This concludes our week-long countdown of the Top 10 Comedies of 2011. Selections 10-2 can be viewed here. The best TV Comedy Series of 2011 is…
1 – Community
I’m sure there’s a man in a suit somewhere comparing “Community” to “Arrested Development” right this second, but he’s only doing it to explain why this show won’t last. He’s saying TV viewers don’t have the patience for it, that it shouldn’t take three seasons to make one Beetlejuice reference, that the whole show is one inside joke stacked on top of another until viewership collapses, like someone trying to play Jenga in a moving car.
Well, I’m here to tell you that this man sucks. I’m here to tell you that this man is probably wearing an awful tie. And I’m here to tell you that this man is wrong.
“Community” is the best thing we’ve got. Not as TV watchers. As people.
Yep, show creator Dan Harmon’s little TV masterpiece that could has a lot of jokes that take a re-watch to fully understand. It is brilliant. But this, if anything, has done nothing but stigmatize the show. All of these smarts have made this show smell funny to most people.
Okay. I should admit something. I was most people.
I’m a late-comer to “Community.” I jumped in at the start of Season 3. I stumbled in and everyone was already a little drunk on the show. I thought I’d hate my time here.
But Jeff and Britta and Troy and Abed? They’re transcendently charming. Everybody’s dynamic. You want to be in there with them, rapping worse than them, helping them ruin their stuff to varying degrees of severity, and you want to generally be around Annie.
It’s like “Friends,” but you’re not going to hate yourself in ten years for feeling this way.
They’re intensely diverse, by the way, but you’d never think this or say it out loud. Britta is white. Shirley is black. Pierce is a scumbag. The Dean is a revelation.
They are, in fact, just a bunch of attractive, caffeinated people with no self-censoring abilities, and they’re tied together at a well-dressed, classically insecure pole in the middle named Jeff Winger.
Jeff’s sheen seems crazy and corporate and unreal. Only when it all falls apart—and he becomes obsessive about foosball—does he ever really seem like us.
Nothing says 2011 like watching that facade of leather jacket-wearing cool fall down around you, only to reemerge a little bit cooler by being completely weird and broken and interesting. “Drive” did that at the movies. The economy’s kind of going through that process as we speak.
No one has been doing it better on TV than “Community.” And it’s the best comedy we’ve watched in 2011 because of it.
It’s the only show that speaks to now.
Oh, and the show goes to weird places and doesn’t leave you behind. Harmon’s Remedial Chaos Theory episode would only be done on a traditional sitcom—let’s say “Mike & Molly”—if Molly’s morning batch of brownies was accidentally laced with some of Mike’s previous detective work.
Instead of using excuses for trippy episodes, Harmon just goes there. He does it artfully and everybody’s in on it. Fans don’t run away. It just makes them want to live inside his beard.
Oh, and these fans. We should task “Community” fans with finding a second planet for people to live on, or maybe finding a way to turn Skittles wrappers into fuel for sedans. No one mobilizes faster than these people.
When you get a chance, listen to news stories about the Iowa Caucus. Volunteers are talking about finding ways to bus Des Moines’ finest grandfathers in vans to get them to vote for a candidate. They, too, are calling this “mobilizing.”
This is like dropping a bowl of Fancy Feast in front of your two cats on Monday, then unleashing a military helicopter full of kitties onto a shore lined with beached tuna on Tuesday. You can call both activities “feeding the cats,” but that would be a real disservice to what you did on Tuesday.
Mobilizing, to “Community” fans, is like ten of those kitty helicopters.
When there were faint rumors of “Community” getting canceled, fans made sure NBC knew the following: You can take “Community” away, but there won’t be Twitter anymore. That will no longer be a thing. Even rumors of the show’s cancellation stressed out Twitter’s servers.
NBC acted quickly. They said they simply left the show off their midseason schedule and it awaits a spring return.
It better. We can’t let the guy with the awful tie win again.
It’s 2011, anyway. This year practically lived by the motto, “The man in the suit is gonna hear about it.” And if there’s some sort of rally to keep Alison Brie on my TV, then I’m going to need some directions.
The Top 10 Comedies of 2011