Under Dan Harmon, Community existed to poke normality in the eye, embrace the weird, and pay tribute to and/or mock… well, nearly every meaningful shred of the pop culture swaddling cloth, but now that he’s out, the show is in-arguably heading into a different era. Good or bad (so far, bad), the show will be different in some way, and so, as October 19th occurs across the globe and as Community returns in an effort to fullfill the promise of #SixSeasonsAndAMovie, we thought it would be best to name our top 7 episodes of Community, a task that was incredibly hard due to all the fantastic candidates.
Contemporary American Poultry
Though I resent the implication that chicken fingers could ever lead to anything bad (except for coronary artery disease… ), magical golden breaded indeterminable chicken bits amazingly find a way to put a wedge in-between Jeff and the Study Group after he concocts a scheme to take over Greendale’s fried treat racket in this Goodfellas inspired episode that turns Abed into a power drunk poultry warlord.
The theft of a combo DVD/Blu Ray player leads to mayhem when Greendale goes to battle with itself for the first time by way of painted warfare. Friendships are tested, tables are defiled, The Terminator, Scarface, and Die Hard are referenced and Annie says “Freeze Mama-Jama!” whilst popping out of a trash can.
The Dean caters the Greendale Halloween Party with top secret government taco meat that drives the student body zombie (I chose zombie instead of crazy. The power of imagination, bitches).
Honestly, the episode reaches nirvana in the first five minutes when Chevy Chase — dressed as Captain Kirk — noshes on Starburns’ arm as Abba plays in the background, but Abed getting his Han moment, the appearance of Doc Potterywood (He’s not special), and Jeff being cool as a zombie allow this episode to pierce the ceiling of perfection itself. Kevin’s of the world rejoice!
Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas
It’s a claymation Christmas adventure with an appearance by John Oliver and the revelation that the meaning of Christmas boils down to a Lost DVD. It doesn’t have Annie in a sexy Christmas dress (insert stock word leer here), but it still puts me in the spirit.
Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking
An Abed-centric take on documentaries that isn’t commonly listed as among the show’s’ bests, but it is one of my favorites thanks to Troy and LeVar Burton. I don’t really care about Pierce’s head games, Britta’s internal struggle over a fat check, or Jeff’s daddy issues. More shrimp for Kunta and “Set phasers to LOVE ME!”
Documentary Filmmaking Redux
Abed makes his Hearts of Darkness documentary as the Dean comes undone, Jeff bizarrely morphs into him, and Annie shows signs of Stockholm Syndrome while shouting “The dean is a genius, and I will die protecting his vision!”
Also, I’m pretty sure Dan Harmon crossed something off his bucket list by locking Chevy Chase in a trailer and hiding him an entire episode.
Digital Estate Planning
The study group gets bested in a side scroll 8-bit video game by Gus Fring while pursuing Pierce’s father’s posthumous respect and fortune. I love Shirley and Annie’s freaking out and then finding a frightening level of comfort with the disposal of a pixelated body, but nothing tops Abed finally finding everlasting love thanks to gentle code manipulation.
Pillows and Blankets, A Fistfull of Paintballs, and Basic Lupie Urology