HomeTV21 Best 'Community' Episodes: Paintball, Trampolines, & More

21 Best ‘Community’ Episodes: Paintball, Trampolines, & More

There are very few TV shows as storied as Community. It’s based on the showrunner, Dan Harmon’s, own experiences in community college. From epic paintball wars to heartwarming character arcs, these episodes showcase the very essence of what makes Community a beloved show cherished by fans worldwide. So, buckle up as we delve into the comedic genius and explore the top episodes that have made this show a true gem of television history. These are the 21 best Community episodes of all time.

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Aerodynamics of Gender: Season 2 Episode 7

Abed, arguably the main point of view from which the story is built, is sharp, observant, strange, and (at several times during the series) appears to be slightly delusional. He is awkward in social settings, especially as he blatantly points out what many wish he wouldn’t.

This observant and objective commentary turns out to be useful in this episode for Annie, Britta, and Shirley. The three decide to enroll in a women’s studies class, only to find Abed is also taking it.

The three women try to sit in the front, only to be confronted by three “mean girl”-esque students who make them sit in the back of the room. They reluctantly sit with Abed in the back of the room.

They are complaining to him about the “mean girls,” and Abed starts seriously ripping on them. Annie, Britta, and Shirley use him as ammo, taking him up to the women and telling him to “get those bitches.”

The show presents this ability as a Terminator-like process where he pinpoints a person’s flaws and uses them to insult them.

The mean girls end up crying and abandoning their seats.

Again, Abed’s not great at social situations, so he’s a little confused. The girls explain to him that those girls were mean and deserved it. He continues dissing everyone the trio tells him to, until eventually, Abed realizes that the “bitches” are now Annie, Britta, and Shirley. Then, he starts ripping on them.

Eventually, Abed realizes he has to “restore the balance,” so he instructs those first “mean girls” to burn him so that everything can go back to the way it was.

The other, equally worthy plot of the episode is about Troy and Jeff finding a magical trampoline in the college garden after they accidentally lose a basketball in it. It’s calming, bouncy, essentially perfect.

But it’s ruined when Pierce, who really just wants to hang out with the boys, finds them. He makes the two “double bounce him,” only for him to propel through the air, over the garden gate, and into the parking lot.

Abed’s sick burns, plus the surreal atmosphere of this random trampoline in a secret garden in the parking lot, are what place this episode on the pedestal it belongs on.

Heroic Origins: Season 4 Episode 12

heroic origins

As the group is preparing to take a history final, Abed reveals that he has been studying the history of the group, and presents “The Crazy Quilt of Destiny” to prove that the study group was an act of fate.

Abed details how they all met. He also poses the theory that he is “the villain of the group,” as he was the one who inadvertently exposed Shirley’s husband’s (Andre’s) affair and outed Annie to her doctor, which was how she got carted off to rehab.

Then Jeff considers himself the villain, as he’s the one who pushed the woman who had an affair with Andre to go for him.

They all feel awkward after revealing how their lives have affected each others’, and all independently go for frozen yogurt, only to ban together again (out of the love of frozen yogurt, obviously.) 

Abed then tells them that it was Chang who really got them all together. He was passing out flyers for Greendale Community College at the frozen yogurt place the year before everyone enrolled. They all independently saw the flyer, enrolled, and the rest was history.

The webs that Abed weaved are too complex for me to capture with words, so just go watch this one.

Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples: Season 5 Episode 5

messianic myths and ancient peoples

It starts with Professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver, if this gives you an image of the kind of man I’m talking about) teaching a history class. He’s a substitute for the class and knows about zero history, which makes sense since he’s at the school to teach psychology.

The class ends up watching stupid YouTube videos, with Duncan taking suggestions from the class. Shirley, a devout Christain, asks him what comes up when you type in “God.”

The results were not pretty.

She asks Abed, master documentary maker, to make a viral video with a Christain message. Instead, he decides to make a “Jesus movie for the post-post-modern world.” It’s about how the documentor is Jesus and the camera is God. Abed’s the star and the film is called ABED.

Abed shows Shirley a crazy storyboard for the movie while also explaining a painfully meta plot that hurts to think about, even now. He dawns a long wig and white robes, really getting into the part of Jesus. (Or, Abed? This episode is a lot.)

Shirley freaks out for the entire episode, painting Abed as a lunatic and an insult to the real Jesus.

