Entertainment :: Television

Community - Season 4

by Michael  Cox
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Friday Aug 9, 2013
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Sitcoms are written to let viewer pick up in the middle of any season without a lot of background knowledge. Characters are necessarily types, plots are necessarily formulas, and jokes are familiar. What makes sitcoms work is the personalities with them and the overall personality of the show.

I never really liked the personality of "Community." He was never the guy I saw hanging around the proverbial Hulu water cooler that very much interested me. He seemed a little fake and flashy -- that broadly exaggerated personality type that tends to annoy me, the antithesis of the "Downton Abbey" personality.

So I never really met "Community" until the forth season. All my friends said, "It’s good. I like it. It’s a perfectly fine show." This is the assessment of people who watch television constantly while they’re doing something else; it’s always going on in the background.

I found "Community" to be a show that’s clearly evolved. Like all sitcoms nowadays it is a meta-sitcom -- a sitcom about sitcoms. And it seems less to be about the original protagonist, a lawyer "suspended" from practicing law until he actually attains his bachelors’ degree, as it is about a film student, Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), who constantly relates the situations around him to films and television. It’s filled with rapid-fire dialogue, running jokes and little sincerity.

All my friends said, "It’s good. I like it. It’s a perfectly fine show." This is the assessment of people who watch television constantly while they’re doing something else; it’s always going on in the background.

Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), the former lawyer, explores his daddy issues this season, while the character formerly known as Chang (Ken Jeong), now Kevin, plots a conspiracy.

Abed explores love with a girlfriend that may even be more meta than he is. (She’s a girlfriend about girlfriends.) And Ken Jeong is hysterical (as he is in almost everything he does) playing a psychotic criminal that wanders around like an innocent simpleton pretending that he has a new disease called "Changnesia."

Jim Rash plays probably the most overblown and outlandish character, the school administrator Dean Pelton. Like most of the characters in the show, he’s hard to relate to and difficult to know how to take... but there are moments that this really doesn’t matter, because the strange things he does are so outrageously funny.

For the most part everything in this show is extreme. It’s like having a cast full of Kramers from "Seinfeld."

It’s a nice two DVD set that you can watch over and over again in the background.

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