If You're Ready To Catch 'Community,' And You Should Be, Now's The Time : Monkey See Tonight's Community is a special kind of episode in format, but it's simply the best kind of episode in execution: the jokes are good, the cast is strong, and it's a fine time to jump on the train if you haven't already.
NPR logo If You're Ready To Catch 'Community,' And You Should Be, Now's The Time

If You're Ready To Catch 'Community,' And You Should Be, Now's The Time

Danny Pudi (Abed), Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley), Gillian Jacobs (Britta), Alison Brie (Annie), and Joel McHale (Jeff) are part of the cast of tonight's outstanding episode of Community on NBC. Harper Smith/NBC hide caption

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Harper Smith/NBC

Can I tell you anything more about how fond I am of Community than I already have?

Let's start here, with regard to tonight's episode: do you know what a "bottle episode" of a show is? A bottle episode is one that traps the characters in one confined space, rather than letting them run around hither and yon. Think of the recent Mad Men outing that trapped Don and Peggy in the office all night, for example.

Tonight, Community offers a bottle episode that, among other things, makes for a great introduction to the show if you're one of those people who are sick and tired of hearing that you should be watching Community and wonder when to jump in.

"Cooperative Calligraphy" uses an unsolved mystery as an opportunity to trap the cast — more than that, I should not say. But along the way, it offers great moments for everyone in the cast, and it serves as an introduction as good as any to exactly who these people are and how they behave.

But while I could sit here and wax rhapsodic about what a nice pop-culture riff the whole show turns out to be, and how strong the performances are, and the wonderfully mischievous inside joke for creator Dan Harmon's Twitter followers, what really distinguishes "Cooperative Calligraphy" is that even for an episode of Community — always a joke-packed show — it is an insanely joke-packed episode with a remarkably high batting average.

Community is the closest thing you're going to see to Airplane-style television when it's at its best: one joke after another, some wordplay, some absurdity, tons of silliness. "Cooperative Calligraphy" just fires and fires and fires, and almost everything works.

It's utterly delightful, it's a great place to jump in, but most importantly, it's really, really funny.