Community Held Hostage, Day 10. Things are starting to feel dire. The longer we go without any word, the more I fear we’ll be airing in January. There was a giant tease yesterday when TV.com listed a return date of 11/1/12…which would have meant that Up All Night was toast and Community was moving into its place. Alas, that rumor proved to be false when TV.com confirmed that all listings are user-generated. It’s a double edge sword…I desperately want my show back, but I ALSO don’t want it airing in the bloodbath that is the NBC Thursday Night line-up. So the Community fandom continues to wait and watch the ratings for Animal Practice and Guys with Kids like a hawk. With any luck, by this time tomorrow, one or both of those shows will be off the line-up.
But I’m not writing this blog to be a downer. Not today anyway. Today I choose to celebrate what I love about Community by naming my top 5 episodes. I talked this over with Jenn yesterday for a good while…how to even pick a top 5? Surely a top 10 would be easier and more forgiving of personal sentiment over episode quality. All of that is true. But I wanted to choose a top 5. Someone of these choices reflect personal preference, some of the episodes are ones that are no brainers. All of them are episodes I would choose to show a Community newbie to hook them into the series. So here we go…POP POP.
5) Debate 109
This is my most sentimental Top 5 choice. I chose this episode because the moment in that gif? That’s the exact moment that I fell in love with Community…when Annie Edison took down her hair and Jeff Winger was completely gobsmacked by it. I remember watching this episode in my season one marathon and this moment happened and I sat up and said, “Ooooohhh…now THIS is interesting.” And the rest of the episode sealed the deal. I was all in with Community. I don’t think the writers had ANY idea what would happen when they put Jeff and Annie (or more specifically, Joel McHale and Alison Brie) together. Their chemistry is nothing short of electric.
PS Dan Harmon, I’m 33 years old and I ship Jeff and Annie like no one’s business. And it’s NOT because I think they look cute together.
4) Regional Holiday Music
The episode that did Glee better than Glee does Glee. This episode is also a bit of a sentimental choice, as I will NEVER forget watching this episode live and blowing up twitter with the rest of the Community fandom. This episode, written by Steve Basilone and Annie Mebane (who GOD BLESS HER follows me on Twitter), is perfection from top to bottom. I was laughing so hard I was crying at “Jehovah’s Most Secret Witness”, “Baby Boomer Santa” and Gillian Jacobs’ BRILLIANT commitment to her “Me so Christmas” dance (“Oh, Britta’s in this?”). And then the next thing I knew, I was legitimately crying when the Study Group showed up at Chez Trobednie singing Christmas Carols to Abed. I cried because it was a beautiful moment (a moment I will show to ANYONE who says Community has no heart) and I cried because I realized that my beautiful little show was now on an indefinite hiatus. And I cried because everyone else on Twitter was crying. THAT is what makes the Community Fandom so special.
3) Modern Warfare
You can’t do a list about the top episodes of Community without including this one. Until Remedial Chaos Theory aired in season three, this was the episode Community was known for. It’s a perfect parody of action films, yet still stays rooted in the ultimate wants and desires of the characters. Back in my season one marathon this was the episode that made me go…”Wow. This show is really not afraid of doing ANYTHING.” Clearly, they have gone on to prove that. It’s one of the things I love most about the show. Also on a shallow note, can we take a moment to appreciate McHale’s arms? I have a signed script of this episode (thank you Neil Goldman) and in the scene where Jeff strips down to his wife beater, the stage direction is literally “revealing arms that make women watch the show”. Did I mention that this episode was WRITTEN by a woman? A very very very smart woman who clearly knows her audience.
2) Cooperative Calligraphy
As a massive fan of Friends, I always loved the “bottle episodes” the most. It really shows the strength of a show and its cast when you put all the principle characters in one room for an episode and just let them go at each other. Community’s bottle episode, where the group searches for Annie’s lost purple pen, belongs in the pantheon of great bottle episodes. Someone who has never seen this show could watch this episode and understand all the relationships and the characters with no problem. The cast is in top form, showcasing how truly excellent the casting for Community is (yes, even you, Chevy). For the longest time, this was my personal favorite episode. Well that was until…
1) Remedial Chaos Theory
Fact: Remedial Chaos Theory is one of the greatest half hours of television ever. That’s right. I said EVER. I remember reading advance reviews for the episode, and then begging my coworker Renee, who had been curious about Community (mainly because I wouldn’t shut up about it) that if she was EVER going to watch an episode, this would be the one to watch. I was fully confident that she would not only get the show, she would fall in love with it. She texted me at 8:32 that night saying “That was the greatest thing I have ever seen.” And another Communie is born. My work is never done.
RCT has everything from nice shipper moments (Yeah, I screamed at all the Jeff and Annieness. It’s also the episode that got me fully on board the Troy/Britta train) to showcasing some of the basic conflicts of the group (Shirley not knowing where she fits in with the group, Pierce’s jealousy over the Troy/Abed relationship). And of course, it launched the movement that became the battle cry of embittered Community fans everywhere…the felt goatees and the Darkest timeline. I was howling with laughter so loudly during Troy’s timeline, I was concerned that one of my neighbors would complain.
So there you have it. My top 5. Discuss my rankings and what YOUR personal rankings would be in the comments.