My favorite tv show is coming back for its 4th season this Thursday, Feb 7. And to honor Community's return, I felt like partaking in the time honored blogging tradition of making a top 10 list. Needless to say, I love every episode. But several stick out above the rest. And among those that do there isn't much variance between them.
10. Beginner Pottery
This is one of the first times that we see the dark side to Jeff's personality. He takes a pottery class because he thinks it will be an easy class in which he won't have to do much work. (Say what you want about him, but Jeff is always trying to be efficient in achieving his goal of becoming a lawyer again.) But driven by his need to satisfy his ego, he tries really hard to be better than Rich, the doctor everyone loves. The sets up a lot of good stuff in later seasons. And to be honest, this episode won a tie-breaker with Epidemiology because of Annie molding clay. Sorry, but I love Alison Brie.
9. Comparative Religion
This is the group's first Christmas episode, even though it's not Christmas. Shirley is throwing a Christmas party because it's the last day of the semester and she wants to impose her evangelical spirit upon the group. This episode made the list because it was a fun way to highlight the differences of the group. They are all a different religion, which makes Shirley uncomfortable, especially Britta's atheism (My favorite line is when Britta comes to the party with nothing and Shirley says, "I see Britta brought what she believes in, nothing."). The fight between Jeff and a bully shows the group why they are friends despite their differences.
8. Origins of Vampire Mythology
Britta's boyfriend Blade comes to town, along with the carnival he works at. Again we see Jeff's ego come out, making him obsessed with finding out why Britta can't resist Blade. Blade's arrival of course prompts Troy and Abed to watch the awesome kickboxing vampire movie "Blade", which Annie tries to keep Britta from calling Blade. I love Jeff's speech at the end about not needing to go to someone until you can learn to love yourself. And one of my favorite Abed moments ever is when the Dean shows up to the apartment for "boys night!" and Abed turns to the group and says, "I need help reacting to something".
7. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons
This was the first episode I watched. The folks at pajiba.com had raved about the show enough that I decided to give it a shot. I had great timing because this is what Community does best; take a weird/geeky concept, design an entire episode around it, and use it to advance characters in emotional ways. This one revolved around playing Dungeons and Dragons in order to save "Fat" Neil from killing himself. Being hurt because he wasn't invited to play, Pierce decides to sabotage the game in order to teach the group a lesson. And to top it off, we got Annie describing how she would seduce and make love to Abed's character.
6. For a Few Paintballs More
The season finale of the 2nd season where the group has to defeat City College in order to save their school. Much to Abed's liking, the theme shifts to a Star Wars concept wherein Abed becomes Han to Annie's Leah. There's not a lot of character stuff going on here. It's just a ton of paint, one liners (Denny's is for winners), and great action.
5. Introduction to Statistics
The first Halloween episode. The first appearance of Abed as Batman. Need I go on? No, but I will. Jeff trying to have sex with Professor Slater was funny, especially when he uses a play from Chang's playbook, desperately begging for it. And Jeff's speech he gives to Pierce about having lived a lot was a nice touch. The outtakes from this episode are great. I could listen to Batman and Troy talk forever.
4. Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism
The second appearance of Abed as Batman, now with the blessing from the man himself, Christian Bale. I identify a lot with Abed. I'm not so much socially awkward as I am introverted. I just don't care to be very social. And I love Batman. So this episode is basically a homage to people like me. Everything Annie and Troy do in this episode is hilarious (especially Annie doing the Batman voice). And the side story with Jeff and Shirley is nice.
3. Modern Warfare
The first paintball episode. Jeff and Britta finally succumb to their urges and have sex on the study room table, which is followed by Chang going all Scarface and Predator on them to decide who wins priority registration. The episode is just a lot of fun and lets everyone be badass.
2. A Fistful of Paintballs
This took the paintball concept to a whole different level. The western theme was beautiful and served as a great way to pit the group against itself. In particular, it finally had the confrontation between Pierce and the group that was building all season long. They could have fallen into the trap of making just a copycat of Modern Warfare. But they were bold and went bigger with the concept and injected more character driven plot out of it.
1. Remedial Chaos Theory
I've never seen anything like this on tv. This episode revolves around Troy and Abed throwing a housewarming party and the group deciding who has to go get the pizza. In order to decide, Jeff throws a dice, which according to Abed creates six different timelines. We get to see each timeline and how things play out. The same basic things happen in each timeline. But within the basic framework we get a lot of great and funny differences that highlight different things for each character. The real timeline (I think) has Abed stopping Jeff from throwing the dice because Jeff has set it up to where he won't have to get the pizza. Because of that, the group makes Jeff get the pizza. This allows Britta to sign Roxanne (by The Police) and the group to join in with her signing and dancing. This is one of my favorite scenes in the series. There's just something sweet about them all having fun together. Plus this gives us our first look at Evil Abed.