What began ostensibly as a(nother) Joel McHale vehicle - but soon proved to be so much more - this show charmed me from nearly the get go. Here are a few reasons you should check it out come Fall, or re/discover it on Hulu or Netflix:
#1 - It's a True Ensemble Series
In a TV landscape where every newcomer is working overtime to become the "breakout star", Community knows that it has a very delicate, well-crafted chemistry between characters and cast members. And while it may offer a stereotypical cross section of community college "types", it does so without making it offensive. Or worse, sad. Divorcees, disgraced athletes, the elderly...everyone is treated with respect at Greendale Community College! So much that it really feels like a place you'd like to be.
#2 - They've Done Their Homework
Forgive the school-related pun, but this is the aspect that really sold me. Creator Dan Harmon and his writers have clearly either worked in the television industry for a long time, or they've just watched a shit ton of TV - like me. Community lives for in-jokes, and most of them revolve around coming dangerously close to breaking the 4th wall. The pop culture references in each episode are countless, but none of them feel cheap.
Sidebar: Not many series can successfully handle a holiday episode - let alone in their first year - but the Halloween-themed "Introduction to Statistics" is probably one of my favorites. Annie (Alison Brie) in a black skeleton leotard for her Day of the Dead party? Sold. Pierce (Chevy Chase) dressed as Beastmaster, tripping balls? MEGA sold. The season finale (no spoilers, I promise) also executes every play in the book, without coming across as lame.
#3 - It's Like Real Life, Only Better
While many shows try to be as "real" as possible, there are a few out there that delight in showcasing heightened-reality. Community is definitely one of these treasures. If you're the kind of person that wishes your life was like a TV show, then the world of Greendale is everything you could hope for. Wacky doesn't begin to describe these characters - but they're caricatures, not cartoons. They've still got enough heart to make you care when conflict arises, but you'll still be laughing the whole time. The fact of the matter is that much of the cast comes from a stand-up-esque background, so it's a veritable dream team of ad-libbing perfection.
#4 - The Paintball Episode is Even Better Than You've Heard
Yes, it's true. "Modern Warfare" is a complete television masterpiece, told in 22 minutes. Going a step further than reason #3 above, this one is pure, awesome fantasy. I don't want to spoil a thing - just watch it.
#5 - Joel McHale Hates Wearing Clothes
What's that? You think you already have a thing for Joel McHale? I'm here to tell you that you're wrong. You won't have a proper "thing" for him until you've seen him in Community. And oh, how much you'll see! Whether it's playing billiards in his underwear, stripping down to a wifebeater for paintball or good ol' fashioned sex on a study room table - Joel McHale is properly exercising every hot muscle in the human body. See a bunch more of the goods via My New Plaid Pants.
So what are you waiting for? Find it on OnDemand, watch it online, or bug the shit out of Amazon until they set a date for the first season DVDs. Who knows? You might even learn something.