Wednesday, September 23, 2009
TBG TV: Community
When/Where: NBC – Thursdays at 9:30 PM (moves to 8:00 PM on October 8)
10-Word Premise: Smarmy lawyer falls from grace, attends high school with ashtrays.
Starring: Joel McHale as the a-hole who'll learn the error of his ways…every week, Gillian Jacobs – who really does look like Elisabeth Shue and Chevy Chase as an amalgam of every character Chevy Chase has ever played (and I'm including the voice of "Cho-Cho" in The Karate Dog in that assessment).
The Best Thang: When I was a kid, every sitcom seemed to be based around the main character's weekly schemes. I don't watch enough sitcoms today to know if McHale's "Jeff Winger" character will be refreshing, a throwback or a copycat in that regard. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, for now, and look forward to episodes later this season in which he hatches a plan to come up with Mr. Furley's rent money and tricks Ricky Ricardo into letting him play in the band.
The Worst Thang: The supporting cast was…well, let's be kind and surmise they just didn't have much to work with during last Thursday night's premiere. I'm not sure how much funny can be squeezed from an Indian guy with Asperger's, a cocky ex-jock, a sassy (natch) middle-aged African-American woman and a paranoid high school dropout. And, what was the expiration date on that carton of Chevy Chase? 1988? 1989?
The Verdict: There might – MIGHT – be the makings of an edgy, acerbic show here. It'll sink or swim on the performance of McHale and the avoidance of turning his character into a sarcastic one-note joke. Ken Jeong and John Oliver have recurring roles as members of the community college faculty. When I type that out, I'm not sure it sways me. I'll stick around for a few more weeks, though.