|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Original release||September 22, 2011 –|
May 17, 2012
The third season of the television comedy series Community premiered on September 22, 2011, and concluded on May 17, 2012, on NBC. The season consists of 22 episodes and aired on Thursdays at 8:00 pm ET as part of the network's "Comedy Night Done Right" programming block.
- 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
- Jim Rash as Dean Craig Pelton
- Ken Jeong as Sergeant Ben Chang
- Chevy Chase as Pierce Hawthorne
- Richard Erdman as Leonard Briggs
- Erik Charles Nielsen as Garrett Lambert
- Dino Stamatopoulos as Alex "Star-Burns" Osbourne
- John Goodman as Vice Dean Robert Laybourne
- Danielle Kaplowitz as Vicki Jenkins
- Luke Youngblood as Magnitude
- Dan Bakkedahl as Murray the AC Repairman
- Charley Koontz as Neil
- J. P. Manoux as Faux-by
- Mel Rodriguez as Sgt. Nunez
- Michael K. Williams as Biology Professor Marshall Kane
- Jerry Minor as Jerry the Janitor
- Eddie Pepitone as Crazy Schmidt
- David Neher as Todd Jacobson
- Larry Cedar as Cornelius Hawthorne
- Craig Cackowski as Officer Cackowski
- Wil Garret as Harry Jefferson
- Rob Corddry as Alan Connor ("Introduction to Finality")
- Keith David as Narrator ("Pillows and Blankets")
- Giancarlo Esposito as Gilbert Lawson ("Digital Estate Planning")
- Kirk Fox as Blade, Britta's carnie ex-boyfriend ("Origins of Vampire Mythology")
- Irene Choi as Annie Kim ("Geography of Global Conflict")
- Jeff Garlin as himself ("Documentary Filmmaking: Redux")
- Luis Guzmán as himself ("Documentary Filmmaking: Redux")
- Leslie Hendrix as Botanist ("Basic Lupine Urology"), a play on her role as a medical examiner in the Law & Order franchise the episode is styled upon
- John Hodgman as Dr. Heidi ("Curriculum Unavailable")
- Michael Ironside as Colonel Archwood ("Basic Lupine Urology")
- David St. James as Professor Albrecht ("Curriculum Unavailable")
- Taran Killam as Cory "Mr. Rad" Radison ("Regional Holiday Music")
- Marcy McCusker as Quendra ("Basic Lupine Urology")
- Meggie McFadden as Linda Greene ("Digital Exploration of Interior Design" uncredited cameo)
- Dominik Musiol as Pavel Iwaszkiewicz ("Documentary Filmmaking: Redux")
- D.J. "Shangela" Pierce as Miss Urbana Champaign ("Advanced Gay")
- DC Pierson as Mark Millot ("Digital Exploration of Interior Design" uncredited cameo)
- Travis Schuldt as Subway / Rick ("Digital Exploration of Interior Design")
- Martin Starr as Professor Cligoris ("Geography of Global Conflict")
- French Stewart as Vinnie, a former French Stewart look-alike ("Contemporary Impressionists")
- Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Andre Bennett ("Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts")
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|50||1||"Biology 101"||Anthony Russo||Garrett Donovan & Neil Goldman||September 22, 2011||301||3.93|
|The study group decides to take a biology class together, but Pierce who has rejoined the group faces problems when only six seats are available in the class. Jeff quickly makes enemies with their professor (Michael K. Williams) and is removed from the class. Pierce takes his place and Jeff realizes what it is like to be excluded. Dean Pelton, meanwhile, finds a new rival in Vice Dean Laybourne (John Goodman), the dean of the renowned Air Conditioning Repair Annex in the process of transforming Greendale’s management.|
|51||2||"Geography of Global Conflict"||Joe Russo||Andy Bobrow||September 29, 2011||302||3.98|
|A Model UN competition introduces Annie to a new frenemy Annie Kim; Jeff and the rest of the group try to help her win and Annie has a big tantrum in the process. Britta goes head to head with Campus Security Officer Chang, as they both try to fulfill their own fantasies through foolish conflict. While Chang wants his job to be taken more seriously, Britta wants to be tough again.|
|52||3||"Competitive Ecology"||Anthony Russo||Maggie Bandur||October 6, 2011[a]||304||3.35|
|While the gang pairs off to build a terrarium, the seven group members have to include an outsider in order to make even pairs and the friendships are tested. Chang relishes his imaginary role as a noir detective and ends up causing a lot of damage.|
|53||4||"Remedial Chaos Theory"||Jeff Melman||Chris McKenna||October 13, 2011||303||3.78|
|Troy and Abed's housewarming party turns into a surreal, post-modern world with parallel realities; each reality showing the effect on the study group of one character's absence from it (e.g. without Troy the group descend into chaos; without Jeff the group has fun). Nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and the Hugo Award for Best Short Form Dramatic Presentation.|
|54||5||"Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps"||Tristram Shapeero||Dan Harmon||October 27, 2011||305||3.42|
