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Intro to Reviewing: Community Pilot
Class is in section kids! Welcome back to Intro to Reviewing, the Community review that has taken a long, LONG hiatus after the end of season six. Can you blame me? After the emotional season/series finale Community had this past May, I had to take a little time away from Greendale. Hey, when the thought of never seeing Troy being rescued from his pirate captivity or never getting a chance to see Annie be ridiculously good looking ever again enters your brain, you have to retreat and give yourself time to grieve dammit! Luckily, that process is over, and I'm back to start reviewing the older Community episodes. Why not right? And for today, we're going all the way back to the beginning to review the very first episode of Community, known simply as "Pilot." What do you know, that's the name of a lot of first episodes of shows NBC cancels two or three weeks later. What, you think I'd pass up the chance to not take an unprovoked shot at the Roman Reigns of TV networks? I kid, I kid; that joke was just to get Mazza riled up. And it's working. But enough about wrestling writers who I happen to be pals with. It's time to talk Community! ON WITH THE SHOW!
Intro to Reviewing: Pilot
Between the time when the ocean drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of...alright, I'll stop with the Conan the Barbarian quotes. Basically, this is Community Begins right here. Jeff Winger, disgraced lawyer, Seacrest look alike and Tom Cruise if his douche mode was turned to over 9,000, has arrived at Greendale Community College to get himself a law degree so he can get his job back. He has two goals; convince his friend and former client Dr. Ian Duncan (John Oliver) to give him the test scores for every class Jeff has this semester, and woo the attractive blonde girl named Britta from his Spanish class. Of course, Jeff's plans go about as well as Blue Demon Jr. shopping for suits at J.C. Penny, as Duncan won't give him the test results and his faux study group to get close to Britta ends up drawing in a cast of rejects. Those rejects; Annie Edison, Shirley Bennett, Pierce Hawthorne, Abed Nadir, Troy Barnes and Britta. The rest, they say, is six seasons and a potential movie.
"For the same reason I can pick up this pencil, tell you it's name is Steve and go like this *breaks pencil* and part of you dies just a little bit on the inside. Because people can connect with anything.. We can sympathize with a pencil, we can forgive a shark, and we can give Ben Affleck and Academy Award for screenwriting." Jeff Winger, at the beginning of his life changing speech that turns out to be as real Lindsay Lohan's credibility. It happens.
The scene where Jeff and Duncan meet on the Greendale football field to discuss Duncan handing over the test answers. What makes this so great? First off, the idea that Greendale has a football team is just hysterical. As we'd later find out in season one, that team was so bad, the pre Bobby Boucher Louisiana State Mud Dogs from The Waterboy are better than them. You can't help but laugh at that. And secondly, the banter between Duncan and Jeff is just hysterical. Really, anything with Duncan is hysterical, but this was especially good, as he comes across as the wimpiest dude since Xander Harris laughed in the face of danger (then hid till it went away). And come on, who hasn't dreamed of watching John Oliver just randomly scream to himself while on an American football pitch? Fun stuff, and just enough to put it over Abed doing his best Judd Nelson during the latter stages of the study group implosion. SMOKE UP JOHNNY!
Abed. I mean, I could give it to the professor, but Abed has far more consistent good to great moments than Duncan (who is scattered throughout the episode). Take Duncan away, and it's our favorite movie buff/social introvert/diabolical genius, with Jeff, Britta and Pierce filling up the rest of the top five. Odd to see Annie and Shirley not get as much play in this episode, especially when they would go onto be the funniest aspects of several episodes going forward. Oh well, I blame Pierce for this one.
Future Study Group Member I Missed the Most
The Dean. I know, I know, technically the Dean is in this episode and he also was never truly part of the study group to being with. But dammit, there needed to be more Dean here! All he gets is a short little cameo at the beginning welcoming people to Greendale, and that's it. That's all we get from the Dean?! I haven't felt this ripped off since I paid money to see Oz: The Great and Powerful, even if there's a 99% chance that was my fault. The worst part of the Dean mostly being absent here; HE KILLS IT IN THE OPENING! Seriously, could anyone do a worse job at welcoming people to the school than good old Pelton? Not only does he insult people (accidentally of course), he pretty much indicates that Greendale is like that scene from The Abyss where Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio drowns, leading to Ed Harris screaming a whole lot. It's hilarious, it's hilarious, and did I mention that it's hilarious? It's also a damn shame that it's the last we see of the Dean for a little while.
"Pilot" makes it pretty clear that Community was going to turn into the show we all grew to love so much. It's not a perfect episode and by no means one of the best in the show's run, as several of our favorite characters unfortunately get little time (looking at you, Troy, Annie and Shirley). That said, there's still plenty of laughs, the first of many great supporting appearances from Professor Duncan and it's nice to see Britta as a pretty altogether person before she ended up Britta'ing herself. That's enough right there for me to go all Jane Seymour in How I Met Your Mother and give this episode a B+. Not the best, not certainly not terrible. Much better than the Friends pilot, beyond the words "Billy, don't be a hero".
That'll do it guys. Man, felt good to return to the study room for this one. Class is dismissed. I'll be back with one last column tonight on Rey Mysterio and Myzteziz, and I think I'll be back in the next few days with some more Community from season one. Till then, save some double stuff Oreos for this guy writing right here, start saving that cash for the inevitable Community movie Kickstarter campaign, know that my brain isn't working right now and I can't think of anything funny to say here, and dammit, I miss Annie. So adorable. When will the universe accept my plea for more Allison Brie? In everything?