Community's Top 5 Episodes: See Our Editors' Picks and Vote for Your Favorites!

By TV.com Staff

Feb 06, 2013

If you follow the Greendale Community College Calendar, October 19 is just around the corner and classes resume later this week. If you follow a boring "regular" calendar, Thursday, February 7 is the day you should be circling, as that's when one of television's most creative sitcoms, Community, returns for Season 4.

Look, I don't want to be a harbinger of gloom, but there's a Fat Neil-sized chance that we may have seen Community's best days, what with all the firings and quittings and behind-the-scenes drama. So before we look toward the future, we've decided to relive the past by asking our resident Community fans to name their favorite five episodes. The most common response? "ONLY FIVE?!?!?" Sorry guys, I wanted to include "Introduction to Statistics," too.

You'll find our personal picks below, but we also want to know which Community episodes are YOUR list of five—so get to clicking on the poll at the bottom of the page and share your rankings the comments!



Cory Barker | Favorite Character: Britta Perry

5. "Paradigms of Human Memory" (S2E21)
4. "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking" (S02E16)
3. "Cooperative Calligraphy" (S2E08)
2. "Mixology Certification" (S2E10)
1. "Remedial Chaos Theory" (S3E04)


Spotlight: "Remedial Chaos Theory"

Community is known for its high-concept "theme" episodes, but when the show truly thrives is when it merges big conceptual ideas with grounded emotional beats. No episode has achieved that combo more than Season 3's "Remedial Chaos Theory," the one that used Yahtzee and seven different timelines to tell a wonderful story about each character's role within the group. The episode brought us seminal Community gags and touchstones like the darkest timeline, felt goatees, and the Norwegian troll, but it also reminded us that Troy is sneakily the glue holding the group together and that Jeff, despite his affection for these misfits, still can't fully let go of being Winger-cool. —Cory




Nick Campbell | Favorite Character: Abed Nadir

5. "The Psychology of Letting Go" (S2E03)
4. "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" (S2E14)
3. "Basic Lupine Urology" (S3E17)
2. "Aerodynamics of Gender" (S2E07)
1. "Remedial Chaos Theory" (S3E04)


Spotlight: "Aerodynamics of Gender"

So often the perks of being a wallflower are undermined by a culture that exalts the might of the extrovert (except, I would imagine, in that book The Perks of Being a Wallflower). That's complicated even more by a world that doesn't necessarily understand the symptoms (if not the official diagnosis) of someone who's far closer to Rain Man on the autistic spectrum. In media, they're either treated like fragile mutants of society (like Max Braverman on Parenthood) or punchlines in absurdity as folks that don't play by the rules of civility (Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory). What's great about "Aerodynamics of Gender" is that Abed has magical powers in his stockpiles of observed minutiae, just begging to take form in snaps until he learns his wizardry is more evil than good. Abed is a human being who learns a lesson and not just some quirky sidekick character that never changes. Also, every cutdown Abed has is GOLD. Also also: boys on trampolines! —Nick




Andy Daglas | Favorite Character: Leonard

5. "Accounting for Lawyers" (S2E03)
4. "Introduction to Finality" (S3E22)
3. "Critical Film Studies" (S2E19)
2. "Contemporary American Poultry" (S1E21)
1. "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" (S2E09)


Spotlight: "Introduction to Finality"

From the title to the almost-plaintive echo of the fan-adopted hashtag #sixseasonsandamovie at the very end of the episode, everything about “Introduction to Finality” seems resigned to its destiny as an unintentional series finale. The Season 3 capper did at least spell the end of the era for creator/showrunner Dan Harmon, and the spirit of both closure and promise animating its events makes it one of the series’ most emotionally gratifying installments. Community (in particular Season 3) occasionally went to some dark places, exploring the recesses of insecurity and selfishness that underly our need for companionship. But “Introduction to Finality” ultimately decides that our better angels can win out over the cold, frightful versions of ourselves from the darkest timeline. It’s warped, chipper, cynical, and humanist, and it will serve as a fitting coda to the show we’ve loved, should Season 4 fall short. —Andy




Noel Kirkpatrick | Favorite Character: Britta Perry

5. "Modern Warfare" (S1E23)
4. "Introduction to Statistics" (S1E07)
3. "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" (S2E14)
2. "Basic Lupine Urology" (S3E17)
1. "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" (S2E09)


Spotlight: "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design"

The reason "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" works so well is that it blends elements of college life—racking up enough credits to graduate; dorm living—with a parody of the conspiracy suspense thriller genre and Community's particular sense of whimsy. The sendup is right on, between Professor Professorson’s painfully bad cryptic dialog ("From the lips of a ghost to the shadow of a unicorn’s dream."), the chase through the pillow fort as a crowded street (A Latvian independence day parade!), and the confrontation shootout in the study room. Even Annie's off-script confession works, as every conspiracy thriller needs a confession of secrets. All in all, it's a pitch-perfect Community episode.




