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The Best Comedy of 2011: Community

December 23rd, 2011 by Ben Collins Editor

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

10 – South Park
9 – Beavis and Butt-head
8 – New Girl
7 – Happy Endings
6 – The League
5 – Up All Night
4 – Modern Family
3 – Louie
2 – Parks and Recreation
1 – Community

Last comment: about 24 hours ago 72 Comments
  • Ryan says:

    I hate every others how on that list. I liked Modern Family before it became the most predictable show I have ever seen. Louie is a depressing wreck when he’s not doing the stand up bits. critics only liked it because they are generally equally fat loosers without hair who can’t stop complaining and living the victim mentality. I would kill myself before I had to drink a beer with that guy. If you want to argue against that point, please don’t be an older fat balding guy, or I’ll point that out pretty fast.

    Community is the comedy equivalent to what Deadwood was for tv in general; the saving grace, the highest quality comedy show ever, and the only TV show save Deadwood that shouldn’t be considered in the tradition of defining a TV show as an idea that wasn’t good enough to be a movie; it’s basically a 30hr movie, and in fact the best 30hr movie ever, save Deadwood. And if Hulu tries to make me watch another 5 minutes of crap like big bang theory or the other girl (by changing to it after Community is over) which make Louie look Emmy-worthy (and you know how I feel about Louie!) I may start getting used to having my intelligence completely insulted by idiot sitcoms.

  • John says:

    Community deserves the #1, but some of the others, notably Beavis and Butthead and South Park, don’t deserve to be on the list. Psych is a glaring absence, since I would argue that it should get the #2 spot.

  • Evil Troy and Evil Aaaaabed! Duh Doi

  • Zach Stein says:

    Best show on television hands down. I don’t know how I would survive if the show got cancelled. I constantly push my friends to watch the show and enjoy it as much as I do.
    Usually when a new episode comes out, ill watch it three times just cause I need to make sure others watch it too!
    And wow this is a lot of comments, I think i know what you mean about mobilizing.
    #sixseasonsandamovie

  • Evan says:

    The thing about getting into Community is the same as getting into the Office: You need to see a few certain episodes as a newcomer before you relax and get used to the humor. For example, in the Office, you need to see Diversity Day, Sexual Harrassment, and The Alliance (if you’re really having trouble, Stress Relief is perfect). Same with Community. People aren’t going to fully enjoy “Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples” (Abed as Jesus) or “Cooperative Calligraphy” (the stolen pen one) without a firm foundation. All doubters: I suggest “Debate 109,” “Contemporary American Poultry,” and “Politics of Human Sexuality.” And for the love of God, if you say a word against this show, and have not seen the entirety of the episode “Modern Warfare”, then you are sorely, sorely missing the point.

    Cool. Cool cool cool.

  • Charles Xavier says:

    Truly a show that may easily be overlooked by the brass. Like Firefly and Better off Ted, the attraction came from the witty dialogue and the character development. I find myself, as implausible as these characters remain, caring about their antics and about them.

  • Sean Govlick says:

    Use to be really pissed when i saw Community as the top show on tv beatiow ng my favs. like the office on Hulu Best In Show. I watched the show over the break and it was literally the greatest bit of TV i have ever seen. Gonna be really angry if NBC doesn’t bring this back they should cancel the office instead

  • Maneesh Patel says:

    Community is in the top three of best shows I have ever watched! NBC, DO NOT GET RID OF THIS SHOW!

  • Studiomiguel says:

    The only surprise watching this program is how how how they managed to stay awesome after a fantastic first season. I was certain it would tank and do so hard. But the community team never disappoints and this has, hands down become the top show on internetvision. I used to reserve that for 30 Rock, but I can’t watch it any more now that it’s reserved for the TV.

  • Me Again says:

    People who are claiming that this show is not worthy of comparing too Arrested Development have obviously not been watching this show for very long, as they are practically born from the same sitcom styled mold. Both shows love running jokes and high brow intelligence, and while Arrested Development preferred to base its jokes on “high society” humor, Community relies on movies and pop-culture references. Too anyone who has been posting here and doubts this get your Huluplus account going and start this show from the beginning, you will see this is the closest as any show will get to a successor to Arrested Development.

  • Olivia Wilde says:

    YES Community is #1!! Seriously..find me one person who doesn’t like this show.

  • SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!!! says:

    Things Arrested Development and Community have in common: WAY too intelligent for the general viewing public. Someone here posted Big Bang Theory as being a better show…point proven. Just because there aren’t laugh tracks telling you what’s funny, just because you don’t pay enough attention to the world around you to understand nuanced references, just because you’re not smart enough to get the joke…doesn’t mean it isn’t hysterically funny. You don’t have to be that intelligent (I’m not), just don’t hate on and assume others are stupid because you don’t get it.
    Has anyone OTHER people thought were intelligent, ever tell you you’re smart?
    Do you think these (Arrested/Community) shows are funny?

  • Shaeli says:

    Community made me want to go to school. I do realize that going to school wont be exactly like the show. It just made me think if they can do it, so can i.

  • ant says:

    this show is okay. it’s easy for folks to call it the best show on tv since tv shows are mostly garbage. i find it sad that people think this pretty mediocre show so great.

  • katee says:

    I love community! They make me laugh hehehe!! Especially Troy <3

  • Viyan Udawatta says:

    I am a big community fan, but I completely disagree with Hulu’s ranking of #1, especially when they cite seasons 2 and 3. Season 1 was the best, both in comedy and creativity. Season 2 wasn’t bad, but Season 3 has been horrid! The plot, if you can call it one, was flat and without direction. The acting and production quality steadily fell each episode. And there was minimal character development. I’ve been seriously disappointed by this season, and I’m glad they pulled the show off the air temporarily. I hope that the writers revamp the show big time, and hopefully, Community can earn the #1 title by the end of 2012.

  • Cameron says:

    I agree that Community is a great show, but it comes nowhere close to Arrested Development. There were jokes in that show that were 2 seasons old for crying out loud! That show was just one of a kind.
    I would also like to point out that South Park and Beavis and Butthead don’t deserve to be on this list. What about Psych, The Office and The Big Bang Theory? I think those shows are much more witty and deserving of being on this list.

  • Matt says:

    The comparison to arrested development is all too appropriate for this show. However, unlike arrested development, fans of this show still have a chance, as its not the retards at fox broadcasting that will determine the fate of this truly amazing show.

    #sixseasonsandamovie

  • Michael7843853 says:

    I think Community is the most creative show in TV history.

  • Christine Huff says:

    Truly the best show ever. And also possibly the best, funniest and truest review I’ve ever read! <3 Thank you!

  • Jenn says:

    As I sip hot chocolate this evening (out of my Troy and Abed In The Morning mug, of course) I cannot help but smile while reading this article. Community is included on many critics “Top 10 of 2011″ lists but YAY HULU for having the balls to rank Community #1 in comedy. We’re gonna get this show back on the air, buddy!

  • mitch orebaugh says:

    blogs are stupid.I was lookin fpr the ep

  • Zack Kundel says:

    This not only the best comedy on TV, but also the most underrated as well.

  • Bryant Powell says:

    Simply put, Community is the best show on television period. We as Community fans must unite to keep this treasure on the air!

  • Rose says:

    Yay! Finally Community gets something it deserves! This list is OBVIOUSLY streets ahead! I picked up the show late too (more like decided I loveed it by watching clips and now think it’s brilliant) and now I think it’s amazing. I think that while Community does have a lot of smart jokes and references it has the warmest goofiest heart of all comedies and I’m young and non-American- I get practically none of the references and I still love it. :D

  • BigHiggaHigga says:

    I need Community each week to live a normal and happy life. Since most of the rest of television is junk, I can’t tell you what would happen to me if it were no longer on the air. We must Save Community! NBC finally has a great comedy again (my apologies to Parks & Rec – it’s pretty good too) and they want to dump it??? C’mon!!! Save Community!!!

    #sixseasonsandamovie

  • Greg says:

    this show is by far the best thing on. if you don’t like it you just haven’t given it enough of a chance yet…. Hopefully NBC will give it that chance to let it gain the momentum it deserves and not prematurely pull the plug (nobody likes that!)

