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domino harvey
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#1 Post by domino harvey » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:44 pm

So this was broached a bit in the running "Who's That Girl In Domino Harvey's Avatar?" thread, but now that I'm completely caught up on Community through last week's episode, I have to speak up. I wasn't expecting much when I got the set for cheap. I liked McHale from the Soup and had heard good things about the show, but I really wasn't expecting much. But this is the first legitimate heir to Arrested Development's comedic crown, and perhaps even surpasses that benchmark as well.

I make such a bold claim for several reasons. Most importantly for a comedy, the show is funny. But much of its most successful jokes come from a willingness to embrace esoterica. The show follows in the tradition of some of the best esoteric comedians of recent times, such as Scharpling and Wurster or the original UCB, taking huge leaps of faith and assuming the audience will be in on the references. Taking these risks results in a not always even track record, but the highs are higher than the lows are low. Also, if the second season so far is any indication, the show has now abandoned openness for new viewers and shut down into the complete insularity mode under which Arrested Development found its greatest success (post-season one as well). The premiere was so wonderfully convoluted and self-reflexive that it's remarkable the show still bothered with what sets it apart from even the aforementioned reference point of AD, which is the series' emotional (without being maudlin) humanism towards its characters.

Unlike the rotten, irredeemable characters of It's Always Sunny or the faux sincerity of AD, the characters of Community are constantly redeemed in spite of their actions, and this actually allows for the show to get away with some pretty brutal and mean-spirited jabs without the viewer feeling bad by association. It's a brilliant gambit and makes the shock jokes work because of that safety net the viewer knows is waiting-- this doesn't "water it down" the bluer material, it makes it enjoyable. I'd like to spend every week with these misfits, but as funny as Charlie and Frank and the rest of the Gang can be, I grow very tired of their misanthropy. Apologies to the newest comedic trends, but misanthropy without some redemption is dehumanizing at best, and more often than not simply tiresome. AD suffers from the emotional aloofness too, but sidestepped the bigger issue by including intentionally half-assed emotive elements in the mix. It was less than sincere or convincing, but it was good enough. But Community goes for the gold.

And the show's willingness to go balls-out for a gag has resulted in some of the weirdest (Britta getting whipped with a switch by an elderly black woman in a wheelchair) and funniest (the astonishing conclusion to the pool rivalry, which should remain unspoiled for the sake of humanity) moments I've ever encountered in a TV show. And the new season shows no sign of stopping, as the details have started to really make the show. It's one thing to take a cheap shot at the ShitMyDadSays Twitter account, but to actually keep it updated with entries funnier than the target is genius.

The writing is admittedly the key, but the show also has a great cast that quickly overcomes any initial character hesitations present in the premise of the series-- every actor is key to the show and they all go forward with fearlessness. I guess it took people longer to be swept away than me, but I was completely won over to the series as early as the second episode, which smartly addresses so much of what I detest about the artifice of protest and convenient college liberality that I wished I had written it first. And it only gets better from there.

Also, it's totally going to get canceled this year.

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Highway 61
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Re: Community

#2 Post by Highway 61 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:37 pm

Alright, you've sold me. There's just one question I have to ask: how's Chase? I know you said every actor was essential, but were you being generous, or is this a return to Fletch-era greatness?

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mfunk9786
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Re: Community

#3 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:59 am

I must say, "I am shocked at the reverse Porky's that has gone on here tonight!" is a very funny line.

However... I'm still just not getting it. It is pleasant and nice and amusing to a degree, but as funny as Arrested Development? Not even in the same conversation, as far as I'm concerned. I crack a smile two or three times per episode, and laugh once or twice. I just expect more from my half hour comedies.

