And, we’re back! Thinking Cinematic accidentally took a short hiatus to get through the week of tests before spring break but I’m breaking the dry run with a new entry. Speaking of hiatus, I want to talk about a show that I’ve invested many hours, and multiple viewings in. Coming off its three-month hiatus, Community makes its return on March 15th, 8/7c on NBC.

The love for Community started about a year after accidentally stumbling on a clip of Troy Barnes (Donald Glover) discussing his gift that he received from Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase). From that moment on it was love at first sight and I immediately sought out ways to catch up on the series.

The show focuses on a group of 7 college students and their various outings with college life. The show’s bread and butter is referential and meta-style jokes. Community loves to play on pop culture and other stereotypes, and even go so far as to dedicate whole episodes to certain genres of film. One of my favorites happens to be a mafia style operation when it comes to taking over the school’s chicken finger business at lunch. This style of humor provides a nice feeling of satisfaction when you’re able to point out certain references but it runs the risk of alienating people who are out of the loop. I consider this to be one of the biggest drawbacks when it comes to Community and is probably why it hurts its views.

Community isn’t an easily accessible show. It’s hard to jump in the middle of season two or three without seeing the previous episodes. The jokes are highly self-referential and will send some jokes flying over your head without the context. I experienced this first hand the beginning of the season since my dad joined me with this season’s opener. Unless I’m there to explain it, or show him a previous episode, some of the jokes don’t even faze him.

Another one of Community’s style is to layer every episode with jokes that aren’t as obvious and require multiple viewings just to get everything. Avoiding spoilers, there’s an episode where one joke takes place entirely within the background of the show. If you’re not careful, you’ll miss it. I can’t decide whether or not that this is a pro or con for the show since I love it, but I can definitely see how some people would be turned off by the idea of multiple viewings. Not everyone has the time to dedicate to seasons of a series, let alone multiple viewings.

By far, Community’s strongest point is its characters. Out of any series I’ve watched these seven have the best chemistry I’ve seen. You can find a little of yourself in each of the characters and you easily grow attached to them. The show does a great job of allocating enough time to each where you really get to feel like you know these people. Although I want to keep the experience of meeting them to you, there is one character I want to spotlight. Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) is an extremely unique character that really sold the show for me. He views the world through the eyes of t.v. and movies and uses them to relate to the real world. It’s an interesting concept that sets up for amazing jokes and even more hard hitting lines that are sincere and heartfelt.

As far as season 3 goes, I will admit that the beginning half was a little lack luster. For the first four episodes my friends and I were left confused while we discussed what it was about the show that felt off. There was a certain charm we fell in love with that seemed to be missing. We chalked it up to the staff and actors of the show just being on edge about their borderline walk of cancellation and kept going. Of course the episodes found their stride again but not before receiving the news that they were being benched and put on hiatus to make room for other shows. However, that’s over now and community is back with a lot to prove if it wants to make its way and claim the right for season four.

Community deserves a season four, not only because it’s a great and funny show but also because it potentially could close out its story arc with one more season. The show is based on the group going to college (despite the fact that it’s a community college), they could easily pull off the story arc of a four-year degree. As a fan I would love to see this show continue on ward as long as it can but realistically I’m looking towards one last season for them. This way the writers can end the show on their terms and not by having the plug pulled. Community takes chances, something I’ve loved about the show from day one. Every episode may not hit but they try to do something different and it’s something I admire.

The second half of this season has a lot to live up to if it wants to secure its place for a fourth season. Either way Community is bound to deliver laughs in its own crazy and clever style. Though it’s hard to jump in at any episode it’s worth your time to get into a series as special as Community. If you don’t want to be the pizza burn on the roof of the world’s mouth, watch Community at 8/7c on NBC Thursday night. You’ll be streets ahead for it.


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