When the movie is completed, Abed sees it in post-production and realizes it’s a mess. He wants it to be “taken away from him” and asks God for help.

God answered his prayers, I guess, when Shirley came to the showing, swinging a bat, and then destroyed the laptop the movie was stored on.

Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design: Season 2 Episode 9

This is one of those weird point-of-view episodes where you as a viewer aren’t cued into everything going on. Specifically, Jeff claims that he’s been taking a night class on conspiracy theories, taught by “Professor Professerson,” which sounds absolutely made up. The entirety of the episode then becomes a conspiracy in itself.

Dean Palton (who very outwardly adores Jeff), accuses him of making up a fake class to graduate faster. Annie also doubts whether the class is real.

To prove that the class is real, he takes them both to Professorson’s office, which turns out just to be a closet. He swears that the class is real, and convinces them that this must be his final, Professorson turning himself into a conspiracy.

The two are doubtful, until a man appears, claiming to be Professorson and vouching for Jeff. He says that he primarily teaches night school, which is why the Dean has never seen him. The Dean and Annie are satisfied, but he later tells Annie that he definitely faked the class and had no idea who the guy was.

The two investigate, and find out that all the night school classes are a sham — there’s literally a night school class called “Class”. They run into the mysterious man, a man called “Professor Woolley.”

They chase him down the hallway, through the massive blanket fort Troy and Abed have built throughout the entire school (oh yeah: side plot, they do that), and finally corner him in the group’s study room.

He says that he lied about taking a class once, and then had to fake an entire night school. Jeff says that he fessed up so it’s fine, but Annie’s not so forgiving. She lifts up a gun and shoots him dead. Then the Dean shoots her, because “he had a gun!”

Then Jeff pulls out a gun and shoots him. Annie stands up and freaks out, because she and the Dean had used prop guns to set him up to teach him a lesson about honesty, but now the Dean is dead for real.

…Until it’s revealed that Jeff’s gun is also a prop, and that he and the Dean set her up to teach her a lesson about friendship.

A police officer rushes into the scene and ends up shooting “Woolley”, who actually turns out to be Sean Garrity, the drama teacher. He, along with another actor, set them up to teach them a lesson about prop gun violence.

And the side-plot fort grows huge, with lots of students now camping out in it. Troy and Abed realize the fort is “mainstream”, and pull the one piece of the fort holding it all together. The thing falls apart, and that’s the end of it.

Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas: Season 2 Episode 11

Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas

Remember how I said Abed is sometimes unstable, and that it makes the show unstable? Well, this applies here.

Abed is upset this Christmas, and the episode ends up reverting into a claymation sequence, much like a classic Christmas special, all told from Abed’s point of view. No one is sure why Abed goes into a delusional state, and he says he’s just trying to find “the meaning of Christmas,” so they can all go back to “live-action.”

Professor John Oliver (I mean Duncan, you remember, the psychology guy?) is studying Abed, while putting in a lukewarm attempt to steer him towards whatever is making him see the world as claymation.

The study group all play along to help snap him out of the delusion, each becoming a toy version of themselves. Professor John Oliver, in his relentless attempts to pull Abed out of a fantasy he needs to process whatever he’s going through, becomes a sort of villain wizard.

Eventually, the “meaning of Christmas” Abed finds, is just a DVD of Lost. The group also discovers a note from Abed’s mother, who comes every Christmas. But not this year.

Abed comes to become that his group of friends banning together to help see him through his struggles, showing him love all the while, is what Christmas is truly about.

The episode is heartwarming, silly, and excellent use of claymation, which is why it has earned its place on this list and in my heart.

Critical Film Studies: Season 2 Episode 19

Abed is a die-hard Pulp Fiction fan, so the group decides to throw him a Pulp Fiction themed birthday party.

Jeff takes Abed to a fancy, high-class restaurant while the rest of the group sets up the birthday party at the bar Britta works at. Abed reveals that he went to the set of Cougar Town, became a random background character, just walking through the set like he’s in Cougar Town.

He builds his entire persona for this random walk through the background of the set, and realizes how fake TV is. He tells Jeff he wants something “real”, to live in reality, to not lie like TV does.

Jeff argues that everyone lies. Everyone especially lies to themselves. He ends up revealing a lot of stuff he lies to himself about. He tells Abed that he called a woman for phone sex and lied about being fat, because he worries whether people will like him if he’s fat.

It’s revealed that Abed was just doing a bit from another movie, My Dinner with Andre, a movie where two guys are sitting in a restaurant talking about their lives. It was all a bit, and Jeff was furious.

They go to the party and Jeff storms off and orders a drink at the bar.

Abed tells him that he orchestrated the entire thing so they could spend time together, as he felt they’d been drifting lately.

That sweet moment, the raw truths, the unfolding of several parodies for a higher cause, make this episode a keeper. Plus there are end credits where Troy and Abed are eating at the fancy restaurant and can’t afford the bill. (Dine and dash, anyone?)

Paradigms of Human Memory: Season 2 Episode 21

This episode was an episode about all the episodes of Community. Stay with me, here.

The group is working on their anthropology final, a diorama (they build several of these throughout the class.) As they’re recalling the past year, Abed realizes that Jeff and Britta (who, for a minute, had a thing that went disastrously) were secretly hooking up. The group was furious.

They started thinking back on instances when Jeff and Britta were terrible to everyone else, which prompted everyone to have flashbacks about the year. (It was not a good one.)

The Dean enters at one point in a Samba costume. Jeff points out that the Dean often bursts into the study room to announce ridiculous news (like a dog parade). There’s then an entire montage of the Dean bursting in wearing a bunch of different costumes throughout the year.

The group is often salvaged by one of Jeff Winger’s famous motivational speeches, so he gives another one. The one he gives in the present moment is presented to us as a smashing together of all his previous speeches. And, as always, the group hugs and makes up.

Everyone tells Jeff and Britta that they don’t have to keep hiding. Like two highschoolers sneaking out at night, they become disinterested the moment their relationship becomes acceptable.

Their project ends up being a diorama of the group making a diorama. Jeff also comments that Abed is always making meta-commentary, asking why he has to do it.

The montaging, the meta-commentary about the meta-commentary about the TV show, and the Dean’s parade of outfits all combine to make great TV.

Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts: Season 2 Episode 22

This episode is a super straightforward one, a funny and heartwarming ending of the season.

Shirley has been pregnant for the entire season. But the million-dollar question is: Is it Chang’s baby, or her ex-husband, Andre’s? She blacked out at a Halloween party and did…things, with Chang. And she had been secretly seeing her ex-husband at the time.

So, finally, we get to know whose baby it is.

Her water breaks in the group’s anthropology class, during a food riot, so they can’t leave the room and EMTs can’t get in. That means it’s up to the group to safely deliver Shirley’s baby.

Britta believes she’s a powerful woman and can totally do this. However, she chickens out and Abed takes the reins. However, Shirley doesn’t want Abed to see…down there…so Britta eventually steps up and is a halfway decent midwife.

The baby is Andre’s, everyone. No worries about a “Chang baby,” as Chang continues to say.

A Fistful of Paintballs: Season 2 Episode 23

Community manages to shove a paintball tournament in three seasons of the show.

This episode dumps us into a Wild West/dystopian society, no explanation. Fat Neil is running down a destroyed hallway, chased by some bullies with paintball guns. Annie saves Fat Neil, who then betrays her by pulling a paint gun on her. She shoots him, though. 

They then flash back to the start of the paintball tournament, where the Dean is announcing a prize offered by an ice cream company. The mascot, in a slightly terrifying voice, announces the prize: “$100,000!”

In the present, Annie goes back to base, where she is offered an alliance with Jeff and Abed. The entire group ends up together at a “safe zone” set up by Pierce.

In the middle of the episode, they run into a sharpshooter who (metaphorically) drops people like flies. They’re pretty sure he doesn’t go to the school.

Pierce ended up sabotaging the group because he felt left out. When he stumbled upon them all playing cards, he hadn’t been invited. But that’s because they were voting on whether they would invite Pierce (who’s extremely offensive) back to the group the next year.

Chang also betrays groups, makes and breaks alliances, and somehow remains unscathed for a pretty long time.

The Black Rider and Jeff have a shootout, and the Back Rider’s taken out. It turns out that he’s a professional paintball assassin, sent so that “his boss could keep his money.”

He then looks the group dead in the eye and says: “This is so much bigger than you think.”

For a Few Paintballs More: Season 2 Episode 24

The episode is a continuation of the last episode, but (as Abed so aptly points out) they are leaving the Western motif and moving into a Star Wars one.

It turns out that City College, Greendale’s rivals, has orchestrated the entire contest in order to make Greendale students destroy their own school.

The beef between City College and Greendale seems more like the Dean Spreck (City College Dean) not knowing how to handle the tension between him and Dean Pelton. He randomly meddles with Greendale, despite Greendale being virtually no threat to City College.

Dean Spreck sends in “stormtroopers” to shoot down all the Greendale students. If anyone is left standing, he’ll have to pay that student 100 Gs. 

Abed takes on a Han Solo role “before Jeff can claim it.” Annie falls for his ruggedness, a Princess Leia of sorts. There’s a trash shoot scene, a rebel alliance, and a few well-devised plans, all reminiscent of Star Wars.

Pierce betrays his friends again, this time by giving information to Dean Spreck. But eventually, we find out that it’s just a ploy to gain his trust. He then dresses up as a “stormtrooper” and shoots out the other unsuspecting “stormtroopers.”

So, Pierce ends up saving the day and donates the $100,000 to cleaning up Greendale. He slinks away, though, saddened by the group.

And that’s how Season 2 ends: climatically, hilariously, with a bit of a sad undertone.

Remedial Chaos Theory: Season 3 Episode 4

If there were a “most notable episode” prize, it would probably be given to this episode. It’s ridiculous and ends up the fabric of the show.

Abed and Troy, now living together, invite everyone over for a housewarming party. They order pizza, and no one wants to go downstairs to go get it.

Jeff rolls a six-sided die to determine who’s going to get the pizza. Abed warns that Jeff is “creating six different timelines” by doing this.

Abed then muses about the other possible timelines: some are great, some are not, and in one of them the house gets set on fire.

Abed also realizes Jeff’s ploy here: There are seven people, and he’s rolling a six-sided die so that he doesn’t have to get the pizza, no matter what timeline they end up in. The group makes him go get it.

Annie has also been struggling financially up until now and is having trouble paying her rent. Abed and Troy offer for her to move in.

The end credits are the best part, though. They show “The Darkest Timeline.” In it, Pierce dies, Shirley is an alcoholic, Annie is sent to a mental institution, Jeff loses an arm in said fire, Britta has a blue streak in her hair, and Abed (dubbed “Evil Abed”) has a goatee.

Evil Abed is making felt goatees for everyone else, suggesting that they, too, become evil. He hatches a plan to get out of The Darkest Timeline and into the one we, the viewers, are a part of.

Keep all this in mind. It’ll come in handy later.

Studies in Modern Movement: Season 3 Episode 7

Get ready for a girl invading the home of two man children, because you know it’s going to get interesting. This episode is about moving, friendship, and space.

The layout of Troy and Abed’s apartment makes total sense: There’s the kitchen, their room, the bathroom, and The Dreamatorium, where they imagine all kinds of wild scenarios. (It’s literally an empty room.) They refuse to take down their hallowed space, so when Annie moves in, they build her a pillow fort to live in.

She very obviously hates it, so they end up giving up their room and living in the pillow fort. (They do this instead of taking down The Dreamatorium. You have to love the childlike wonder of the pair.)

In the meanwhile, Jeff hates doing things for other people — especially helping them move. So he lies and tells everyone he’s sick.

However, he runs into the Dean at the mall. The Dean threatens to tell his friends unless Jeff spends the day with him. I personally think the Dean is a cutie, and his love for Jeff is both adorable and only slightly creepy.

They try on clothes, have food, and eventually get deeply into some karaoke.

The connections made during this episode make it a strong one.

Documentary Filmmaking: Redux: Season 3 Episode 8

This episode places the Dean at the hull. This is to say that everything is going to go awry.

He’s just trying to make a commercial for Greendale, and Abed is to direct. But then the Dean goes a little crazy and needs everything to be perfect. He has Jeff play as him, makes Troy and Britta hug awkwardly for hours, and blows way too much money on the project.

Throughout it all, Abed is pondering the filmmaker’s place in the documentary process. They’re supposed to be objective, but they have the most influence over the story, as they decide what parts they’re going to tell.

Abed wields this knowledge like a sword of righteousness and uses it to salvage the commercial. He creates a commercial from the footage he’s taken that paints the Dean as a competent and caring individual — not a diva.

The speculation about the place of the documentor, in an episode that’s a documentary format, is just…so good.

Contemporary Impressionists: Season 3 Episode 12

Did I mention Abed loves movies? You probably get that by now.

Abed loves movies so much that he has hired celebrity impersonators to re-enact scenes from movies with him. This costs a pretty penny. $3000, to be exact. The head of the impersonator agency tells the group that if he doesn’t get the $3000, he’ll break Abed’s legs.

