Community is Gone: Now What? (Updated)

Update 7/1/2014:

Turns out Community is not gone.  In fact it will return for its sixth season and possibly more on Yahoo’s video streaming service Yahoo Screen.  The sixth season is thirteen episodes most likely to be released on a weekly basis starting fall 2014.  So this entire article is irrelevant, but you should read it anyway because it was written be a handsome genius (me!).

Community has been murdered.  And the general consensus is it’s NBC’s fault.  Actually it’s not, it’s your fault.  You all love really mediocre crap, and just like the radio, network and cable TV has figured that out.  If you keep watching shows like The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls you’re going to keep getting shows like Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23.  Five seasons was a pretty good run for a show too witty and smart for the average person so I’m am sad, but I am happy that it didn’t get Firefly‘d in the end.

But now that Community is dead, what the hell should you watch now?  What’s the best show comedy show still on TV?  What should you tell people is your favorite show that makes you laugh?  Don’t worry I got your back: I’ll let you know what the best laugh TV is offering.

Shows I swear I watch but didn’t make the list because (shh) they’re not good enough:

  • Orange is the New Black: Don’t let your friends hear that you don’t like this show.  It’s not nearly as bad as telling people you don’t think Tina Fey or Girls are good, but it’s damn close.  The show gives pretty appealing roles to a lot of actresses in a time when the cliché “there’s no quality television for women” is depressingly true.  But that does not mean you get a pass, sure it would’ve been fucking awesome if Sucker Punch was great too, but I don’t make the rules.  I just enforce them.
  • Veep: Another show that might get me the “you hate women” label.  I swear I love women.  Ooo wait; is that like saying, “I’m not a racist?” Does it automatically make me sexist?  I hope not.  I just really, genuinely, and honestly think the cast doesn’t work.  The frantic Julia Louis-Dreyfus is not near enough to save this show.
  • Family Guy: I don’t think anyone still thinks this show is good, right?  Even Seth MacFarlane is clearly trying to kill it.
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The ups and downs of this shows quality have begun to annoy the shit out of me.  I mean look at this bullshit.  One episode will be funny-ish then the next will be trash.  No consistency means no eligibility.
  • The League: Was once one of my favorites.  Now I’m just watching it out of muscle memory.  It’s lost its charm, much like the shine on an old pair of shoes.  You might wish they still looked good but the fact is they’re nearly as fucked up as Seal’s face.
  • The Big Bang Theory: I’m going to harp on this sack of 3/10 nonsense, mostly because it is a large part of why Community will not get its #sixseasonsandmovie.  The show was tolerable, then Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch were added to the cast and… wow let the unwatchable mess ensue.  Sheldon Cooper still has his moments from episode to episode.  But the past three seasons have been nearly incoherent.

Also not on this list:

  • Late night shows: One, I don’t watch them.  Two, I mean they kinda suck though don’t they?
  • News comedy shows: Last Week Tonight and The Daily Show are hilarious.  And I’m sure the soon to come Minority Report will be equally as hilarious.  But we’re just doing scripted shows here.
  • Sketch shows: I don’t know why I feel like they shouldn’t be on this list.  But they do not belong. Key & Peele is the only one that would even qualify.
  • Shows that were recently cancelled or ended: A few good comedies ended this year (Stephen Merchant’s Hello Ladies and the pretty good The Crazy Ones are the first two that come to mind) and because this is about what you can curl up and watch while you cry tears of mourning for Community I will not be mentioning them either.

None of these shows shape up to Dan Harmon’s genius.  Sure season four was not the caliber that we would’ve liked and Chevy Chase is not only the worst… he’s the fucking worst.  But it remains one of the funniest shows to ever be on television.  And like many of the modern greats it was doomed from the beginning.  Now we will have to file this masterpiece into the same Storex 18-Inch Wheeled Two-Drawer Locking Filing Cabinet as Firefly, Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, Veronica Mars, Leverage, Dead Like Me, Sports Night, Better Off Ted, Life, and IT Crowd’s possibly genius US spinoff  which was dead even before arrival (really though look at that potential cast!).

Archer

The spy action/comedy series that recently took a turn for the… illegal.  Is pretty popular among the internet dwellers which is good because those are the people that know what’s up (That’s right! Tell your fucking friends that just came out of Che’s mouth).  Even if you don’t love animated comedies this one doesn’t feel like Family Guy or The Simpsons which is good because it’s nice to have something fresh.

Why’s it Funny:

Booze. Spies. Tits. And tons of cocaine.  Archer is one of the best animated shows on TV today.  It’s written really well and also has no concern for the PC-ness of it all.  It’s cast basically perfectly.  And it arguably the best example of “adult humor” on this list.

