like Britta (Gillian Jacobs), I’m not entirely happy Shirley has reunited with Andre but I’m pleased about the casting of Warner. He makes Andre somewhat likeable and for a moment, you forget the things he did to Shirley.
Once Troy (Donald Glover) lets slip to Pierce (Chevy Chase), it is only a matter of time before everyone else knows about Chang and Shirley’s indiscretion. After participating in a recent conference call with Yvette Nicole Brown and Malcolm Jamal Warner, I thought there would be a few episodes before anything is revealed. So I was pleasantly surprised it happens, leaving a big question mark regarding Shirley, Andre and Chang. Andre seems to have turned over a new leaf and wants to stand by Shirley even if the unborn child isn’t his.
Community is one of the shows I miss when it’s on hiatus. I love the balance between the comedy and small moments of drama; I can’t wait for more episodes.
Professor Duncan (John Oliver) being sober. Somehow I don’t see it lasting too long especially if Chang winds him up.
Señor Chang replacing words with his name to make puns and his slow clapping.
Abed’s malfunctioning robot act to get rid of Chang.
Britta talking to Shirley about Andre: “Oh he apologized. Well I guess that completely un-bangs that stripper.”
Photos ©NBC Universal Media, Inc.
Originally written for The Voice of TV