'Community' tonight: Don't miss this one!

Maybe you don’t watch Community. (Seems likely, since this very funny, smart show is getting creamed by Big Bang Theory this season.) Maybe you don’t watch because you think it’s too in-jokey and ironic. (Which is sometimes a fair complaint; in fact, I thought the past couple of weeks have been a little too obvious with the in-jokes about poor ratings and the obsessive mythology of the show.) But here’s my pitch: Watch tonight, because this episode, titled “Remedial Chaos Theory,” is one of the best episodes of Community to date, and one that gives any newcomer very clear delineations of all the main characters’ personalities.

The premise of the episode is that the study group meets at Abed and Troy’s new apartment for a party. Jeff, Britta, Annie, Shirley, and Pierce gather to play a game of Yahtzee, when the doorbell rings. It’s the pizza-delivery man. Jeff throws one die to determine which person will go downstairs and fetch the pizza order. Abed asks him if he realizes that he’s creating “six different timelines.”

And sure enough, without giving away the jokes, I’ll say that we see six different scenarios of how a scene like this could play out. This being Community, you know that such gameplaying intricacy is a spur to some of the show’s best comedy. What you don’t know is how touching the episode proves to be in its final moments. For anyone who’s been put off by the ruthless pace of the jokes on this show, equating it with a heartlessness that, by contrast, overflows on the wonderful Parks and Recreation, again, I urge you: Watch tonight’s Community.

Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Chevy Chase all give superb performances, and the different-scenarios gimmick works like a plot structure that’s not a gimmick at all, but rather a mechanism for revealing more about the characters.

All this, plus a redemption of the Police’s “Roxanne.” What else can I say to compel you to watch?

Oh, and for me at least, there’s one other bonus: no Ken Jeong. I think Jeong, on TV and in the movies, has stretched out his funky-klutzy-dude persona longer than it’s been funny, and this season, his scenes as the school’s security guard have invariably fallen flat.

But as I say, this half hour tonight is terrific. And stay tuned for Parks and Recreation!

And make sure to read EW.com’s official recap of Community.

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (104 total) Add your comment
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    We’re there, dude! It’s gonna rock.

  • bipboop

    I LOVE this show. Haven’t loved a show like this since Buffy and AD. The whole cast is awesome, but Troy always cracks me up. Yeah, Ken Jeong’s got to get a new schtick.

    • downtown diva

      I Love Community, too, and I gave it a Series Recording on my DVR this season. Unfortunately, I had to miss both this and BBT last night due to a meeting, but I have them recorded to look forward to watching and enjoying.

  • Jeremy

    I’m always up for some Community.

    • Crane

      This episode was seriously trippy. I loved it — and I don’t even know why.

  • stu

    NBC should have not canceled Outsource!

    • Zoe

      A little off-topic, Stu, but I agree with you. Outsourced was far preferable to Whitney. Was it a perfect show? No. But it was often funny, and I would just point out that the first seasons of Office, Parks, and 30 Rock were pretty rotten too–and most of us are pretty happy those three shows got a second season.

      • ST

        The first season of the Office wasn’t pretty rotten. It was good (got even better the 2nd season) but I agree that even Outsourced was better than Whitney.

      • GunnerGA

        The first season of The Office used the same stories with only small adjustments as the British version from which it came. You could watch them side by side and they were almost identical.

      • Casey

        God Outsourced was awful, just awful.

    • Francisco

      I 100% agree with Stu! Outsourced should be on this fall’s line-up.
      Back on subject, I’ll be watching Community tonight!

    • John

      Yes, I miss it. A great cast of sadly underutilized performers (i.e. the Indians).

    • TerryD

      I agree. The pilot of Outsourced was not watchable, but then it turned out to be pretty funny with a really great ensemble cast. I was bummed when it was axed. Crappy decision-making by NBC (as with LIFE, which I will never forgive them for)

      • Jules

        great point. Life was a great show!!

    • alan of montreal

      Outsourced was awful. What NBC should have done was pick up Better Off Ted after ABC canceled it, then put it in their Thursday line-up, where it would have fit perfectly

    • Amy

      I know. I didn’t watch it regularly, but the couple episodes I saw were decent, especially in comparison to Whitney. I wish people were more willing to give it a second chance instead of using the usual “racist” excuse for disliking pretty much anything that has to do with minorities. Even if it wasn’t all that funny, it really wasn’t racist.

  • Tranzchick

    My problem with Community is this: How will I know what jokes are funny without a laugh track to prompt me?

    • Kelly

      You’re so right – thank goodness Whitney Cummings has TWO shows which tell us exactly what is funny (everything anyone ever says and then pauses for the “live audience” to laugh at). Without her shows, I might have to use my brain.

    • kate

      I hope you are being sarcastic.

      • @ kate

        I’m pretty sure that’s a dig at the Big Bang Theory. Then again, not all jokes accompanied by a laugh track are actually funny on that show, or any for that matter.

