"Community" (new NBC show)

Did anyone see the series premiere of Community last night? I wasn’t expecting much, but it ended up being pretty good. All the Breakfast Club references, John Oliver, the Palestinian kid with Asbergers. It was a better first episode than Parks and Recreation anyway. If you saw it, what did you think?

I was expecting it to stink. I figured McHale’s Soup persona would be arch and artificial, Chevy Chase would be angry weird, and everyone else would just be a collection of quirks. The opening scene did not shake my expectations.

After that, however, I was happily wrong. McHale was a calmer and more normal version of himself, Chase was charming weird, and the show actually had some heart. Some very funny moments, too – “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”

I enjoyed it. A lot of funny parts and McHale was great. He was an actor (theater major at University of Washington, I believe) before he was ever a comedian, so I’m not surprised he did well.

How about a John Hughes reference right before a Swayze reference? And it was filmed several months ago. Crazy.

Much better than I expected, especially for a pilot. “Am I deaf? Can you guys all hear me talking?”

I think McHale should do a USN sitcom.

“…because you’re a five year-old girl and there’s a pecking order!” Good dialogue but I really hope the main character remains a bastard and never gets soft and moral and feels compelled to sacrifice his goals for the loser squad. That meme is well-played-out (and in fact is pretty much the plot of Big Stan, a Rob Schneider comedy previously unknown to me that I caught randomly on cable yesterday and which I only mention because aside from the maudlin plot, there were a number of amusing bits).

Also, there’s got to be lots of hot women at a college. If she doesn’t sleep with him in relatively short order, I can’t imagine someone like him not losing interest quickly and moving on.

It was better than “Parks and Recreation?” That isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement (I was surprised as hell when they renewed Parks, since it is one of the worst sitcoms I have EVER seen).

Ass-burgers snerk

Worth tuning in just to see this? Probably not. Worth leaving NBC on after The Office? Definitely. I was surprised by the show’s unique feel and it had a few laugh out loud moments. John Oliver is hilarious - “Booyah!”

But my favorite bit was all about context and delivery:

“You remind me of myself at that age.”
“. . . I deserved that.”

I went in kind of annoyed at the premise, and it looked like it was gonna be trite from the previews. But, I ended up almost loving it. It felt fresh and just when you thought it was going down that road you see a thousand characters do, it switches it up. Some really great lines. My favorite was the “Am I deaf?!” gag near the end. I also dug the cringing when he snapped “Steve”, the pencil in half.

All the sudden, I’m rooting for a show I didn’t expect to like.

I thought it was really good as far as a pilot goes. The cast seemed to go together very well. It’s a good line up with The Office.

I liked it a lot. I thought Chevy Chase and John Oliver were both perfect for their parts, and I think McHale strikes a good balance between being a douchebag but somebody you can like. It feels like it’ll be a good ensemble show without becoming a clone of The Office or 30 Rock.

Way better than Parks and Rec, which should have been axed instead of My Name is Earl.

The piece of advice about the varsity jacket was pretty good, too. It actually added a little depth to McHale’s character.

I like Joel, and ass burger guy was pretty good, but the rest was just a big old “meh”. I’m not sure why they even bothered hiring Chevy Chase, because they totally wasted him if they use him the entire series the way they did in this ep.

My main thought watching the show? “They canceled Earl for this?”

I lost my shit at the John Oliver line about a five year old girl yelling at him would be adorable. Anyone remember the exact exchange?

The clips I saw earlier were dreadful, and I almost decided not to watch.

But the show as a whole worked far better than I could have hoped. McHale is perfect as the fast-talking conman (and I didn’t expect his comeuppance at all: that was wonderful). The rest of the characters need more work, especially Chevy Chase’s character, which doesn’t yet exist) but the introduction of such a large cast was probably the best I’ve ever seen in a pilot. Some great writing there.

Can they keep this quality up every week? Better Off Ted is the closest example and it gets better with every episode, so maybe. Let’s hope.

No, they canceled Earl for five nights of Jay Leno in primetime.

Any who, I thought they did a much better job at showing characters than any other pilot, but you have to remember, it’s still the first episode. How much were all the side characters on the Office shown in the pilot episode?

Elisabeth Shue WISHES she ever looked that good.

I liked that they gave the audience some credit. When Pierce says, “I was in Toastmasters, perhaps I should do the introductions,” he proceeds to use mnemonics to remember everyone’s names, but screws them up. I can’t remember Troy’s and Britta’s but he said something like “A-bad, the A-rab” and “Queen . . . Elizabeth” for Annie. But no one explicitly called him on it or explained it. If you caught the joke, great, if not, his epic failure was funny as well. (Of course he remembered Shirley because she turns him on.)