Pilot Light: NBC's 'Community'
The usual disclaimer: These posts are not reviews -- in a lot of cases, pilots aren't completely finished products yet. But we do want to offer our impressions of the new shows, now that we've seen more than just a few clips.
Cool? Cool. On to "Community."
What it is: Jeff ("The Soup's" Joel McHale) is a lawyer who's gifted at the art of persuasion -- and skating by without really working that hard. That comes back to bite him when his college degree is invalidated and he has to earn a new one starting at a community college populated by "remedial teens, twentysomething dropouts, middle-aged divorcees and old people keeping their minds active as they circle the drain of eternity," as the pilot puts it.
Who's making it: Dan Harmon ( "The Sarah Silverman Program") wrote the pilot and is among its executive producers, as are the pilot's directors, "Arrested Development" veterans Joe and Anthony Russo.
What to look for: The show will be focus on a "study group" Jeff organizes in an effort to make time with a girl ( Gillian Jacobs) and that attracts the aforementioned underachieving types ( Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Yvette Nicole Brown and Chevy Chase -- yep, Chevy Chase), plus an oversharing and overager guy named Abed ( Danny Pudi of "Greek"). They're all scraping bottom in one way or another, and they all kind of know it; the laughs (which are fairly frequent) come from their reluctance to admit it.
What pops: The cast has an odd but comedically effective chemistry, and McHale has no problem moving from snarky clip-show host to sitcom star. Pudi may be in line for a big breakout; he steals several scenes. McHale and John Oliver ("The Daily Show"), who plays a professor, also have several funny exchanges.
What doesn't: A couple of the supporting characters a little thin, as you might expect in a pilot. The show may also need to do a little more work to establish real bonds between the members of the group.
Watch a preview of 'Community'
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