Saturday, August 29, 2009
There are few times that I totally love a TV show based solely on its pilot episode. By the time the regular season get started (if the pilot is even picked up) many changes may have been made to the show. Sometimes they are good changes and sometimes they doom the show right from the start. In truth, there is just something - call it magic - that distinguishes the successful from the non-successful shows. No genre has a greater fail rate than sitcoms. So many factors have to combine in JUST the right way for lightning to strike. Based on the quality of the pilot for the sitcom 'COMMUNITY' with Joel McHale, I think the producers of this program have found that dream mix. The setting is simple. Joel plays a lawyer named Jeff, who fudged his degree and now has been barred from practicing law until he gets the credits he needs. He attends a dorky Greendale Community College where everyone at first glance seems to a stereotype right out of 'Animal House' but that doesn't matter. What you have here is a setting that is just ripe for the picking of comedy gold. McHale is so perfectly smarmy, smart and selfish that you instantly find yourself rooting for his transparent schemes to fail, not because you dislike him but because you want to see the wheels turn in his mind. His character plays the odds and angles like the best con men do. He knows that 90% of his attempts will fail but that doesn't stop him from throwing everything out there so long as the end goal (getting what he wants) is achieved. He is similar to a determined five year old who just doesn't hear the word no. Watching him fail and then get up again for another round will be great fun to watch. Of course there are people (like Abed, a middle eastern nerdy braniac), that are there for him to manipulate, a study group with more issues than the 'Breakfast Club' and a smart pretty girl (Britta) who totally sees through this guy's act. She has put up with guys hitting on her her whole life and now finds, in Jeff, the joy in discovering new and novel ways to shoot him down just to see what tactic he will attempt next to get her into bed. Its a funny dynamic between them. I already see them getting together in five years of the show and reading about everyone complaining that the show has 'jumped the shark' like Cheers did when Sam got with Diane. The show has an impressive pedigree. The people behind the underrated comedy 'Arresting Development' are behind this show so you know the writing will be strong and smart. Even Chevy Chase is on board as an guy coming back to school as what we would call a 'mature student'. John Oliver from the 'Daily Show' plays a professor who Jeff once got out of a D.U.I. by linking his drunk driving to 9/11. And NO, its not too soon for a 9/11 joke.
"You know what makes humans different from other animals? We are the only species on Earth that observes 'Shark Week'. Sharks don't even observe 'Shark Week' but we do."
Posted by Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness at 11:12 PM