This does not faze Abed in the slightest. His friends, on the other hand, agree to be celebrity impersonators at a bar mitzvah to clear Abed’s debts.

Jeff has also started seeing a new therapist, who’s prescribed him anti-anxiety medication. Jeff is constantly worried about how he looks and how others perceive him. He maintains a rigid diet, exercise, and skincare regime to meet the (essentially anxiety-driven) standards he’s created for himself.

But, without the anxiety, all you’re left with is a man with a massive ego who thinks he’s the best-looking guy in the world. And, throughout the episode, he does.

Eventually, he takes over this child’s bar mitzvah, making it about him. His head literally grows bigger throughout the episode. But when the child is named “Most Handsome Young Man,” he flies into a rage and leaves.

Abed’s debt is cleared, but when Troy comes home he finds that Abed has already hired another impersonator. Troy vouched for Abed, so he’s pretty mad. He tells Abed that he can’t do these kinds of things, that the group is not obligated to save him all the time.

Abed says okay. He goes to play in the Dreamatorium alone, where Evil Abed is waiting for him.

Digital Exploration of Interior Design: Season 3 Episode 13

Digital Exploration of Interior Design

This two-parter is impressive for two reasons: one, the strongest relationship in the series is tested. And two, Subway.

Troy and Abed are at it again with another pillow fort. The Dean tells them that they could potentially set a world record for the biggest pillow or blanket fort. Troy suggests adding blankets to get to the world record faster. But Abed won’t budge on his pillowy design. Troy feels inferior, and so confronts Abed about how they always use his ideas. 

They agree to go their separate ways, building two encampments: Pillowstown and Blanketsburg.

Away from this, Britta meets a boy (or a corporate humanoid, the jury’s still out.) He arrives as a Subway sandwich shop is being put into the school’s cafeteria.

The boy’s name is Subway — literally, it’s Subway.

He has contractually waived his humanity and becomes an embodiment of the Subway corporate entity. (A business can only be on campus if it’s run by students, so they enroll Subway as a student.)

Britta falls in love with Subway, and wants to release him from his morally binding contract with Subway. But when Subway discovers Subway (yeah, let that sit with you) fraternizing with a student, they take him away and replace him with someone new.

The show gives off a 1984 vibe.

When the new Subway comes, he looks Britta in the eye and says, “Hi, I’m Subway.” She says that he’s not, then turns and cries.

Subway — first they take our $5 footlongs, now this.

Pillows and Blankets: Season 3 Episode 14

Pillows and Blankets

The tension between Pillowtown and Blanketsburg is at an all-time high. The two encampments have been built out, coming to a metaphorical and physical head at the study room.

Someone launches a pillow at Troy’s encampment of Blanketsburg, and an all-out blanket/pillow fight breaks out in the study room. This signals war, and (to Jeff’s delight) classes end up getting canceled because of it.

The Dean begs Jeff to broker a peace agreement between the two, who are really best friends. But Jeff, being himself, doesn’t want to go back to having classes and gives each side an inspiring speech to destroy the other. 

They each come up with their own D-Day tactics, and it all comes to a head in the school cafeteria. The Dean bursts in and announces that the Guinness World Record man was fired, so this was now pointless.

Everyone disperses, except for Troy and Abed, who continue pillow fighting, because “it’s the last thing they’ll ever do together.” They think that because they disagreed once, they can’t be friends again.

Jeff tells them that their willingness to spend an eternity pillow-fighting just to be together means they’re still best friends and always will be.

It’s a disastrous, ridiculous episode, very Civil War style, with a heartwarming ending.

Virtual Systems Analysis: Season 3 Episode 16

This is another trippy episode that investigates the groups’ relationships, pushes forth new ones, and brings back The Darkest Timeline.

The group is cramming for their biology final, when Shirley suggests they break for lunch. Throughout most of the season, Troy and Britta had been getting closer, reaching that awkward point where you both like each other, and don’t know how to say it.

Annie helps the two along by forcing them into having lunch together. Abed’s not happy with it, as he and Troy were going to play in the Dreamatorium. So Annie suggests that she and Abed play together.

Abed doesn’t think she’s up for it. She, being a perfectionist, insists she can do it. They start with an Inspector Spacetime (think Doctor Who) scene. Annie does a horrible British accent, and Abed is out.