      • Maximilian

        Posted on Ken Jeong was a walking ccauratire, and that tiny robot with an Italian-American accent was a bit awkward.Do you reckon it was worse than the second one, or better?

    • Amy

      haha laugh track seems like mockery to me

  • Anna

    I rarely agree with anything Ken Tucker writes but i feel the less Chang we get, the better. He is the weakest spot on the show and we have been drowning in Chang this season. Looking forward to a Chang-less episode. I love Community for all its quirks but I’ll be the first to admit Ken Jeong is over the top.

    • Ally

      I totally agree. Last week was wayy too much Chang. He’s okay in very small doses where he just pops up randomly but the episodes are better when there is less of him.

  • Mae

    agree on ken jeong. even now its like they have no idea what to do with his character!

  • blueberry pancake

    I have tried Big Bang Theory, can’t do it. I have been converted to the subtle comedy of “laugh-track free” shows. Community, P&R, Sunny,Archer,Louis..etc

    • Ally

      Me too, laugh tracks feel so fake and really annoying. It cheeses the show up for me.

      • Erisah

        Posted on Thanks Preston! I’ve been following Jetson for a few years so it means a lot for you to have taken some time to check us out. I think you’ll enjoy the on site ogatofe from the knowledge base sessions we do on our job sites. Check back in a while!

      • Aline

        By the way, I once used Smarty as a template eginne long time ago. It was a dreadful experience having to deal with cache files, precompiled templates, etc. The name Smarty sounds like a joke to me. It is one of the worst template eginne I have met (eZPublish’s being another one). Smarty just adds a useless layer on top of native PHP features.On the other hand, I have used both Savant 2 and 3 and I still use them in all my large and small PHP projects. It’s clever. Not clever in the way it is implemented, I think the thing could handle plugins in a smarter way for example, it is just the idea that is clever.But it is not a template eginne for PHP newbies because it can be dangerous if you don’t understand what MVC is.Paul M. Jones is doing you a favor in reminding you about his template eginne. If you can’t understand that, I guess you are a PHP developer in the strict sense of the word.And Lukas, you sound completely out of scope. As if I was telling you instead of whining on other’s blogs, you’d rather take care of PHP 5.3 release (for what I care about this version ) .

    • Amy

      I actually kind of like The Big Bang Theory, but it’s more the show that I watch if other people are watching, and I’ve mostly just seen episodes from the first season. The laugh track can be annoying, but for me, it’s pretty easy to ignore it.

  • laura

    Ken, I agree withn you about Ken Jeong. A little Chang goes a long way, his scenes last week were painful.

  • Ben

    I watched the show last week and I did not the scenes with Ken Jeong. A nut job with a gun, and he’s supposed to be in charge of security? I agreed with the security guard who quit. Mr. Jeong is too weird for me. The rest of the show was fine, but, he’s just too over the edge to be credible.

    • Ben

      I did not Like the scenes with Ken Jeong.

    • Blah

      Pretty sure as a community college security guard, Chang doesn’t have a gun.

  • yelhsa

    BEST show on TV!!!

  • Josh

    Poor Chang. He’s getting beaten up all over.

  • JQuin

    Community and Modern Family are the funniest shows on right now. Parks and Rec and the Office are funny as well but the terrible, awful, unwatchable Whitney wrecks my Thursday night comedy line up.

    • Ash

      Could not agree with you more, JQuin! And not only is Modern Family funny as Hell, but it’s heart-warming too. And Whitney.,, Thursday night’s used to be perfect. I can’t wait for 30 Rock to come back!

      • John

        Whitney is great, much better than Community.
        Community is full of in-jokes for nerds who take it waaaay too seriously.
        Also, HIMYM is getting far too in-jokey for its own good.

      • Ash

        Well, that’s your opinion I guess but you are literally the first person I’ve heard praise Whitney.
        Also, there’s nothing wrong with being a nerd ;)

      • Rosie

        Umm John I really hope you’re kidding.

      • Carly

        Personally, I don’t mind that HIMYM is incredibly in-jokey. I feel like when a show goes onto it’s seventh season it deserves that right. It’s a nod to longtime fans, like me, who have watched from the beginning. Like Monday’s episode when Marshall was Giving that presentation and saying how weird fish names are. That was a call back to Marshall’s failed stand-up act.

      • Anonymous

        The reason why I love this show so much is that there is not one weak link among the main cast members. They are all hilarious. The only other shows that I think of that that can be said of are The Office and Modern Family. I don’t watch P&R so don’t think I’m a hater.

  • Mike

    Sepinwall has a big article on how great this episode is too… which in turn has heightened my expectations probably a little too much.

  • Rachel

    Thanks for the Community plug, Ken!!! I love this show and I’m so worried it won’t make it to a 4th season. . . stoked for tonight’s episode!

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