Fans of The Soup rejoice! This week alone, we not only get punchy host Joel McHale on the E! clip show, but also in theaters alongside Matt Damon in The Informant and on the very first episode of NBC’s Community. Thankfully, the show looks like it has potential to stick around for quite some time, playing partner to other NBC hits like The Office and 30 Rock.
For those who plan on catching the premier tonight, here’s a little about the show. Community is about Jeff Winger, a lawyer with the gift of gab who gets disbarred when it’s revealed his license to practice law is all but real. He is then forced to attend community college, where he feels completely out of place among what he thinks are the old, young, and useless. Winger then meets fellow classmate Britta (Gillian Jacobs), who he becomes smitten with, a decides to give the community experience a try.
The show brings together great names like Chevy Chase, John Oliver, Joel McHale and the writer/creator of the show, Dan Harmon. You might not recognize that last one but Harmon has been a prominent name in the internet comedy community for years now. He started off writing the failed pilot Heat Vision and Jack directed by Ben Stiller and starring Jack Black and Owen Wilson, which was about a traveling astronaut and his talking motorcycle. Harmon then moved on to the internet with cult web series such as Laser Fart, as well as co-creating The Sarah Silverman Program for Comedy Central.
Though Community has some great supporting characters, the basis of the plot is all about Joel McHale and his lightning-fast wit. Making his character Jeff a master of speech and incredibly bright allows McHale to do some pretty impressive things with the dialogue. If there is one thing that this show does, it will bring McHale from cable to superstar status. There is room for the argument that Chevy Chase agreed to this role to pave the way for McHale, as he can be seen as a modern day Chase. There is even a throwaway line where Chase says Joel reminds him of a younger version of himself.
The writing is both smart and funny. There are plenty of pop references for movie and TV nerds, as well as some great character development through dialogue that you may need to watch twice to get. Overall, the show is quite well done, should play well to Middle America (because that’s where it counts in ratings) and will hopefully live a long life on NBC. At least longer than My Own Worst Enemy.
Community airs tonight (Thursday) at 9:30 EST/8:30 Central on NBC.