As college students, we have all mastered the art of getting by. Yes there are the overachievers (in mass quantities here at UR), but all of us at one point or another put aside our inner teacher’s pet for that feeling of doing well on a test or a project, without really doing anything at all.

And thus, NBC’s newest comedy, ‘Community,” is born. Joel McHale plays the ultimate slacker in former lawyer Jeff Winger. Despite his keen skill for fabricating the truth and massive quantities of inspiration to cheat his way through life, Jeff suddenly finds himself without a job after his undergraduate diploma is uncovered as fake.

Jeff takes an inconvenient detour off his career path to restore his degree and heads to the only place that will take him, a local community college. He is under the impression that having helped the dean out of a sticky situation (involving a U-turn on the freeway, chalupas and an emergency call box) will allow him to reap the benefits of well-placed connections.

Little does Jeff know, however, that the dean takes his community college job seriously. He soon finds himself stuck without a fast forward button and no easy pass lane as he is forced to realize that he will have to actually work for the first time in his life.

Jeff finds the motivation he needs in his attractive peer, Britta, who just happens to be in need of a Spanish tutor. Enter Jeff, the ‘board-certified” Spanish tutor who just so happens to run a Spanish study group. Perfect he’ll have her on a date and in bed by the end of the night. Or not.

While Jeff expects a one-on-one get-to-know-you session where little Spanish is spoken, he instead finds himself the leader of a group of misfits who somehow found their way to his impromptu study group.

The cast may not include a brain, an athlete, a basket case,a princess and a criminal, but they sure as hell give off that ‘Breakfast Club” vibe. Rather than ignore the similarities, creator Dan Harmon (‘The Sarah Silverman Program”) embraces the concept with complete and hilarious acknowledgment of their John Hughes homage.
Joining Britta and Jeff in their newly found ‘community” of seven is Chevy Chase as Pierce, the middle-aged inventor of an ‘award-winning moist towelette”; Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) the divorce feminist; Troy (Donald Glover), the high school prom king who doesn’t know when to take off his letterman jacket; Aderol Annie (‘Mad Men’s Alison Brie), an overly emotional recovering addict; and my personal favorite, Abed (Danny Pudi), who believes his life is a TV show, has zero social skills and a memory comparable to a personal information database.

This obscure group comes together after one of Jeff’s inspirationally bullshitted motivational monologues that proves his deceitful skills can come in handy. In spite of their many differences, we find that these characters have much more to gain from one another than they have to lose. By sticking with their Spanish study group, where we have yet to see them speak any Spanish, they offer each other the best of what they have to give.

If the first episode introduced us to the characters and their quirks, the second story in the lives of these characters showed us just how well they play their parts alongside one another. From Jeff and Pierce’s epic Spanish presentation, complete with tiny barista hats and robot costumes, to Shirley and Annie’s heartfelt political protest ending in a silent candle lit vigil to prove their legitimacy, episode number two flies to all sorts of new heights.

The ensemble ‘Community” has pulled together really has great potential. They have already proven to be entertaining and chock full of chemistry. When the entire group is together, whether it be their Breakfast Club-esque library or their Spanish class headed by Professor Chang (Ken Jeong), the jokes just roll in one after another.
It’s easy to get your hopes up about a show this early in the series, but so far ‘Community” has got me registered. The show’s absurdity has a sidesplitting charm about it that immediately has you wanting more.

The characters in ‘Community” may have to work to get by in school, but this series gets a very preliminary ‘A” in my book. We’ll have to watch to see if they can keep up the good grades. The pilot episode proved it could hold its own on a night jam packed with comedy

. But it was the following episode that proved our new students would not only survive in this competitive spot, but that they belong there.
You can catch ‘Community” on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC or online/iTunes.

Rosenberg is a member of
the class of 2012.

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