|In order to determine the odd man out of the group (who, in this case, is apparently a sociopath), Britta conducts a search by having the gang tell scary stories.|
|55||6||"Advanced Gay"||Joe Russo||Matt Murray||November 3, 2011||306||3.84|
|Pierce is excited about a party he's throwing to celebrate his business success, but the affair becomes very different when his elderly father arrives.|
|56||7||"Studies in Modern Movement"||Tristram Shapeero||Adam Countee||November 10, 2011||307||3.49|
|The group tries to help Annie move in with Troy and Abed but things go awry when she becomes frustrated by their lifestyle; Dean Pelton blackmails Jeff into spending the afternoon with him.|
|57||8||"Documentary Filmmaking: Redux"||Joe Russo||Megan Ganz||November 17, 2011||308||3.62|
|Dean Pelton is asked by the school board to film a new commercial for Greendale; Abed films all the activities for a documentary.|
|58||9||"Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism"||Anthony Russo||Chris Kula||December 1, 2011||309||3.74|
|Jeff and Shirley spend time together playing foosball. After Annie breaks Abed's special edition DVD of The Dark Knight, she covers it up by staging a robbery.|
|59||10||"Regional Holiday Music"||Tristram Shapeero||Steve Basilone & Annie Mebane||December 8, 2011||311||3.60|
|Greendale's choir director (Taran Killam) asks the study group to fill in at the holiday pageant after the glee club is unable to attend.|
|60||11||"Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts"||Kyle Newacheck||Vera Santamaria||March 15, 2012||312||4.75|
|Andre re-proposes to Shirley. Britta and Annie quickly begin making arrangements for the wedding. Jeff must write a speech, and Troy and Abed attempt to become "normal" for the wedding. Pierce and Shirley try to get a sandwich shop installed in the cafeteria.|
|61||12||"Contemporary Impressionists"||Kyle Newacheck||Alex Cooley||March 22, 2012||310||3.87|
|Jeff begins experiencing extreme narcissism. The group helps Abed get rid of debt by impersonating various celebrities at a bar mitzvah.|
|62||13||"Digital Exploration of Interior Design"||Dan Eckman||Chris McKenna||March 29, 2012||313||3.48|
|A new Subway shop opens in the cafeteria and Shirley, Pierce, and Britta attempt to shut it down. Vice Dean Laybourne returns to try to win Troy over. Troy and Abed build competing blanket/pillow forts.|
|63||14||"Pillows and Blankets"||Tristram Shapeero||Andy Bobrow||April 5, 2012||314||3.00|
|Presented in the style of Ken Burns' documentary, The Civil War: What starts as a casual disagreement over pillows and blankets soon blossoms into all-out war on the Greendale campus. While insults are hurled and the study group choose loyalties, Jeff tries to negotiate a truce, but with neither Abed nor Troy budging on their principles or real estate, the future looks grim for the duo's friendship.|
|64||15||"Origins of Vampire Mythology"||Steven Tsuchida||Dan Harmon||April 12, 2012||315||3.09|
|The carnival comes into town and Britta enlists the help of the study group to keep her away from her ex. Vice Dean Laybourne and Dean Pelton band together to try to woo Troy to the Air Conditioning Repair Annex.|
|65||16||"Virtual Systems Analysis"||Tristram Shapeero||Matt Murray||April 19, 2012||316||2.77|
|When a final exam is postponed, Annie talks Abed into letting her spend some time in the dreamatorium, where an innocent simulation turns into an examination of the study group.|
|66||17||"Basic Lupine Urology"||Rob Schrab||Megan Ganz||April 26, 2012||317||3.21|
|In a homage to Law & Order, the study group investigate a crime when someone sabotages their biology experiment. When they discover the perp, Annie plans on prosecuting them to the fullest extent of Greendale's Code of Conduct.|
|67||18||"Course Listing Unavailable"||Tristram Shapeero||Tim Saccardo||May 3, 2012||318||3.20|
|Starburns suddenly dies and Britta insists on counseling the group using her skills from psychology class, despite nobody grieving him. This predictably fails and when the group finds out their biology credit is invalid, their attendance of their fallen classmate's wake quickly goes awry. Meanwhile Chang takes over campus and has the study group expelled.|
|68||19||"Curriculum Unavailable"||Adam Davidson||Adam Countee||May 10, 2012||319||2.99|
|When Abed becomes convinced that Dean Pelton has been replaced by an impostor, he is required to see a therapist (John Hodgman), who attempts to convince the group that they have been experiencing a shared psychosis and Greendale is actually a mental institution. This leads to the group to recall the stranger activities and events that took place at Greendale through a series of flashbacks.|
|69||20||"Digital Estate Planning"||Adam Davidson||Matt Warburton||May 17, 2012||322||2.97|
|Pierce is summoned to Hawthorne Enterprises to discuss his inheritance with his deceased father's former right-hand man, Gilbert Lawson (Giancarlo Esposito). The study group goes with him for moral support and must all pitch in to play the video game of their life on Pierce's behalf – or risk losing his inheritance. Most of the episode is animated like a pixel-art video game.|
|70||21||"The First Chang Dynasty"||Jay Chandrasekhar||Matt Fusfeld & Alex Cuthbertson||May 17, 2012||320||2.61|
|When Chang gains control of Greendale's campus, the study group forms a plot to take back the school. Troy seeks help at the Air Conditioning Repair Annex.|
|71||22||"Introduction to Finality"||Tristram Shapeero||Steve Basilone & Annie Mebane||May 17, 2012||321||2.48|
|Jeff and Alan (Rob Corddry) battle in court as opposing counsel in Pierce and Shirley's sandwich shop case. Vice Dean Laybourne continues to win over Troy to the Air Conditioning Repair School.|
The series was renewed for a third season on March 17, 2011. Filming for the season began on July 25, 2011. Jim Rash, who portrays Dean Pelton, was promoted to a series regular after having a recurring role throughout the first two seasons. Michael K. Williams was cast as the study group's new biology professor, who is described as a deeply intense character. John Goodman appears in a multi-episode arc as Vice Dean Laybourne, the head of Greendale's air conditioning repair school, and is a foe for Dean Pelton. Martin Starr guest starred in the second episode of the season as a political science professor and project advisor when the study group take a Model UN class; with Starr possibly returning later in the season. Larry Cedar appeared in the sixth episode as Cornelius Hawthorne, the patriarch of the Hawthorne family and Pierce's father. In the same episode, Jerry Minor returned as the Greendale custodian who previously appeared in "English as a Second Language" and "For a Few Paintballs More". The season's Christmas-themed episode is a musical featuring all original music, with the storyline being the study group having to fill in for the school's glee club. The episode also features a guest appearance by Saturday Night Live cast member Taran Killam. Giancarlo Esposito appeared in "Digital Estate Planning" as Gilbert, a man who Pierce is surprised to learn was a longtime employee for his late, very racist father, and the study group needs to work with Gilbert and Pierce on an issue regarding Cornelius' Hawthorne's last will and testament. The character of Star-Burns is killed off in episode 17 of the season, as portrayer of the character Dino Stamatopoulos simply asked for it to happen. Stamatopoulos also serves as a consulting producer and writer for the series, so he wanted to focus on his main job, as he explained "I'm not an actor". Series creator Dan Harmon explained Star-Burns' death is "not just thrown away", but "triggers the rest of the entire season. Filming of the season concluded in mid-February 2012.
Dan Harmon planned on making the third season more cohesive than the previous, with more connectivity between the storylines of the episodes, as well as to make the show more grounded, with somewhat fewer themed episodes. Harmon also planned out the characters' storylines for the entire season. Explaining the theme of the third season, and Jeff's journey for the season, Harmon says, "Season 3 is about the price that you pay when you figure out that you love a group of people. That's it in a nutshell. It's about the high cost of valuing people other than yourself, and that's the path that Jeff has been on. The third chapter for him is going to be the toughest of all. When you love people, their pain is your pain. Nobody likes having to deal with hassles more than Jeff Winger, and nobody's going to have to deal with more this year."
On November 14, 2011, NBC announced that they were removing Community from their mid-season schedule to make room for 30 Rock, which returned to Thursday nights. On February 21, 2012, it was announced that the series would return on March 15, 2012.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 92% with an average score of 8.3 out of 10 based on 24 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Greendale study group take some of their boldest swings – though not all connect – in this freewheeling third season that nevertheless continues Community's streak as the gold standard for fiendishly clever television."
- The episode listing is the broadcast order. Episodes 3 and 4, and 11 and 12 were switched around in their original broadcast, but appear in production and chronological order on all home media releases.
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