  • Priya says:

    Community is incredible.
    #sixseasonsandamovie

  • udfncd says:

    doesn’t even come close to touching arrested development

  • TheTileNinja says:

    All detractors are Streets Behind. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it. Streets behinder than streets behind. Coined, minted! This show is the best of the decade so far, and is not afraid to take chances. A lot smarter than some stupid shock-value humor, it actually tackles some substantial issues without being truly offensive or gratuitous. Weird without being outre, goofy enough to be innocent, but with a world-wiseness to it, too. It’s got it all, and deserves the praise it’s getting. And hey, I’d be happy with three seasons, if that’s all we get. How many movies have cult followings for giving us an hour and a half at most? Three seasons, twenty-plus shows at 22 minutes each is a lot! ~~ I mean, I hope it doesn’t get cancelled, It’s the only first run sitcom (one of very few without canned laughter) that I tune in to watch. I think it will go down in TV history as a cult classic

  • darcifella says:

    Community….best comedy in years. Maybe acouple of decades.

  • Seth says:

    This show is SO UNDER-RATED! It’s literally critically acclaimed; Thank You HULU for giving this show the exposure it deserves!

  • Bryan says:

    Are you nuts? This show is unwatchable. Couldn’t get past 10 minutes of it. Too bad Man Up was cancelled. Now that was a funny show.

  • Josh Lein says:

    tied with arrested development for greatest of all time.

    #sixseasonandamovie

  • Hena says:

    It’s a shame that NBC wants to cancel such an amazing show. If only it had more viewers, show your support and help keep this show alive! #sixseasonsandamovie #savecommunity

  • Matthew says:

    Best show over all.

  • be 2 tha bo says:

    where has this show my life

  • be 2 tha bo says:

    where has this show my hole life !!!!!!!!!!!! great

  • Rick says:

    I couldnt agree more. Fantastic show, excellently written and an amazing cast, only problem is the shitty time slot and crappy marketing team. (Ok thats enough positive and poopy synonyms) ….

  • Mari says:

    Yup. I was late to notice Community and then realized I love it and that this season is the bestest.

    Great writing, acting, makes you think about stuff while watching it

  • I'm Not Telling My Name to a Corporation says:

    Great choice, Remedial Chaos Theory was the best episode yet

  • Joshua says:

    Community and Parks & Rec. are the best comedy on tv. NBC is just outshined by richer companies like fox and CBS from their overrated shows.

  • Wino Carpenter says:

    First of all, “Spy” should at least be in the Top 5, and I’ll even go as far as to say that it’s the Best New Comedy of the year.

    The problem with Community is that it’s just not funny.

    Also, how is American Dad! not on this list? It’s leaps and bounds better than Beavis and Butthead and Southpark, not to mention the Cleveland Show and Family Guy. The writing is much tighter and much more creative than most shows on television.

    One last note, “The League” should definitely be in the Top 3 at least, if not #1, especially ahead of the wildly overrated and embarrasingly derivative Modern Family.

    I

  • DR. Wallace says:

    Yeah Hulu, South Park was less funny than New Girl this season (even though the show YOU put on says it isn’t (morning after))

  • CrimsonProphecy says:

    “Bored to Death” would have offset this countdown, along with many other shows if Hulu wasn’t so limited a service. I can’t believe they charge people to watch such a poor selection of shows and then have the audacity to rate what they do have the best “blank”s of 2011. Has any fan of comedy shows seen “Bored to Death”? Community is a show I follow, but it doesn’t deserve this honor.

  • Alcee Arobin says:

    NBC probably couldn’t buy ratings for Community, 30 Rock, or P&R, while that cornball dreck on CBS makes the money pile up. Bleh

  • Harmonator says:

    Community has always been my #1. No other show can touch Community’s humor… no comparison out there. Its pure gold. NBC is really making a mistake with this ‘hiatus’.

  • Dexter Heden says:

    Excellent write-up and I couldn’t agree more. Community started slow this season but has since been amazing. I’m really glad it beat out some of the more popular shows on the list.

