A review from The Movie Snob
Community (Season Two) (B+). I became a big fan of this sit-com during its first season, but I saw hardly any of the episodes from its second season (2010-2011) in “real time.” So I was looking forward to seeing the whole season on DVD. At first, I have to say, I was a little disappointed, but maybe my expectations were a little too high. As the season went on, I enjoyed it more and more. The show’s premise, for newcomers, is that a slick lawyer named Jeff Winger (played by Joel McHale) faked his college degree, got found out, and enrolled at third-rate Greendale Community College to get a degree so he can practice law again. Right away he sets his sights on an attractive blond in his Spanish class named Britta, but when he lies about having a Spanish study group as an excuse to see her outside of class, five of their classmates also show up to join the nonexistent study group. So the seven misfits become Friends, and they have all sorts of adventures and escapades. In the first season, I thought five of the seven main characters were very entertaining: Jeff (who plainly has a decent heart beneath his jaded-lawyer carapace), Britta (who passionately embraces political correctness for fear that she doesn’t really believe in anything), Abed (a Muslim with Asperger’s who is hyperobservant and spouts pop-culture references nonstop), Annie (a bright, ambitious cutie whose college trajectory was lowered by a high-school Adderall addiction), and Troy (a dim jock who went to high school with Annie). Shirley, a middle-aged mother of two dealing with her husband’s running out on her, is not as funny, but she helps keep the show grounded. The only real stinker in the bunch is Pierce, a skeezy rich older guy played Chevy Chase, whose racist, sexist, homophobic shtick simply isn’t funny.
If you haven’t seen the first season, quit reading now and get it! (And be warned, there are some SPOILERS ahead if you haven’t seen the first season already.) If you have seen the first season, I’ll say that the second season is generally pretty good once you get into it, and it has a few real gems. First of all, you’ll recall the big mess at the end of the first season: Britta and Professor Slater both professed their love for Jeff, who runs away and ends up making out with Annie (Alison Brie) right before the credits roll. Well, the second season cuts through that knot right away, and the romantic complications are pushed way into the background (without ever quite disappearing). Which is too bad, as I think the episodes that focus on Jeff, Britta, and Annie are usually the best. And there are a few of those in the second season—especially one in which Jeff and Annie investigate a conspiracy involving Greendale’s night school, and another in which they both run for student body president. But there are other highlights too: one episode is an homage to zombie movies, another to Apollo 13, and still another to the arthouse classic My Dinner With Andre. One episode is entirely about a game of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. And the two-part season finale about a massive game of paintball gone awry is excellent. And there are some impressive guest stars along the way, such as Betty White, Drew Carey, Josh Holloway, and LeVar Burton. Also on the plus side, Greendale’s over-the-top Dean Pelton gets more screen time.
On the minus side, I still dislike Chevy Chase’s character immensely; he becomes pretty villainous over the course of the season. But more to the point, he’s just not that funny. Same goes for Ken Jeong’s crazy Senor Chang, who has been demoted from teacher to student and is desperate to join the study group. Occasionally he has a decent bit, but generally he doesn’t work for me. Still, on the whole, I give Second Two a big thumbs up. The outtakes and deleted scenes on the DVDs aren’t much, but there are audio commentaries for every episode and some of those are pretty interesting. The creators of the show try to push beyond the normal bounds of what a sit-com can be, and sometimes they succeed very nicely.