Why it’s Not so funny:

Last season.  Conceptually hilarious; execution, ehh not so much.  Too much Pam eating coke and way too much Cheryl who is really only funny in moderation.  But the truth is it was still pretty good considering.  But I am still hoping it makes a resurgence next season.

Bob’s Burgers

A family or weirdoes works and lives in a Burger Restaurant.  Typical sitcom tee-up you might be thinking.  But the fact is it’s a really well written comedy and one of the remaining gems of Fox’s Sunday cartoon madness or whatever the fuck they call it now.

Why’s it Funny:

Honestly?  I have no idea.  But it is.  A combination of dry wit and dad jokes.  Plus H. Jon Benjamin, or Archer fame, is one of the best voice actors out there.  The complete disregard for plot continuity seem endearing in a show that doesn’t take itself seriously at all, unlike in the Simpsons where it just seems fucking irritating.

Why it’s not so Funny:

This is definitely a hit-or-miss show.  Some episodes are just not funny at all.  While some are hilarious.  The problem is the episodes that aren’t that funny are probably more frequent than you’d like your new favorite show to be.  But the good news is it still remains the funniest show in Fox’s animated show line up.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Only just finished its first season it might be a good time to jump on the Brooklyn Nine-Nine bandwagon.  It’s a perfect cast with no weak links.  And it’s a great take on the police procedural that might not have actually been murdered by the 14 different CSIs, 35 NCISs, 18 Law and Orders, or the countless other not so shitty, not that great shows that plague television.

Why it’s Funny:

In short, Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, Chelsea Peretti, and Andre Braugher.  What else could you ask for really?  It’s clever and fresh while not being alienating which means it should last a little while.  Then again it’s actually good so people aren’t watching it.

Why it’s not Funny:

The childish leading man who’s actually a genius but his antics take away from it and get him into all kinds of shit is a little played out.  But they don’t harp on the high concept element of the show too much.  Plus their ongoing joke with Hitchcock and Scully is only funny about 10% of the time.  And the will-they-won’t they element of the show is so cliché it’s a little boring.

Louie

It’s not really clear this is even a comedy.  But it’s definitely not a drama or action so here we are.  Louie CK remains the best comedian out and he has been given full reign by FX to do as he pleases with this show.

Why it’s Funny:

Louie fucking CK, his pretty much a creative genius.  If you don’t believe me ask, Louie’s interview with Bill Simmons.

It’s alienating and dark but most of all its hilarious.  Louie is honest and willing to conquer the topics that nothing will.

Why it’s not Funny:

Sometimes Louie has the tendency to take things a little far, and occasionally strays from the point to somewhere where we have no idea where he’s coming from.

Modern Family

Everyone has seen it, it’s the highest rated show on TV.  Gay guys, busty Latinas, short geniuses, dumb hot girls, eccentric parents, Mensa members who play morons, magicians, cute kids who are terrible actors, and infuriating jailbait.

Why it’s Funny:

It all pretty much boils down to cast chemistry and fresh faces.  It’s not a particularly funny show, or amazingly clever.  But the gigantic cast worst really well together.  And we’ve grown so accustomed to them that they may be incapable of doing irrevocable wrong.

Why it’s not Funny:

Pretty bland writing, and super formulaic plotlines.  Unlike The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and the countless other bullshittery that is multi-camera sitcoms this show manages not to be a series of punchlines like an unfunny Mitch Hedberg set.  It may not be creative but it’s not unfunny either.

New Girl

This list is not ranked, obviously, but this is the best candidate for the reigning champ for best comedy show on TV team.  Weird girl moves into an apartment with a bunch of weird guys; hilarity ensues.  Riffing is king in apartment 4D.

Why it’s Funny:

There isn’t a team on TV anymore funny than Schmidt, Winston, Nick, and—newly back—Coach.  These guys all understand their roles better than maybe anyone on TV except for Peter Dinklage and it comes through on screen.  I thought for a second they were about to make the fatal mistake that only Community and Arrested Development seemed to be able to avoid and make the show all about a will-they-won’t-they relationship that was hinted at in the first season.  This has brought about the very unfunny death of many once funny television comedies:  Parks and Recreation, The Office, Chuck, Scrubs (warning: I never actually liked this one but it gets way worse with the JD x Blondie relationship), even The Big Bang Theory was funnier when it wasn’t a show about three boring relationships.

