Community is special. In a landscape overrun with procedurals, reality shows, and gimmicky premises, Community is a shining beacon of character-driven programming. Yet, it has perpetually dangled on the precipice of cancellation, and even experienced a near fatal hiatus. NBC recently decided to give them another 13 episode trial, and I'm here to convince you that Community is more than deserving of your viewership, before it's too late.
Leading with strength, let me say first that Abed Nadir, played by Danny Pudi, is without question in the pantheon of all-time great television roles. Our self-obsessed culture demands self-aware comedy. This means references, both internal and pop cultural, are a necessity for any successful show. Abed is a blank check in the hands of Community's writers, as he possesses infinite knowledge of pop culture. He is also especially freeing comedically because he believes that he is living in a television show; his eccentricity allows for seamless in-character gags that would normally require breaking the fourth wall.
But Abed Nadir is not the only device that Community uses to separate itself from the herd. The entire structure of the show is subject to change for any given episode. While every sitcom does a Christmas episode, Community does a Rudolph-style claymation episode one holiday season, and a musical but vicious Glee satire the next. They've done a documentary episode á la Ken Burns' Civil War, played a paintball version of Die Hard, and have even gone into the world of Dungeons and Dragons. Of course, Abed gets his hands on the structure of the show as well, getting behind the camera for his own documentary filmmaking episodes.
Their indifference to the rules of traditional television is prominently on display in their clip-show. Like countless before them, the cast of Community have devoted an episode to reminiscing about their adventures. However, all of the memories shared are of previously unseen events. This playful attitude reaches it's peak in the third season, when the gang lives out six alternate and hilarious timelines created by a surprisingly profound roll of a Yahtzee die. I don't want to ruin this truly wonderful episode by saying any more, because it's just so good that it simply must be seen.
There's so much to love about the show that I couldn't possibly address it all here, so I implore you, start watching Community. You've got a whole summer to catch up on three spectacular seasons before tuning in for next year's make or break run.