Community (season 1)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||25|
|Original release||September 17, 2009 –|
May 20, 2010
The first season of the television comedy series Community originally aired from September 17, 2009 on NBC to May 20, 2010 in the United States. The first three episodes aired at 9:30 pm ET before being moved to 8:00 pm ET. The show was picked up for 22 episodes in October 2009, and an additional 3 episodes were ordered later.
- Joel McHale as Jeff Winger
- Gillian Jacobs as Britta Perry
- Danny Pudi as Abed Nadir
- Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley Bennett
- Alison Brie as Annie Edison
- Donald Glover as Troy Barnes
- Ken Jeong as Señor Ben Chang
- Chevy Chase as Pierce Hawthorne
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||1||"Pilot"||Anthony Russo & Joe Russo||Dan Harmon||September 17, 2009||100||7.89|
|Recently disbarred lawyer Jeffrey Winger (Joel McHale) is forced to attend Greendale Community College to redeem his illegitimate law degree, planning on exploiting his friendship with former client Dr. Ian Duncan (John Oliver) for test answers. He starts up a Spanish study group in order to score with attractive classmate Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), who invites her friend Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), who in turn invites classmates Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), Annie Edison (Alison Brie), Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), and Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase). After believing he has secured a date with Britta, Jeff stirs up conflict within the group in order to leave with her, only to be confronted by her about his ulterior motive. When he gives an inspirational speech to calm them down and finally go out with Britta, she reveals his true intentions and asks him to leave. Jeff storms out, only to find out the answers obtained from Dr. Duncan are actually blank. As he is leaving campus, Jeff runs into Pierce and Troy who are encouraged by his advice. Jeff resigns himself to flunking the test, but Britta, speaking for the group, reluctantly invites him back, saying the group didn't make much progress after his departure.|
|2||2||"Spanish 101"||Joe Russo||Dan Harmon||September 24, 2009||101||5.39|
|The Spanish students are paired to create simple dialogues; Jeff is stuck with Pierce after an attempt to be paired with Britta backfires. Shirley and Annie mount a student protest after Britta tells them of anti-journalist violence in Guatemala.|
|3||3||"Introduction to Film"||Anthony Russo||Tim Hobert & Jon Pollack||October 1, 2009||102||5.86|
|Jeff signs up for an "easy A" class taught by Professor Whitman (John Michael Higgins), where all they have to do is "seize the day" to receive an A. Though Jeff soon realizes it will not be as easy as it seems. Meanwhile, Britta helps Abed by paying for a course where he can study film. Abed's father is angered when he finds this out, and Abed creates a film documenting his life and how people do not understand him, including that he feels he is to blame for his mother's abandoning the family. His father is moved by his film and agrees to pay for his classes.|
|4||4||"Social Psychology"||Anthony Russo||Liz Cackowski||October 8, 2009||104||4.87|
|Jeff begins to bond with Shirley over their mutual distaste for Vaughn (Eric Christian Olsen), Britta's new boyfriend, a laid back hippie. However, in an effort to show that he and Britta could be friends, Jeff tries to refrain from making fun of Vaughn, but can't help himself from sharing a poem that Vaughn had written for Britta. The incident breaks up the relationship and brings up the question of dating and intimacy within the group. Meanwhile, Annie joins Professor Duncan in a psychology experiment that tests people's patience, which has Abed, Troy and Señor Chang (Ken Jeong) as test subjects.|
|5||5||"Advanced Criminal Law"||Joe Russo||Andrew Guest||October 15, 2009||105||5.01|
|Señor Chang discovers someone has cheated on their Spanish test, and will fail everyone unless the cheater comes forward within 24 hours. When Britta comes forward, Jeff represents her when she is facing expulsion for cheating. Meanwhile, Annie enlists Pierce to help write a new song for Greendale, Troy messes with Abed's gullibility and Abed tries to pay him back.|
|6||6||"Football, Feminism and You"||Joe Russo||Hilary Winston||October 22, 2009||103||5.18|
|The dean blackmails Jeff into convincing Troy to join Greendale's football team, over the objections of Annie. Shirley teaches Britta proper ladies room etiquette. Pierce and the dean devise a new school mascot, the Human Being.|
|7||7||"Introduction to Statistics"||Justin Lin||Tim Hobert & Jon Pollack||October 29, 2009||106||5.32|
|Annie hosts a Day of the Dead party for Halloween. Jeff hits on his statistics professor, which upsets Shirley but not Britta. At the party, Pierce has a bad trip and has to have Jeff and Abed help him.|
|8||8||"Home Economics"||Anthony Russo||Lauren Pomerantz||November 5, 2009||107||5.45|
|Jeff is kicked out of his condo and moves in with Abed temporarily, until Britta helps him move on and look for apartments. Annie helps Troy prepare for his date with a different girl. Pierce briefly joins Vaughn's band.|
|9||9||"Debate 109"||Joe Russo||Tim Hobert||November 12, 2009||109||5.09|