But he’s not really angry with her about the accent. He’s angry for setting up Troy and Britta, for tampering with the fabric of the group. He’s already gone over it in his head, and it doesn’t end well.

He tells her that’s what the Dreamatorium is for: It’s not just a playroom, but a place for him to create objective scenarios and analyze them to draw conclusions. Annie thinks it’s just his own meditations, and not at all possible.

He says it’s too complex for her, which she hates hearing. She ends up taking control of the Dreamatorium, and they land themselves in The Darkest Timeline. It’s terrifying.

Eventually, they get to the point where Abed can accept Troy’s new relationship, and he grows closer to Annie.

Moving through The Darkest Timeline is great. Too great for this post. Go watch it.

Introduction to Finality: Season 3 Episode 22

This is the best Community episode in season 3.

Throughout this season, Troy’s superior handyman capabilities have been flagged by the trade school within Greendale. (It’s also where most of Greendale’s funding goes because it’s honestly the most useful part of the school.)

Troy resisted it because once you are turned over to the trades, you never come back. He would be isolated, away from his friends, so he resisted.

But in the previous episode, he had to call in a favor from the HVAC school. They would only grant this favor if Troy enrolled in the HVAC program. And he did.

This episode starts with Troy entering the school. It’s very much a secret society. They have all the power, the power to make a room really hot or cold, to bring peace and destruction.

Troy is recognized as “The Truest Repairman” in the ancient HVAC scriptures. There is an incident in the HVAC school, where one handyman dies, and Troy grows suspicious.

The Vice Dean, who is the head of the HVAC school, allows Troy to return to his friends, which furthers his suspicion.

Troy then realizes that the Vice Dean killed that handyman, and challenges him to a battle in the “Sun Chamber.” Two people are each locked into a chamber. They both get increasingly warm, and you must repair your air conditioner to cool down or risk boiling.

The Truest Repairman repairs his air conditioner quickly, but then, realizing the insanity of it all, fixes the Vice Dean’s as well. He then suggests that his fellow handymen call the cops on the dude, you know, like normal people?

The mysterious ways of the HVAC school are what get me in this episode.

Basic Human Anatomy: Season 4 Episode 11

Basic Human Anatomy

Season four is weird: This is the one and only season that Dan Harmon was not involved in, and it was obvious. It was so obvious that he was rehired for the fifth season.

This episode is a classic spoof of Freaky Friday, and that’s why it’s one of the best episodes of Community’s season 6.

Troy and Britta had now been dating for a while, and are coming up on their one-year anniversary. Neither seemed thrilled about it, and their relationship appeared to be lukewarm.

They decided to go back to that first restaurant they went to (the one that Annie insisted they go to.)

Early on in the episode, Troy laments about how this is the three-year anniversary of the time he and Abed saw Freaky Friday. 

Yes, he remembered the anniversary of a movie he and Abed watched together and not his significant other’s anniversary.

Troy and Abed find a copy of Freaky Friday and try to do the switch thing, but it doesn’t work.

The next day, though, they do wake up in each other’s bodies. Throughout the episode, it’s revealed that Troy doesn’t really want to be in a relationship with Britta.

“Abed”(Abed in Troy’s body) is sitting with Britta at the restaurant, where he is prepared to break it off. But “Troy” (Troy in Abed’s body) realizes that he has to be the one to break it off, not Abed. 

So “Troy” runs to the restaurant, they do the body switch thing again, and Troy (in his own body) tells Britta that they should just be friends.

 It’s cool that “Abed” would break up with Britta for him. It’s also cool that Troy was able to do it himself.

It was a good spoof of a classic that actually served a function and carried the plot, and that’s why you’ve got to love it.

Geothermal Escapism: Season 5 Episode 5

Geothermal Escapism

This one is a heart wrenched, and that’s what makes it one of the best episodes of Community. It’s the episode where Donald Glover (who plays Troy) departs from the show to work on his music. 

Troy makes his exit in an odd way. (Big spoiler) Pierce dies and leaves Troy his boat, and a huge share of his company, on the condition that he sail around the world. Pierce was supposed to do it for his father, then didn’t, and thought Troy might be able to.

(Why was Pierce so fond of Troy? Troy crashed with Pierce for a while, and they had a good enough time.)

In this episode, Abed institutes a schoolwide game of “The Floor is Lava.” 

In an epic climax, Troy makes Abed understand that he has to let him go. Troy lets Abed know that they’re both going to be okay.

