NBC's Community Returns and It's Freaking Awesome

Categories: Film and TV

Even Chang (Ken Jeong) who dominated last season's long plot with a case of "Changnesia" that was actually nothing, more or less wrote off last season's insanity with a quick dismissal and a return to form.

With the study group back and Jeff as a professor, there is a lot of room for the season to unfold. As of last night, the audience wasn't given the season arc, unless this architect really makes waves, but what we were given was the bizarre, sardonic and laugh-out-loud antics of seasons' prior. If I had to grade the return of Community, I would give it an A minus*.

*According to the second episode, "Introduction to Teaching," criminology professor Buzz Hickey (Breaking Bad's Jonathan Banks) tells Jeff that students only receive minuses because the instructor doesn't like them and hopes they will drop the course. As a professor, I must say that this is absolutely true... false.

Both the "Repilot" and "Introduction to Teaching" brought the laughs. Some are rather weird laughs, as the ending of episode two finds Troy and Abed hiding in Hickey's office as a plant and chair in a hilarious attempt to throw the guy for a loop, only to find him talking on the phone about his Lipitor prescription, which is not a funny thing for a "gotcha;" how uncomfortably funny that moment is. And there is that inner monologue song entirely in French that the Dean sings about Excel. Yeah, strange stuff.

There are jabs at the show's own demise and return. Troy gets horribly angry at Zach Braff for leaving Scrubs after all the show had done for him, an obvious dig at himself for leaving Community. The group openly acknowledges that Brita has become a moron, which has been noted by many as an odd direction her character has taken over the past few seasons, among other meta jokes and hidden messages on chalk boards.

And then the show was just plain old funny like it used to be. The gang takes a Nicholas Cage course, which makes Abed go all Abed with one of the best Cage impersonations I've seen.

I felt like last season I had to keep defending the show, reminding people that even as bad as it got, it was still funnier than most anything on television. But after last night's openers, I won't have to do that again. This season is just going to be good.

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