|The dean solicits Jeff to join Annie in a debate competition, where they will compete against star debater Jeremy Simmons to debate whether Man is intrinsically evil or good. Abed's latest student films show a prescient tendency that frightens Shirley. Pierce offers his services as a hypnotherapist to Britta in her attempts to stop smoking.|
|10||10||"Environmental Science"||Seth Gordon||Zach Paez||November 19, 2009||108||4.86|
|When Señor Chang assigns twenty pages of homework to the class due to the sadness of separating from his wife, Jeff tries to befriend him and help him get back with her. Pierce helps Shirley with her public speaking class. Abed and Troy work on a biology experiment.|
|11||11||"The Politics of Human Sexuality"||Anthony Russo||Hilary Winston||December 3, 2009||110||5.42|
|Annie and the Dean sponsor an STD-awareness fair. Britta and Shirley help Annie prepare for her big condom usage demonstration. Troy and Abed compete to see who is the better athlete. Jeff and Pierce go on a double date to the fair where Jeff learns that he is getting mature and is now not interested in shallow women anymore.|
|12||12||"Comparative Religion"||Adam Davidson||Liz Cackowski||December 10, 2009||111||5.51|
|Shirley plans a Christmas party for the study group, hoping to celebrate in her Christian ways, but learns everyone else is from a different religious background–Annie is Jewish, Abed is Muslim, Troy is a Jehovah's Witness, Britta is an atheist, Pierce is in an odd cult but believes that it is a Buddhist community, while Jeff is agnostic. Meanwhile, Jeff stands up to a bully named Mike (Anthony Michael Hall) that harasses Abed in the cafeteria. The study group comes to Jeff's defense when they fight Mike and his friends on the college campus. Later after the fight, the group celebrate the holidays and learn they all passed their Spanish final, meaning they will all move on to Spanish 102.|
|13||13||"Investigative Journalism"||Joe Russo||Jon Pollack & Tim Hobert||January 14, 2010||113||5.42|
|The group returns from their winter break, and realize a student named Buddy (Jack Black) has inserted himself into the study group. They must decide whether or not to allow him to stay. Meanwhile, Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) makes Jeff the new editor of the Greendale Gazette Journal, where Annie discovers a story about racial profiling in the school. Jeff tries to rebrand his persona as calm and laidback.|
|14||14||"Interpretive Dance"||Justin Lin||Lauren Pomerantz||January 21, 2010||112||4.73|
|Jeff tries to keep his relationship with Professor Slater (Lauren Stamile) a secret from the group, but they eventually discover the truth. Meanwhile, Britta and Troy try to keep a secret from the group that they are taking dance lessons. Chaos ensues when the group learns about the secrets.|
|15||15||"Romantic Expressionism"||Joe Russo||Andrew Guest||February 4, 2010||115||5.23|
|Britta and Jeff conspire to break up Vaughn and Annie by attempting to reignite her feelings for Troy. Meanwhile, Pierce tries to get some genuine laughs during Troy and Abed's bad film night.|
|16||16||"Communication Studies"||Adam Davidson||Chris McKenna||February 11, 2010||116||5.15|
|On Valentines Day, Britta gets drunk and leaves an embarrassing message for Jeff which causes Abed to point out that Britta has lost her power and that Jeff needs to leave her an equally embarrassing message so she can get it back. Annie and Shirley try to pull a prank on Señor Chang after he embarrasses Troy and Pierce during class.|
|17||17||"Physical Education"||Anthony Russo||Jessie Miller||March 4, 2010||118||5.06|
|Jeff eagerly anticipates his billiards class, but his hopes fall down when he discovers that the instructor demands the use of clothing that, in Jeff's opinion, are not fitting into his style, which turns into a battle between the instructor and Jeff. The girls find a passionate sketch in a Spanish textbook resembling Abed's face, and they happily begin to search for the author of the book, while testing Abed's skills regarding relationships with women, with humorous but intriguing results.|
|18||18||"Basic Genealogy"||Ken Whittingham||Karey Dornetto||March 11, 2010||117||4.70|
|During Family Day at Greendale, Pierce tries to re-connect with his step-daughter Amber (guest star Katharine McPhee) who becomes attracted to Jeff. Britta gets caned by Troy's nana and Shirley's sons cause havoc for Abed's father.|
|19||19||"Beginner Pottery"||Anthony Russo||Hilary Winston||March 18, 2010||114||5.21|
|Jeff signs up for an easy pottery credit taught by a man (Tony Hale) with only one rule: no re-enactments of the pottery love scene from Ghost; however, the class becomes complicated by Jeff's obsession with proving one talented classmate is a ringer. Shirley and others sign up for a boating class taught by Admiral Slaughter (Lee Majors) in the school parking lot, but find land-boating harder than it sounds.|
|20||20||"The Science of Illusion"||Adam Davidson||Zach Paez||March 25, 2010||122||5.07|
|Britta pulls an April Fools prank that backfires on her. Annie and Shirley become on-campus security guards with both fighting to be the "bad cop."|
|21||21||"Contemporary American Poultry"||Tristram Shapeero||Emily Cutler & Karey Dornetto||April 22, 2010||123||3.67|
|Jeff's plan to get chicken fingers from the school cafeteria for the study group quickly evolves into a mafia film-style endeavor with Abed calling all the shots. The episode features several cultural references from mobster films such as Goodfellas and The Godfather.|
|22||22||"The Art of Discourse"||Adam Davidson||Chris McKenna||April 29, 2010||124||4.36|
