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Top Ten Episodes of ‘Community’

It’s shocking that I didn’t watch Community earlier considering how great it is. The show is incredible, paying homage to many genres through brilliant writing, editing, and direction. While the premise of the show remains the same, every episode has a different feel to it. From a claymation Christmas episode to an action-packed paintball episode, Community exhibits a wide variety of genres.

I don’t know why I never came across this show earlier, but I’m glad I have now. If you don’t already know, Community is about a group of friends going to community college. It’s that simple. But still funny with truly great emotional moments. Since then, I have rewatched the show, or at least a lot of the episodes, and have compiled a list of my favorites. So, here it is:

10. Pascal’s Triangle Revisited (1×25)

(from left) Jeff (played by Joel McHale), Britta (played by Gillian Jacobs), and Professor Michelle Slater (played by Lauren Stamile) with Britta and Michelle touching Jeff's face

Coming in at number ten is the season one finale, “Pascal’s Triangle Revisited”. In this episode, Britta and professor Slater (Jeff’s ex) fight over Jeff while Troy tries to get Abed to change his mind about becoming roommates. And honestly, the ending makes it even better.

9. Cooperative Calligraphy (2×08)

(from left) Jeff (played by Joel McHale), Troy (played by Donald Glover), Britta (played by Gillian Jacobs), Shirley (played by Yvette Nicole Brown), Abed (played by Danny Glover), and Annie (played by Alison Brie) all sitting around on the floor other than Pierce, who's in his wheelchair, with the room destroyed (desks on its side, pens, scissors, and more school supplies scattered on the floor)

You ever get mad at people for stealing your pen in class? Well, “Cooperative Calligraphy” took that concept to somewhat of an extreme when Annie gets mad that someone keeps taking her pens. The result? Everyone getting stripped-searched and destroying the study room, only to find that no one has the pen. Well, other than Annie’s Boobs (the monkey – yes, there’s a monkey. And yes, Troy named him Annie’s Boobs).

8. Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps (3×05)

(from left) Shirley (played by Yvette Nicole Brown), Jeff (played by Joel McHale), Abed (played by Danny Pudi), Britta (played by Gillian Jacobs), Annie (played by Alison Brie), Pierce (played by Chevy Chase), and Troy (played by Donald Glover) all looking at the psych eval test results Britta gave them on the study room table

Britta’s journey into becoming a psych major is undoubtedly an odd choice and this episode is just one example of why. She doesn’t just jump to conclusions but she has the tendency to “Britta”, or screw, things up. In “Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps”, Britta’s trying to figure out who in their group may have homicidal tendencies. And she thinks someone does because someone’s results of a psych test told hers so. Or so she thought. Turns out she just “Britta-ed” it.

7. Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas

(from left) Pierce dressed as a teddy bear (played by Chevy Chase), Troy dressed as a toy soldier (played by Donald Glover), Britta dressed as a robot (played by Gillian Jacobs), and Annie dressed as a ballerina (played by Alison Brie), all in claymation

The fact that Community pulled off an episode that was almost all claymation is impressive enough. If there’s anything we’ve learned throughout the entirety of this show, it’s that Abed sees the world differently than everyone else. In this episode, we finally get to see that world through Abed’s eyes, as he’s the only one who sees everyone in claymation. And it was worth it.

6. Geothermal Escapism (5×05)

Right after Pierce’s death, he leaves Troy his remaining shares of his family’s wipes company (about $14 million). But it’s contingent on him sailing around the world on his boat, meaning he has to leave. “Geothermal Escapism” is the metaphorical send-off of Donald Glover leaving the show. Before saying goodbye, Abed gets the whole school to play Hot Lava. Whoever wins gets one of Abed’s mint-condition comics, valued at $50,000. Much like their school-wide game of paintball, everyone goes all-in but Abed wants the game to last forever. If the game doesn’t stop, Troy won’t leave. But Troy and Britta help him get over his separation anxiety and eventually, everyone says goodbye to Troy.

5. Modern Warfare (1×23)

Abed (played by Danny Pudi) wearing goggles and camo clothing st rapped with paint beakers in a sideway sling

Playing a school-wide game of paintball becomes somewhat of an annual tradition at Greendale. At first, it was just supposed to be a friendly game of paintball but after Dean Pelton announces the prize, everyone becomes super competitive. The prize, of course, being priority registration for next semester’s classes.

4. Cooperative Polygraphy (5×04)

(from left) Shirley (played by Yvette Nicole Brown), Britta (played by Gillian Jacobs), Troy (played by Donald Glover), Mr. Stone (played by Walton Goggins), Annie (played by Alison Brie), Abed (played by Danny Pudi), and Jeff (played by Joel McHale) sitting around a booth inside a bar.

The fact that the cast recently reunited to do a table read for this episode means that it was a pretty great episode. The Community gang had graduated and all decided to go back to school at Greendale. By the end of the third episode, Shirley informs us that Pierce died. In this episode, Pierce’s attorney has everyone take a polygraph to determine if someone killed him.

3. Digital Estate Planning (3×20)

In cartoon video game style, (from left) Jeff (played by Joel McHale), Annie (played by Alison Brie), Troy (played by Donald Glover), Abed (played by Danny Pudi), and Shirley (played by Yvette Nicole Brown) in a pixelated version of the study room

As someone that grew up playing video games, this episode was just a fun one to watch. Pierce needs to beat this game to gain access to his inheritance and his friends help along the way. In addition to that, they’re going up against Gilbert, who not only already knows how to play (and cheat his way through) the game but also turns out to be Pierce’s half-brother. Just hearing Troy yell out “He’s shooting lightning and I’m naked!” is worth it.

2. Basic Lupine Urology (3×17)

(From left) Troy (played by Donald Glover), Abed (played by Danny Pudi), Jeff (played by Joel McHale) and Annie (played by Alison Brie)

Now that I’ve finished watching all 21 seasons of SVU during quarantine, I can only appreciate this episode even more. Someone “kills” their yam, which was their science project, and Annie, being Annie, doesn’t want to just get a passing grade. And honestly, I wouldn’t either if I knew I could’ve gotten an A. So, the gang investigates SVU-style, trying to find the “killer”. Even before I binge-watched SVU, this episode is just one that I keep finding myself watching again from time to time.

1. Remedial Chaos Theory (3×04)

(From left) Shirley (played by Yvette Nicole Brown), Abed (played by Danny Pudi), Britta (played by Gillian Jacobs), Jeff (played by Joel McHale), Troy (played by Donald Glover), Annie (played by Alison Brie), and Pierce (played by Chevy Chase) sitting around a circular table playing "Noes Goes".

At the number one spot is what I think is the obvious choice: Remedial Chaos Theory. In this one, Troy and Abed invite the gang to their new apartment for their housewarming party. Conflict arises when someone needs to go get pizza downstairs. Then, Jeff proposes a plan, a conniving one, but a plan nonetheless; he throws a dice and whoever’s number it lands on (one to six from left to right) will be the designated pizza-getter. Thus creating six different timelines, according to Abed, and we then see how each one plays out.

And that concludes my top ten episodes of Community. Tweet me @mzsnguyenthai or comment below what your favorite episodes are!

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