Tim Surette | Favorite Character: Britta Perry

5. "Contemporary American Poultry" (S1E21)
4. "Cooperative Calligraphy" (S2E08)
3. "Paradigms of Human Memory" (S2E21)
2. "Remedial Chaos Theory" (S3E04)
1. "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" (S2E14)


Spotlight: "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons"

Neither a straight parody nor a big stunt, the tale of Fat Neil and the study group playing Dungeons & Dragons is Community at its creative best. The show's standard sets were stretched out with narration from the cleaning lady, sound effects, and pans of hand-drawn maps, proving that Community can go high-concept on a low budget. The laughs were plentiful—Chang's character dying, Annie's seduction of the elf maiden, Abed's dungeon mastering, and Britta trying to raise awareness of the oppression of gnomes—but the episode also had heart and a heavy message in saving the life of a suicidal Fat Neil. —Tim




Jen Trolio | Favorite Character: Troy Barnes

5. "Modern Warfare" (S1E23)
4. "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism" (S3E09)
3. "Mixology Certification" (S2E10)
2. "Paradigms of Human Memory" (S2E21)
1. "Regional Holiday Music" (S3E10)


Spotlight: "Mixology Certification"

Aside from the fact that Troy and I share a birthday, what I like about this episode is that it centers on the study group leaving campus and just hanging out. No spoofs, no Dean Pelton-sponsored shenanigans, just everybody going out and getting drunk together on a night when the happy-hour special is apparently 2-for-1 shots of character development. There are so many great moments—Annie (kind of) letting loose as Caroline Decker from Corpus Christi, Texas; Paul F. Tompkins throwing a drink in Abed's face; Jeff and Britta's realization that they've been talking about the same bar all night; the reveal that Shirley used to party hard. The overall atmosphere is one of hanging out at the bar with your own friends, and the episode ends on a sweet note with a nice moment for Troy, who finally gets to step up and be the leader for once. —Jen



What are your top five episodes of Community?

  • Comments (75)
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  • MarieLaureDep Jun 01, 2013

    I'm not sure why everyone like Britta so much? Anyway, loved Pillows and Blankets, which was funny, smart and a little sad/bitter (no break up was ever as painful as Troy and Abed's). Cheer Perfection.

  • Nico8877 Apr 26, 2013

    Where's the love for Dean Pelton and Chang??? Those two along with Leonard make Greendale Greendale

  • Gold_Ruby Feb 09, 2013

    5. Mixology Certification
    4. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons
    3. Epidemiology
    2. Remedial Chaos Theory
    1. Cooperative Calligraphy

    While Remedial Chaos Theory may be the show at its peak, Cooperative Calligraphy was what I use to hook people in. Its gotta be my number one. Puppy parade!

  • tyonrye Feb 09, 2013

    One of the best shows ever! funniest show on tv, clever and great actors!

  • ap616 Feb 09, 2013

    For me, this is one of the worst shows ever. Started out cool but turned out to be annoying, trying too hard to "redefine" sitcoms it has become a terrible caricature. Too much bells and whistle. All the things I hate about this show are embodied by Abed, probably one of the most gratingly annoying characters in TV history.

  • BarryDalton Feb 09, 2013

    Everything that made we fans fall in love with this show are why it has "failed" as a long term series. for a 23 episode network tv show to work, there must be consistency ...viewers' time is limited so they must know what they are getting every time they tune in ... if characters develop to quickly, or the premise changes regularly such as with a lot of fantasy sequences, etc...casual viewers dont get addicted....successful network tv shows are like comfort food...you want to hang out with some characters you like in funny situations...Community would have been better on HBO or Show Time as a 6 or 13 episode per season show.

  • AdeleTeras Feb 08, 2013

    Naawh I wont even attempt to make a top five, whatever episodes I would choose, I would never feel happy with the choice

  • BeBopBigShot Feb 08, 2013

    Paradigism of human memory,(All Those untold stories!!!).

    Intro to political science (LAW and ORDER spoof, who sabotaged the potato experiment ?) Dead pan acting, New Intro, Britta enhancing the photo and making it "Old Timey"

    They are all amazing, can't pick, brain hurts now___ Must Reboot___ Must Re-watch last nights season premier!!

  • LeePierce Feb 08, 2013

    5. Modern Warfare
    4. Digital Estate Planning
    3. Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas
    2. Advanced Dungeon's and Dragons
    1. Remedial Chaos Theory

  • FringeFanatic Feb 08, 2013

    So close!

  • CarolTonks Feb 08, 2013

    Pillows And Blankets forever!

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