So Abed let’s go. Literally, they had been holding each other up on a ledge because, you know, the floor is lava. And, as we’re seeing through Abed’s point of view, there is actual lava, and Troy falls into it.

But as Abed realizes that everything will be fine, the lava dissipates.

Watching Troy leave hurt the souls of Community lovers everywhere. But it was a great departure episode.

Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television: Season 6 Episode 13

Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television

Speaking of great departure episodes: This is the last episode of Community.

Season six was kind of weird, Abed even commented that it was like the ninth season of Scrubs, the one no one was expecting, and that felt kind of broken.

I was glad the sixth season existed, but only half the cast was there, and Jeff became a teacher, and everything was just weird. 

But as far as series finales go, this was a good one.

In a nicely framed farewell episode, everyone is sitting at the bar where Britta works: the Dean, Chang, Annie, Britta, Abed, and Jeff.

Britta asks Abed what he thinks “season seven” will look like, both a question to be answered by his filmic mind, and to be answered by the show’s creators.

Everyone gives their “pitches” for what season seven should look like.

In the middle of all this, it’s revealed that Annie is going to Washington, D.C. for an internship with the FBI (all those crime spoof episodes really paid off, I suppose.) Abed is going to be a production assistant in California. And the “Save Greendale” committee (mostly made up so the group had a reason to still hang out) had been disbanded for the summer.

Jeff, now a teacher at the school, starts to spiral as he realizes that his friends will “grow up” and move away. And he’ll still be there. He pitches the idea that everyone else will come back and teach, but it’s not realistic.

He also tells Annie that he loves her. To this day, I still don’t know how I feel about this pairing. She’s leaving, so there’s not much they can do at this point. But she says, “Kiss me goodbye,” and he does.

At the end, Jeff drives Annie and Abed to the airport, where they say a tear-inducing goodbye. 

What is Community About?

Note: If you are already super into Community and know all the background knowledge, skip this section part.

The show starts as it is discovered that Jeff Winger, a callous lawyer with a knack for speeches, falsified his college degree. He is told that he can’t practice law until he gets some form of degree, so he decides to enroll in a Greendale community college.

While there, he meets a girl, Britta, in his Spanish class. He tells her that he’s great with Spanish and that she should study with him. Britta ends up bringing along an entire group to study for Spanish class, thinking that Jeff actually knows Spanish. It’s discovered that he doesn’t actually know Spanish, but the study group sticks anyway. The group is made up of: 

  • Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), an eclectic person obsessed with pop culture, at the community college, mostly at his parents’ will, for business; he’s later allowed to switch to film studies, his true passion
  • Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), a high school burnout out for her degree
  • Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), a middle-aged divorcee going to school for a business degree to help her open her own bakery
  • Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase), a sixty-something-year-old man who takes community college classes because, well, why not?
  • Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), a would-be college football star who enrolls in community college after an accidental injury (Or was it accidental?)
  • Annie Edison (Alison Brie), a perfectionist who would’ve gone to an Ivy league school, if not for a pill problem that sends her to rehab (she’s much more functional than she sounds in this description)
  • And Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), the shady not-lawyer

The show itself is both a silly sitcom and a deep commentary on pop culture and entertainment as we know it. Somehow, it manages to capture the lightness and security that we look for in sitcoms, but (for the most part) doesn’t get stale like other sitcoms can and eventually do. It also incorporates several pop culture references, entertainment formats, and serves as a meta-commentary on the role of entertainment in our lives. The show gets surreal and there are several times when I wonder if what I’m seeing on-screen is real at all. (You’ll see what I mean.)

Off-screen, the creators of the show have jumped through several hurdles to continue production. This includes the firing and subsequent rehiring of Dan Harmon, co-creator of Rick and Morty and originator of the eight-part story structure. It also includes a late-season network change, from NBC to Yahoo! Screen.

Six Seasons and a Movie

The characters in the show, throughout its entirety, said there was going to be “six seasons and a movie.” 

We’re still holding out for the Community movie.

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Bobby Bernstein
Bobby is the Co-Owner of Nerd Much?. He's the former Games Editor and current Shopping Editor at Heavy.com, former Editor in Chief of Den of Geek, and former bylines at HiConsumption, Slickdeals, Gamedeveloper.com, and more! He is also on Opencritic. He has been writing about nerdy stuff on the web for over 10 years. The best way to reach him is on Twitter.

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