  • Six seasons and a movie.

  • Chelsea says:

    This is, to me, the best ranking of this year’s comedy on television that I’ve seen.

    And I would know, I watch all 8 of the first 8 shows plus a few others.
    (what can I say? comedy is my crack)

    #sixseasonsandamovie

  • Borg-Annie says:

    Nice article, but what really made me happy was that Community is at the top of the list. Huzzah!

    With that said, I know what ‘hiatus’ means. We’re not stupid, NBC! Bring…it…back………NOW.

  • Drew says:

    Very good first choice. I hope the series continues.

  • ofibpl says:

    a biased list put together by the networks that own Hulu.

  • clare says:

    Community is streets ahead.

  • Jack Lonergan says:

    Seriously? Not Louie or Wilfred, but the clunky lame over the hill Community? This past season has been awful. The first season was the best one so far, since then this show has been lame.

  • Josh says:

    Love Community! Agree that it is the best on TV in 2011, but I am disappointed that more people don’t know about Raising Hope! Especially when Up All Night and New Girl get on the list. Start Raising Hope from the beginning and catch up if you aren’t already a fan. It is an easy top 5er on this list.

  • Amy says:

    thank you for giving Community the number 1 spot it rightfully deserves. I am still really bummed about the hiatus and I miss it so much

  • Alan Edstrom says:

    Well written. Cogent. I agree with everything written in this description. Are you sure this is from Hulu? Excuse me while I check for pods in the basement…

  • Joe 12-Pack says:

    Excellent choice for #1. This show makes me laugh out loud several times per episode. I feel bad for the dullards that don’t “get” this show.

    I’d like to echo the ” ‘Modern Family’ is not funny” sentiments. Some people just jump on the bandwagons of what the absurd award shows and absurder tabloid television tell them is funny. “Community” is rarely on these people’s minds. So sad.

  • Autumn says:

    This is my absolute favorite show on TV! I salute the professionals at hulu.com for their impeccable taste!

  • melinda says:

    i’ve been watching this list and i kept holding out hope that “Spy” would get recognized for how amazingly hilarious it is. i gave up on “Community” and “Parks and Recreation” awhile ago. well, maybe i’ll have to watch them again until the next season of “Spy” comes on.

  • Todd says:

    I would like to officially start the Modern Family backlash. It has never once made me laugh out loud. Community and Parks are just infinitely more clever and absurd.

  • Brandon B. says:

    I agree, Community is the absolute best show on right now. I also came into a little before the start of season three and devoured the first two seasons in a few days. Absolutely riveting!

  • whoop says:

    Community is the best show on television right now!!

  • Blaker says:

    It’s list season!
    1. Modern Family-Well rounded cast directed smartly to add to the excellent writing.
    2. Louie-the comedy is not pretty but true side of funny. No one else is doing this and doing it so hard.
    3. Community-for all the reasons listed. Smart and imaginative plays a dangerous game with the viewing public. Will/should it go cable and not have to depend on bigger numbers to survive?
    4. New Girl-Great cast, who knows how long Z d’s cute schtick will keep fresh. Look forward to Merriweather’s next show.
    5. Wilfred-no points for the transplant? f
    6. The League-often a little too much crazy for the amount of believability that the (awesome) cast is allowed to provide.
    7. Archer-B&B still have some chops but Archer’s writing is up there on the smart/funny with the Venture Bros.
    8. Parks & Rec- keeps getting funnier, especially from edges; Swanson, J R, April, etc.
    9. I watch too much TV

  • Anthony says:

    I love Community, but this review is just moronic.

  • Marcia Rose-Ritchie says:

    Season 2′s “Conspiracy Theory” goes down in history as the best television series episode ever.

  • Elena says:

    YESSSS!!! community is number 1! and whitney was voted one of the worst shows of 2011. take that NBC. and bring us our family back<3

  • chad redding says:

    community rocks, I so love it

  • Hunter Reece says:

    Yes!!!! Community is the best show on television!!!

  • kristine johnson says:

    SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!

    #sixseasonsandamovie

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