I don't just love Community, I loooooooove Community. And it isn't because of some wacky character, snappy jokes, or a laugh track that tells me what's funny. The NBC hit may live in the shadow of The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock, but when it comes to pushing the limits and making TV fun again, it steals the spotlight.
Community's latest example of outside-the-idiot-box thinking can't even be seen on Community; for that, you have to actually watch last night's episode of ABC's Cougar Town. If that doesn't make sense, let's flash back to Episode 19 of Community's second season, in which Abed (Danny Pudi) tells Jeff he had an epiphany while playing an extra on the set of one his favorite shows, Cougar Town.
Now let's flash-forward to last night's Cougar Town.
Holy s***, did we just witness Abed pooping his pants? Some of the details are different—no Courteney Cox, no walking—but there's nothing in this crossover that isn't genius. There was no pre-promotion for it, it's as obvious as it needs to be, and it doesn't dominate the scene. It's just that little extra easter egg for us to find and smile at. (Not to mention the fact that it nicely reciprocated the Cougar Town cameos that appeared in Community's season finale—see the video below.)
It's also a testament to just how much Community creator Dan Harmon is putting his stamp on television. Community's and Cougar Town's season finale crossovers weren't approved by the show's production studios or networks—rival networks, at that. Harmon and Cougar Town showrunner Bill Lawrence just did it, without whispering a word to their bosses (Disney is notoriously protective of its properties). "We didn’t even ask permission," Lawrence told TV Line. "Thankfully, both [production studios] Disney and Sony are places that want to champion what they feel are under-appreciated shows."
I hope this stunt inspires some of TV's other showrunners to go off the page like Harmon and Lawrence did to promote their shows. When fans see things like this, show loyalty increases, word-of-mouth is positive, and everyone comes out looking like a winner. Heck, I may even start watching Cougar Town now.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom