Community title card
|Created by||Dan Harmon|
Yvette Nicole Brown
with Ken Jeong
and Chevy Chase
|Theme music composer||The 88|
|Opening theme||"At Least It Was Here"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||19 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Gary Foster
|Location(s)||Los Angeles City College, California
|Camera setup||Single camera|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Krasnoff Foster Entertainment,
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television
Universal Media Studios
|Original run||September 17, 2009– present|
Community is an American comedy series currently airing on NBC about students at a community college in Denver, Colorado. The series premiered on September 17, 2009, and currently airs in the 8:00 pm ET time slot. It was previously in the 9:30 pm ET time slot, beginning with its debut, but later relocated as of the fourth episode. The show is a joint-venture production between Universal Media Studios and Sony Pictures Television. The series pilot premiered on Facebook where it was viewable for a limited time. It has since been available on Amazon Video on Demand, the video-on-demand service for PlayStation 3, and Hulu.
On March 5, 2010, Community was renewed for a second season.
Community centers on Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), a suspended lawyer who is back in school after his college degree is deemed invalid by the State Bar. The show focuses on Jeff's experiences attending fictional Greendale Community College in Greendale, Colorado, and the people he meets there. He has an obvious crush on Britta (Gillian Jacobs), a female student trying to get her life back on track, and receives perplexing life lessons from Pierce (Chevy Chase), an aged moist-towelette tycoon who has been married seven times.
Supporting characters and study group members include Abed (Danny Pudi), a film student, Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), a recently divorced mother attending college for the first time, former high school quarterback Troy (Donald Glover), and straight-laced nerd Annie (Alison Brie), who has had an unrequited crush on Troy since high school. Also recurring is unbalanced Spanish instructor Señor Ben Chang (Ken Jeong), psychology professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver), whom Jeff represented for a DUI, and the overwhelmed Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), who desperately wants his school to be more like a real university and goes to strenuous and excessive lengths to seem politically correct.
The show revolves around the on-campus exploits of seven students who are connected through their Spanish study group at Greendale Community College. The series also features several recurring characters who are students and teachers at Greendale.
The first season premiered on September 17, 2009 in the 9:30 PM ET timeslot. After three episodes, the show was moved to the 8:00 PM ET timeslot. In October 2009, it was announced that the show had been picked up for a full twenty-two episode season. In January 2010, NBC ordered an additional three episodes for the first season, extending it to a total of 25 episodes. On March 5, 2010, NBC announced that Community was renewed for a second season.
In addition to the regular episodes, NBC produced a series of webisodes, the newest ones are of Abed copying his friends' lives and turning them into student films. These webisodes are featured on the front page of the Greendale Community College website on the AV Department page.
Dan Harmon emphasized the importance of the cast to making the premise of the comedy work. "Casting was 95 percent of putting the show together," he said in an interview. He had worked with several of the cast members earlier; Joel McHale, John Oliver, and Chevy Chase all had cameo roles in episode 9 of Water and Power, the short film series produced by Harmon for Channel 101. Actor Chevy Chase had long been a favorite of Harmon. Though principally not very partial to sitcoms, Chase was persuaded to take the job by the quality of the show's writing. Harmon saw similarities between Chase and the character he plays on the show. Though Chase has often been ridiculed for his career choices, Harmon believed this role could be redeeming: "What makes Chevy and Pierce heroic is this refusal to stop." Harmon had to warn Chase against playing a "wise-ass" the way he often does in his roles, since the character of Pierce is a rather pathetic figure who is normally the butt of the joke himself.
McHale, known from the E! comedy talk show The Soup, was also (like Chase) impressed by Harmon's writing. He commented that "after reading Dan's script it was so head and shoulders above everything else that I was reading." McHale appealed to Harmon because of his likeable quality, which allowed the character to possess certain unsympathetic traits without turning the viewer against him. For the role of Annie, Harmon wanted someone who would resemble Tracy Flick, Reese Witherspoon's character from the 1999 movie Election. Originally the producers were looking for a Latina or Asian Tracy Flick, for greater diversity, but could not find any. Instead they ended up casting Alison Brie, known from her role as Trudy Campbell on Mad Men.
The premise of Community was based on Harmon's real-life experiences. In an attempt to save his relationship with his then-girlfriend, he enrolled in Glendale Community College northeast of Los Angeles, where they would take Spanish together. Harmon got involved in a study group and, somewhat against his own instincts, became closely connected to the group of people with whom he had very little in common. "...I was in this group with these knuckleheads and I started really liking them," he explains, "even though they had nothing to do with the film industry and I had nothing to gain from them and nothing to offer them." With this as the background, Harmon wrote the show with a main character largely based on himself. He had, like Jeff, been self-centered and independent to the extreme before he realized the value of connecting with other people.
About the creative process behind the writing, Harmon says that he had to write the show as if it were a movie, not a sitcom. Essentially, he says, the process was no different from the earlier work he had done, except for the length and the target demographic.
Filming the show involved a lot of improvisation, particularly from Chevy Chase. About Chase, Harmon said that he "tends to come up with lines that you can actually end scenes with sometimes." He also mentioned Joel McHale and Donald Glover, the actor who portrays Troy, as adept improvisers.
The show's general reviews have been mostly positive, scoring a 69 out of 100 with critics on Metacritic and a 8.0/10 with viewers. Notably, David Bushman (Curator, Television) of the Paley Center for Media called Community the best new show of the fall season.
Premiering in the 9:30pm ET spot on the evening of Thursday, September 17, the pilot episode had a viewership of 7.680 million. In the 18-49 audience, it had a rating of 3.7. As such, it held 93% of this audience from The Office, which had been in the previous time slot. The show was called the "bright spot for the night" for NBC, seeing how The Office was down 18% from the previous year's premiere, while Parks and Recreation, in the preceding time slot, was down 30%.
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Community.
|Season||Episodes||Timeslot (EST)||Original Airing||Rank||Viewers
|Season premiere||Season finale||TV season|
(September 17, 2009–October 1, 2009)
(October 8, 2009–present)
|September 17, 2009||May 20, 2010||2009–10||TBA||5.9 (to date)|