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domino harvey
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Re: Community

#4 Post by domino harvey » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:40 am

Highway 61 wrote:Alright, you've sold me. There's just one question I have to ask: how's Chase? I know you said every actor was essential, but were you being generous, or is this a return to Fletch-era greatness?
He's very aloof, and his character plays to the Chase stronghold of being the most arrogant person in the room. But he's also the continued butt of many of the jokes and Chase's real-life proclivity for inappropriate sexist, homophobic, and racist remarks gets quite a workout at his expense.

And mfunk, there's no debating comedy, but I laugh so hard and consistently at every episode that I miss entire stretches of dialog. How anyone can sit through an episode and only get a couple smiles is beyond me.

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Re: Community

#5 Post by swo17 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:06 am

mfunk, this might just not be the show for you, though I have a hard time giving up on you if you haven't yet seen the pool episode, or the paintball one, or the one with Jack Black, etc. I don't want to tell you how to live your life, but much as I have a "finish every movie I start" rule, I'll also generally give a TV show a full season of a chance before passing final judgment on it (especially when it's one that gets such high marks from people as important as me and domino :wink: ).

And heir apparent to AD sounds about right to me. :-"

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mfunk9786
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Re: Community

#6 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:19 am

I just have never felt so guilty about something like this. The show is extremely charming, and the cast clicks very well. I have watched through the Christmas episode, which again, was very charming. I will have no problem whatsoever finishing out the season, and I'm hoping those episodes you mentioned manage to change my mind. It's a very pleasant show to watch, and sort of has a Scrubs quality of, while not being Earth-shatteringly good, being something you can hit "Play All" on and just keep on on a lazy Saturday. I will give it one huge compliment: I cannot remember a show I've wanted to like more because of its breezy, friendly nature. It's a harmless puppy in a world full of half hour comedies that are trying way too hard to be cultural milestones.

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Murdoch
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Re: Community

#7 Post by Murdoch » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:29 pm

I struggle with this show, there are great parts to it - the Dean, the "human" mascot which was the funniest reveal of the decade - yet every time it sandwiches in a movie spoof I give up on it. I know a lot of fans of the paintball and Goodfellas eps, but they just seemed to me a bunch of tired gags strung together into a fairly clever scenario. But the good episodes generally balance out the bad ones, and while I prefer AD's faux-sincerity to Community's attempts at earnestness the characters in this are more developed and do achieve greater empathy. However, I don't understand the comparisons to AD since the style and focus of the two shows is vastly different, I'd say it's more heir to Scrubs' wacky throne - and hopefully won't go off the deep end like that one did.

I will say that I like the show's ability to stick with a gag to the end: Britta and Jeff's fake romance in this season's opener is the best example of it and acts as a great parody of sitcom romances, and when the show winks at its sitcom roots it is at its best.

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domino harvey
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Re: Community

#8 Post by domino harvey » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:54 pm

Murdoch wrote:Britta and Jeff's fake romance in this season's opener is the best example of it and acts as a great parody of sitcom romances, and when the show winks at its sitcom roots it is at its best.
That season premiere really was something else. Think about it: The show actually managed to find a new take on the "Will They/Won't They" sitcom fodder staple!

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Andre Jurieu
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In Your Face Billy Joel! ... Who is that?

#9 Post by Andre Jurieu » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:35 pm

domino harvey wrote:It's one thing to take a cheap shot at the ShitMyDadSays Twitter account, but to actually keep it updated with entries funnier than the target is genius.
... which also serves as a swipe at the weak sitcom based on that Twitter account that CBS has positioned as competition against NBC's comedy line-up.

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domino harvey
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Re: Community

#10 Post by domino harvey » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:19 pm

Nice new avatar! C'mon gang, everyone claim their favorites

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Andre Jurieu
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Vaughn is complicated

#11 Post by Andre Jurieu » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:12 pm

domino harvey wrote:Nice new avatar! C'mon gang, everyone claim their favorites
After last night's episode I can't help but picture a scenario where my avatar is attempting to shoot your avatar. That's probably due in part to the guns and squirrel costume.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Community

#12 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:43 pm

The chicken fingers episode is the most creative sitcom episode I've seen since the 'goofy ball' episode of Newsradio. Great stuff.

