Community (and Dan Harmon) is back!

community Community, Season 5 has begun!!

When the finale of Season 4 aired, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the show. I wasn’t sure I wanted to pick it back up again in 2014. Then it was announced – Dan Harmon was returning! THE CREATOR! He may break Wheaton’s Law on occasion but he knows how to write a hilarious, smart show.

“Repilot” and “Introduction to Teaching” effectively reboot the series. They had to – Season 4 ended with the study group finally graduating at 4 years at Greendale!

“Repilot” shows us that Jeff has tried to embrace his good side after getting out of Greendale and…well, good doesn’t pay the bills. His office is being repossessed in the opening scenes and his slimey ex-partner (Rob Corddry) convinces him to infiltrate Greendale’s file room to find information on a client he has that wants to sue the school. Of course, things backfire and by the end of the episode the study group is back together (minus Magnitude Pierce since Chevy Chase has left the show (speaking of Wheaton’s Law breakers, he is also a repeat offender)).

The thing about Community is the connection the writers have to the fans and their awareness of popular culture and also the drama around the show itself. For example, Abed refers to the “repilot” being similar to Scrubs season 9, when Zach Braff was only there for the first few episodes before handing it over to the new cast. Troy grumbles, “After everything Scrubs did for him!” — Troy, played by Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover, will also only be appearing in a handful of episodes this season while Glover explores the musical side of his career. See??? Brilliant. Even if you didn’t get the joke the first time you saw this episode, if you go back to rewatch the show on DVD later, the jokes will become obvious. THIS is the Community I know I love and have missed so much.

Honestly, I think I laughed more during both of these episodes than I did during all of Season 4 (the “gas leak” year as the characters refer to it). While they may not be the best episodes of the series, they are definitely the best we’ve seen in a year and it feels like Harmon and his writers have a plan for this season beyond spoofing everything. (Not that there is anything wrong with that. Watch Idea Channel’s Is Community a Postmodern Masterpiece? to make you think even deeper thoughts about this goofy show).

Here’s hoping that the rest of Season 5 has me laughing as much as these first two episodes. They were a solid start to a new year and a welcome return to one of my favorite shows.

tv shows I did not expect to like: Archer

Archer on FX

Not knowing anything about ‘Archer’ (the description on Netflix leaves something to be desired), I assumed it was just another spy show, a James Bond clone. I’m not even sure I knew it was animated, but I had no idea it was a comedy.

A friend had me watch the first episode, and it was funny enough, but I set it aside to watching some other things. Thank goodness it was still on streaming a few months later. I decided to give it another try after reading people raving about the fourth season.

I can’t quite pinpoint why I love this rude, crude, and sometimes downright vile show. I think the fact that, even at it’s strangest moments, ‘Archer’ (the series, not the man) has it’s heart in the right place. I love all the characters, love the running gags (which span SEASONS), but I think the thing that has endeared it to my little geek heart the most are the super-random references that Archer (the man) will make to comic books, sci-fi and fantasy shows. He’s this badass who mocks everyone slightly nerdy, yet he clearly has this other layer that has read tons of X-Men comics and watched Stargate.

The show is vulgar and I’m never sure who I should tell about it because of that. The humor is twisted and it catches me off guard, actually making me laugh out loud.

And I didn’t even mention the fantastic cast. You’ll recognize a lot of them on sight, even if you don’t know there names. And SO MANY GUEST STARS.

If you’re a fan of ‘Venture Brothers’, this is something you should be watching. If you’re a fan of over-the-top comedies that manage to mix high brow and low brow humor into a single one-liner, you should watch this. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!

tv thoughts: Zombieland (2013 Amazon Pilot)

Watched most of the Zombieland pilot tonight and I was sorta disappointed. I feel like they have already made several missteps. We started to watch and Tim said “Wait, are they the same characters from the movie?” and I was like “yes”…and then it became clear that this was a bad idea. They would have been better off starting with a new set of survivors. Trying to convince me that these 4 people are Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin…well you can’t. Because the guy they cast as Talahassee lacks the swagger, the kid they cast as Columbus looks way too young, the girl they cast as Wichita can’t pull of the sarcastic jibes the way Stone can and Little Rock is…well I guess she’s fine but she’s no Breslin.

It’s frustrating because the opening sequence was great and they had a chance to introduce NEW characters living in the same world as our Movie Heroes and avoid this entire problem…but no **sigh** How could they not know that we would be comparing the two??

Anyway, wasn’t impressed. Which is too bad because I had been really excited about the prospect of the series since the movie was originally shopped around AS the series but zombies weren’t cool then.

tv thoughts: That Mitchell and Webb Look (2006 – ??)

You know, it’s hard to find a really good sketch comedy show, so when my brother told me to watch That Mitchell and Webb Look when it was on Netflix last year, I was skeptical, but I gave it a try as my “breakfast show”. I was thrilled at how consistent the show was in finding ridiculous things to mock and also the range, from sex jokes to poking fun at Jane Austen novels and beyond. I found myself laughing out loud and quoting the sketches afterwards (The above sketch gets me every time and I now quote it when trying to describe a scene where acting/directing didn’t jibe.)

But, alas, the show is no longer on Netflix (which I found out when I went to show it to a friend and was like WTF NO!). It appears to be available as part of Hulu Plus BUT THE DVDS ARE NOT FOR SALE IN THE US! WHAT? Just a travesty. Do they not understand that I need the DVDs so I can show my friends the sketches so we can all quote them together randomly??

So, everyone watch ‘Mitchell and Webb’ on Hulu and tell your friends and tell BBC America that we need the DVDs for hilarious reasons like this: