TV-PG. NBC. Season 1, 25 Episodes. Created by Dan Harmon. Cast: Chevy Chase, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong.

Now, I had heard there was a new show on TV called “Community” but honestly the only thing that sparked any interest at first was that Chevy Chase was in it,  (the rest of the cast are mostly new-comers). When I finally got round to watching it, I was completely hooked by the first episode. Yes, Chevy Chase is great in it, but I have found this show to be one of the smartest and funniest comedies on television that I have ever seen. And it’s just gotten started.

Community is centered around the lives of 7 students who attend Greendale Community College in Colorado. The main character is Jeff Winger (a dry and witty Joel McHale) who is a suspended lawyer forced back into school after his college degree is deemed invalid by the State Bar.

The show focuses on his experiences at the College and the people that he meets there. Jeff has an obvious crush on Britta Perry (the lovely Gillian Jacobs) a female student trying to get her life back on track and in an attempt to impress her he forms a Spanish Study group. His plan backfires and a number of other oddball characters end up joining the Group in addition to Britta and he becomes their reluctant leader.

Other members of the study group are: Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase) an aged moist-towel tycoon who is constantly trying to give Jeff perplexing life lessons, Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi who is a comic revelation), a pop culture junkie who is attending college to study film, Shirley Bennet (Yvette Nicole Brown), a recently divorced mother who is attending college for the 1st time, Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), a former high school quarterback and Annie Edison (an adorable Alison Brie) a straight-laced nerd.

Other recurring characters in the show are Senor Ben Chang (a hilarious Ken Jeong), who plays their Spanish Teacher,  Psychology Professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver), who is an old friend of Jeff’s and Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), the oddball and bi-curious Dean of the College.

what makes this show such a winner is the richness of the characters and the sheer brilliance of its comedy. This is not slapstick humor. Religious and political topics are brought up throughout the show. The comedy is very real, but that just makes it even more funny. In fact, the creator Dan Harmon wrote the script based on his own experiences in Community college, involving a girl he liked and the group of misfits he was in a study group with. The reality is what really does shine through in the show.

There are continuous parodies on pop culture classics throughout the show, which would make a fanatic like me swoon. An entire episode themed off the gangster movie “Good Fellas”, which even uses the same music score! Breakfast Club, Batman, good cop/bad cop films and Good Will Hunting are all parodied to hilarious results.

Danny Pudi is the stand out actor here and his character is by the far the most original. He plays Abed with such wry humor and wit, it truly is pure comic genius. The out-takes that Abed and Troy do together at the end of each episode of the show is another highlight.

There is one entire episode that parodies Modern Warfare with a paint ball game that goes horribly wrong. I have watched this single episode 5 times over and it is an instant classic.

The sexual tension between Jeff and Britta does get a little redundant throughout the show, but you care enough about the characters that you still want to know if they will end up together.

Community is a show that DOES take itself seriously; but does it with such panache that you cannot but love it.  I would recommend to anyone who has not seen it yet, to catch up on Season 1 right now before Season 2 begins. 5/5 stars.