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TV Series Review

There's Princeton. There's Stanford. And then there's Greendale Community College.

Greendale, located in sunny, scenic, fictional Greendale, Colo., has all the educational opportunities you'd find in an elite Eastern Seaboard or hip West Coast school. Except for the Nobel Laureate professors, of course. Or the top-notch curriculum. Or the stimulating learning environment.

OK. Now that I'm thinking straight, Greendale may have fallen a little behind some of its hoity-toity competitors. But it does boast something they lack: air conditioning!

Oh, wait, Ivy League schools have that too. Bummer. Hold on, let me peruse the pamphlet for a minute …

Well, here's something you certainly won't find at Brown or Cornell: A wacky, wisecracking and highly photogenic study group that, for some reason, is composed of folks who've all attended this community college for five years! Can't beat that for student satisfaction: Lots of Ivy Leaguers leave with diplomas after just four. Take that, Dartmouth!

Here's who's in the in-crowd: Jeff, a former hot-shot lawyer who decided to go back to school after his elite firm discovered he never earned a bachelor's degree. Pretty and blond, Britta served in the Peace Corps for years before opting to grab her GED and now aspires to finally pocket a college degree. Troy was once Greendale's high school football star, and he's looking for new opportunities now that he's done throwing the pigskin. Annie, another local product, hopes to transfer to an Ivy League school (though we don't know why she'd want to). Shirley's enrolled in some business courses so she can start her own company. Abed's the resident pop-culture fiend. And no one can forget the cross-dressing dean Craig Pelton, or the perpetually unhinged teacher Ben Chang, or intimidating criminology professor Buzz Hickey (replacing Chevy Chase's Pierce Hawthorne in Community's fifth and final season on NBC).

Abed's not the only one who cares deeply about the last 50 years' worth of screen-centric circumstances. Giggling and grungy group meetings are chockablock with pop-culture references, from Lethal Weapon to Cheers to Lady Gaga. Sometimes they turn into puppets or Claymation doppelgängers of themselves. And sometimes these wacky kids (and kids-at-heart) spend the equivalent of a 30-minute sitcom episode satirizing a single film or television genre. It's as if they've never done anything in their entire lives but watch TV. And that makes them a perfect fit, really, for the higher education environs of Greendale, where the motto is "You're Already Accepted."

Underneath their in-the-know banter, it's clear the folks in this study group are an accepting lot. They kinda care about one another—in a snarky, passive-aggressive way. But they're also committed to making good on their once-in-a-lifetime college "experience," which means they talk about and participate in sex and drinking far more than class assignments—except when the class assignment is drinking.

See? Just like Harvard and Yale.

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Episode Reviews

Community: 3-20-2014
Community: 2-28-2013
Community: 4-14-2011



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Joel McHale as Jeff Winger; Gillian Jacobs as Britta Perry; Danny Pudi as Abed Nadir; Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley Bennett; Alison Brie as Annie Edison; Donald Glover as Troy Barnes; Chevy Chase as Pierce Hawthorne; Ken Jeong as Señor Chang; Jim Rash as Dean Pelton






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Paul Asay

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