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domino harvey
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Re: Community

#13 Post by domino harvey » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:56 pm

This show really is, if nothing else, a modern-day NewsRadio, with its flights of fantasy and highly-insular characters-- in fact, the episode with Jack Black made me think a lot of the episode where Dave invites Karl from Accounting to sit with "the gang" and he's so flabbergasted that they'd include him, having no idea of the nefarious intent behind the invite. It helps that Community shares the great comedies' sense of the absurd, as in the above mentioned chicken fingers episode and others.

But again, most crucially, and what sets it apart from its brethren, the show remains keenly insightful to issues that matter in a non-sitcom, unpreachy way. Thursday's episode made a more lucid argument for the value of life and self-imposed belief systems than any other "serious" show I can think of. Jeff's compelling reaction to his medical malady-- that the fragility of life is above all just unfair-- is the kind of cogent epiphany you don't see other popular comedies even trying to go near

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domino harvey
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Re: Community

#14 Post by domino harvey » Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:32 pm


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domino harvey
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Re: Community

#15 Post by domino harvey » Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:03 pm

That last night's episode, with its riotous meta on meta lampooning of post modernism coupled with an honest appraisal of Christianity's virtues mired with enough jokes at its expense to forgo its use as "witnessing tool," aired on network television in primetime is insane-- there's simply no way a show this esoteric and specific survives, but man, enjoy it while it's here.

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knives
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Re: Community

#16 Post by knives » Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:24 pm

I think it will thrive actually. I haven't seen much of it (will try to b regular now that I know the time), but my measuring stick for the populace is really excited about the series, only started watching this season, and she's grossly enthusiastic about the show. After last night's episode, which is the first I've seen a whole episode, she called me up saying, "That old guy was very funny and the black woman, you know who she is, I'm glad she's getting a good role. It was so funny."

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domino harvey
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Re: Community

#17 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:19 pm

So, they actually managed to top the paintball episode tonight

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knives
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Re: Community

#18 Post by knives » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:38 pm

If this ends with a nuke dropping it will be the best episode of television ever.

Edit: drat, but at least we got Sulu phone message

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Zumpano
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Re: Community

#19 Post by Zumpano » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:54 am

I wish my name was Kevin.

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Andre Jurieu
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Whoa, whoa, whoa ... let's tap the breaks

#20 Post by Andre Jurieu » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:44 am

domino harvey wrote:So, they actually managed to top the paintball episode tonight
I was kind of indifferent to last week's episode, but maybe that's because I really enjoyed last year's Halloween episode (Can I ask you something I always wanted to ask the real Batman? Am I good looking?). I do have high hopes for the claymation Christmas-themed episode.

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Murdoch
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Re: Community

#21 Post by Murdoch » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:08 pm

[hyperbole]The Abed-Jesus episode is the greatest episode of any sitcom ever[/hyperbole]

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Andre Jurieu
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Re: Community

#22 Post by Andre Jurieu » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:27 am

domino harvey wrote:Also, it's totally going to get canceled this year.
NBC just ordered a couple more episodes for this season, which means that they are either showing their unwavering support for the show, despite its weak ratings this season ... or they're willing to give Harmon two more episodes to conclude the entire series and wrap things up before it gets cancelled.

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domino harvey
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Re: Community

#23 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:57 pm

At least we're getting a (very) full second season! And I think tonight's episode is going to break the internet with all its quotable lines

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domino harvey
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Re: Community

#24 Post by domino harvey » Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:38 pm


Mozart
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Re: Community

#25 Post by Mozart » Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:36 pm

domino harvey wrote:So, they actually managed to top the paintball episode tonight
Is that really your opinion?

I saw your comment here before the episode and was hugely disappointed of the episode.
Otherwise great series, which will hopefully survive some more years.

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