Community is an American television comedy series created by Dan Harmon that is broadcast by NBC. The series is about a group of students at a fictional community college in Colorado. The series premiered Thursday, September 17, 2009, and airs in the 8:00pm ET time slot. It previously aired in the 9:30pm ET time slot, beginning with its premiere, but later relocated with its fourth episode. The series is a joint-venture production between Universal Media Studios and Sony Pictures Television.
On March 5, 2010, Community was renewed for a second season.
Community centers on Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), a suspended lawyer who was forced back into school after his college degree is deemed invalid by the state bar association because his degree is from Colombia, not Columbia University. The series focuses on Jeff's experiences while attending the Greendale Community College in Greendale, Colorado, and the people he meets there. He has an obvious crush on Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), a female student trying to get her life back on track, and receives perplexing life lessons from Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase), an aged moist-towelette tycoon who has been married seven times.
The ensemble cast centers on Jeff, Britta, Pierce, and the other four members of their Spanish-class study group: Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), a film student; Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), a recently divorced mother attending college for the first time; former high school quarterback Troy Barnes (Donald Glover); and straight-laced nerd Annie Edison (Alison Brie), who has had an unrequited crush on Troy since high school. Also recurring is unbalanced Spanish instructor Señor Ben Chang (Ken Jeong), psychology professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver), whom Jeff represented for a DUI, and the overwhelmed Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), who desperately wants his school to be more like a real university and goes to strenuous and excessive lengths to seem politically correct.
The first season premiered on September 17, 2009 in the 9:30pm ET timeslot. After three episodes, the show was moved to the 8:00pm ET timeslot. In October 2009, it was announced that the show had been picked up for a full twenty-two episode season. In January 2010, NBC ordered an additional three episodes for the first season, extending it to a total of 25 episodes.
In addition to the regular episodes, NBC produced a series of webisodes. The newest ones are a Spanish project. Others include Abed copying his friends' lives and turning them into student films. These webisodes are featured on the front page of the Greendale Community College website on the AV Department page.
Dan Harmon emphasized the importance of the cast to making the premise of the comedy work. "Casting was 95 percent of putting the show together," he said in an interview. He had worked with several of the cast members earlier; Joel McHale, John Oliver, and Chevy Chase all had cameo roles in episode 9 of Water and Power, the short film series produced by Harmon for Channel 101. Actor Chevy Chase had long been a favorite of Harmon. Though principally not very partial to sitcoms, Chase was persuaded to take the job by the quality of the show's writing. Harmon saw similarities between Chase and the character he plays on the show. Though Chase has often been ridiculed for his career choices, Harmon believed this role could be redeeming: "What makes Chevy and Pierce heroic is this refusal to stop." Harmon had to warn Chase against playing a "wise-ass" the way he often does in his roles, since the character of Pierce is a rather pathetic figure who is normally the butt of the joke himself.
McHale, known from the E! comedy talk show The Soup, was also (like Chase) impressed by Harmon's writing. He commented that "Dan's script...was so head and shoulders above everything else that I was reading." McHale appealed to Harmon because of his likeable quality, which allowed the character to possess certain unsympathetic traits without turning the viewer against him. For the role of Annie, Harmon wanted someone who would resemble Tracy Flick, Reese Witherspoon's character from the 1999 movie Election. Originally the producers were looking for a Latina or Asian Tracy Flick, but could not find any. Instead they ended up casting Alison Brie, known from her role as Trudy Campbell on Mad Men.
The premise of Community was based on Harmon's real-life experiences. In an attempt to save his relationship with his then-girlfriend, he enrolled in Glendale Community College northeast of Los Angeles, where they would take Spanish together. Harmon got involved in a study group and, somewhat against his own instincts, became closely connected to the group of people with whom he had very little in common. "...I was in this group with these knuckleheads and I started really liking them," he explains, "even though they had nothing to do with the film industry and I had nothing to gain from them and nothing to offer them." With this as the background, Harmon wrote the show with a main character largely based on himself. He had, like Jeff, been self-centered and independent to the extreme before he realized the value of connecting with other people.
About the creative process behind the writing, Harmon says that he had to write the show as if it were a movie, not a sitcom. Essentially, he says, the process was no different from the earlier work he had done, except for the length and the target demographic.
Filming the show involved a lot of improvisation, particularly from Chevy Chase. About Chase, Harmon said that he "tends to come up with lines that you can actually end scenes with sometimes."
The theme song of Community is "At Least It Was Here" by The 88. Additionally, the song "Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare" by Matt & Kim is featured prominently in the pilot episode and in early commercials.
The show's general reviews have been mostly positive, scoring a 69 out of 100 with critics on Metacritic and an 8.1/10 with viewers. Notably, David Bushman (Curator, Television) of the Paley Center for Media called Community the best new show of the fall season. Jonah Krakow of IGN gave the first season an 8.5 saying "Given the way Community eventually ramped up and delivered some amazing stories in the second half of the season."
Premiering in the 9:30pm ET spot on September 17, 2009, the pilot episode had a viewership of 7.680 million. In the 18–49 audience, it had a rating of 3.7. As such, it held 93% of this audience from The Office, which had been in the previous time slot. The show was called the "bright spot for the night" for NBC, seeing how The Office was down 18% from the previous year's premiere, while Parks and Recreation, in the preceding time slot, was down 30%.
Awards and nominationsEdit
- The show received a nomination for "Favorite New TV Comedy" at the 36th People's Choice Awards.
- Justin Lin received a nomination for "Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series" at the NAACP Image Awards for "Introduction to Statistics".
- The show received a nomination for "Breakout Show" and Ken Jeong was nominated for "Breakout Star Male" at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards.
- The series was nominated for a Ewwy Award in 2010 for Outstanding Comedy Series.
- Joel McHale was nominated for a Ewwy Award in 2010 for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, for playing Jeff Winger.
- Danny Pudi was nominated for a Ewwy Award in 2010 for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, for playing Abed Nadir.