|Shirley gets Pierce kicked out the study group, Jeff and Britta plot revenge on a group of high schoolers who make fun of them for attending community college, and Troy helps Abed accomplish some of his film-clichéd social goals.|
|23||23||"Modern Warfare"||Justin Lin||Emily Cutler||May 6, 2010||119||4.35|
|After the Dean announces the prize for a friendly game of paintball, Greendale sinks into a state of all-out paintball war, with every student battling for supremacy. During the chaos, Jeff's study group teams up in order to last longer in the game. Meanwhile, Jeff and Britta finally act on their previously unresolved sexual tension, though the group does not find out.|
|24||24||"English as a Second Language"||Gail Mancuso||Tim Hobert||May 13, 2010||120||4.49|
|Señor Chang reveals to Jeff that he does not have a teaching degree and asks him where he got his. The conversation is inadvertently recorded by Annie, who records all classes for taking notes. When Dean Pelton finds out, Chang is replaced by another, much stricter professor who has the class take a much harder Spanish final. Meanwhile, Troy discovers he has a natural talent for fixing plumbing, and must ward off a persistent maintenance worker (Jerry Minor), who wants him to use his talent to become a plumber. As everyone faces the fact that they will have to retake Spanish, Jeff realizes that Annie was the one who turned in Chang, remembering that she records every class, and Chang's confession. As everyone shuns her, she tries to redeem herself by making things better with Chang, who finds that his life is better for it, and she helps everyone study for, and pass the final.|
|25||25||"Pascal's Triangle Revisited"||Joe Russo||Hilary Winston||May 20, 2010||121||4.41|
|After Britta is nominated for queen of the Transfer Dance, Professor Slater admits to Jeff that she misses him and wants to get back together. Troy's dad asks him to move out of the house, and Troy begins hoping to move in with Abed, although Abed rejects the idea. The next day, at the Transfer Dance, Pierce offers Troy a place to live, but he still wants to live with Abed. Abed later explains to him that their personalities would clash if they roomed together and they would "jump the shark". Annie reveals to the group that Vaughn has been selected for a competitive Hacky Sack team in Delaware and will be leaving for the summer, but she secretly tells Jeff that the move is permanent and she will not be coming back to Greendale. In a separate storyline, Chang plans to beat up Duncan, who mocked him for being fired when Chang turned to Duncan for help cheating his way to re-obtaining his degree. Chang however cannot go through with the beating, since he would be expelled for hitting a member of the Greendale staff. At the dance, however, Duncan becomes drunk and broadcasts Dean Pelton's "dalmatian fetish", resulting in Duncan's suspension. Chang seizes the opportunity and punches him in the face with a roll of quarters. During the dance, Britta publicly professes her love to Jeff. Professor Slater then makes the same statement. Jeff, unsure how to respond, leaves the dance only to bump into Annie who changed her mind about leaving. After the two each share their respective conflicted emotions, Annie gives Jeff a small kiss, and Jeff responds with a bigger one as the two embrace.|
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 "Dan's script... 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 film Election. Originally the producers were looking for a Latina or Asian Tracy Flick. 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 film, 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.
The show's reviews for season 1 have been mostly positive, scoring a 69 out of 100 with critics on Metacritic. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 90% with an average score of 7.5 out of 10 based on 42 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Snarky and fast-paced with a surprisingly tender undercurrent and an engaging cast, Community is one of the best new comedies of the season."
Notably, David Bushman (Curator, Television) of the Paley Center for Media called Community the best new show of the fall season. Jonah Krakow of IGN gave the first season an 8.5 saying "Given the way Community eventually ramped up and delivered some amazing stories in the second half of the season, I'm extremely excited about what's to come for Season 2."
Awards and nominations
- The show received a nomination for "Favorite New TV Comedy" at the 36th People's Choice Awards.
- Justin Lin received a nomination for "Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series" at the 41st NAACP Image Awards for "Introduction to Statistics".
The first season averaged 5 million viewers with a 2.4 rating in the 18–49 demographic and ranked #97 for the season.
The first season of Community was released on DVD on September 21, 2010. The DVD contains all 25 episodes on four discs plus special features. Special features on the DVD include:
- Commentary on every episode. Participants include creator Dan Harmon; cast members Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong and Chevy Chase; directors Anthony Russo, Joe Russo and Adam Davidson; and writers Andrew Guest, Lauren Pomerantz, Hilary Winston, Karey Dornetto, Chris McKenna and Emily Cutler.
- Season one cast evaluations
- Season one highlight reel
- "Creative Compromises" featurette
- "Advanced Criminal Law" alternative scenes
- Three mini episodes
- "Kickpuncher" comic book
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