High Expectations and Higher Education

By on Sep 2, 2009 in Previews | 1 comment

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The cast of "Community"

2009-2010 New Series Preview, Part 4

I was prepared to love Community, NBC’s latest venture into single-camera comedy. The premise is funny: a fake lawyer goes to community college to become legitimate and ends up becoming a fake Spanish tutor in a study group full of misfits. The actors (like Joel McHale and Chevy Chase) are all well-cast for their roles. The humor is, for the most part, fresh and unexpected. (For example, a slighted study-groupie tells the lawyer, “I thought you were like Bill Murray in any of his films, but you’re more like Michael Douglas in any of his films.”) And to top it all off, there’s no laugh track.  But for some reason, I only liked it.

Incidentally, I can actually speak with authority about this show, because I have seen the first episode. (Being the minor-league TV critic that I am, I jump at any chance to preview new shows.  Hell yes, I’ll become a fan of Community if it means I can watch the pilot!) I was expecting to be bowled over, since the show has gotten a lot of positive hype from other critics. But instead, I was only mildly entertained.

Then again, I believe I had the same lukewarm reaction to the first episode of 30 Rock, and now it’s the funniest show on TV in my book. Shows like these—e.g. 30 RockThe Office, and now Community—are shows that get funnier each episode as we become more acquainted with the characters, their foibles, their quirks. So I’ll give the show a chance, and you may want to do the same when it premieres on Thursday, September 17 at 9:30/8:30c. It wasn’t love at first watch, but Community could eventually be something great.