Why it’s not Funny:

Zooey Deschanel.  She sucks.  But like, soooo much.  She belongs on Portlandia.  She’s just constantly outclassed and out acted by her counterparts.  Even Hannah Simone is funnier than her.  I mean I love bangs as much as the next guy who likes girls who baby talk and look like their 18th birthday party is two weeks away at Souplantation (I fear I may have to say that was sarcasm for some of you), but her cutesy “I love teaching” and pink shit got old around half way through the second episode.

Parks and Recreation

Tom's Dictionary

Everyone’s favorite female comedy powerhouse takes on city government like a boss.  I know you all think I’m sexist right now; does this possibly make up for it?  I think Amy Poehler is hilarious, I even think Tina Fey is funny when she’s not trying to damn hard.

Why it’s Funny:

Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, actually scratch that, pretty much everyone.  This show had a pretty terrible first season, I mean six episodes of really unfunny stuff, but it exploded from there.  And it sticks with what works, the show is slightly repetitive but it works because government work is really repetitive.  Take it from me I must be an expert I worked for the US government for the summer (sarcasm update part deux: for the dummies out there).

Why it’s not Funny:

I will direct you to my above post about New Girl.  The show has become a ballad about Leslie and Ben which sucks because I thought they could do it.  I don’t know why I expected this pseudo-spinoff of The Office to manage to avoid this catastrophic mistake but hey.  Tom Haverford, Ron Swanson, and April Ludgate-Dwyer are still stealing the show when they get on screen.

Silicon Valley

True, we’re only six episodes deep.  And this geek pageant is killing it so far.  It’s the new white picket fence story and it’s played out with style.

Why it’s Funny:

Just the right amount of awkward and the right amount of HBO goodness.  The truth is all the above shows would be 1000 times better if people were allowed to say fuck.  And unlike Entourage this boys club comedy plays on stereotypes that don’t offend women, gays, and 50% of the straight male population.  Sure it’s garnered some complaints from Sillicon Valley complaining that not everyone who can code lacks the ability to speak to people.  But as a comp-sci major I will tell you the stereotype is neither all that offensive nor all that inaccurate.

I think this is the point where this has to get really depressing.  The best part of the show thus far was Christopher Evan Welch who played the eccentric billionaire Peter Gregory.  Unfortunately after shooting only five episodes Welch died of a heart attack reportedly because of complications from lung cancer that he had been battling for years.  This guy was spectacular on the show even though we only got a taste of him.  Here’s a little sample:

And if you can find the Burger King scene that’s when I knew this guy was the best part of the show.

Also here is the cast on the loss of Welch:

And it’s sad to see anyone die but when they are as talented as Christopher Welch it’s an extra blow.  I don’t know which would have been sadder: that Welch died months after getting the career making role most actors don’t ever get or had he not gotten it at all.  I know I am glad to see him on such a great show even if it is only for five episodes and even though I discovered him posthumously.  I think it’s fair to say he will be missed and that the world was lucky to have him even for the brief moment that it did.

That was rough, I’m sorry.  Here’s some Fresh Prince to make ya smile:

Now back to business!

Why it’s not Funny:

T.J. Miller.  I literally hate this guy.  Ironically he’s really charismatic in interviews.  But there’s something about him on screen.  Always have found him extraordinarily unfunny in everything I’ve ever seen him in.  The huge gap in the cast is pretty much the only thing that takes away from this well-written comedy.  But if New Girl has taught us anything its that you can power through a shitty cast member and still make a great show.

The Venture Bros.

Yet another animated comedy.  I’m sorry to all you TV purest out there.  But the reboot of one of Adult Swims best is nothing but spectacular news.  It jumped off right where it left off with ridiculous, ridiculous, RIDICULOUS antics.

Why it’s Funny:

You know that friend that you have that makes you laugh constantly, but would make a pretty terrible stand-up comedian because he really only knows how to play to what you think is fun?  That’s The Venture Bros.; it’s one of the only shows on this list that will make you laugh out loud throughout an entire episode.

Why it’s not Funny:

I mean like I said, it’s ridiculous.  It actually might be a perfect show if watched high.  Unfortunately I wouldn’t know.  Sometimes a bit too ridiculous in fact.  Any time gigantic penises hit the screen you’re edging on lowest common denominator humor.

The Wrong Mans

The only web show that even a little qualifies for this list (actually scratch that Video Game High School is pretty damn good).  Actually it is broadcast on BBC One and Two but I live in the states—for now at least—which means I get it as a “Hulu Original”.  It should be no surprise though that it’s hardly original to Hulu because of all the originals Hulu has produced only one has been good (Battleground).  There are critically acclaimed, award-winning dramas aplenty on internet: House of Cards, Lilyhammer, etc.  But it’s been a whole lot of miss and not so much hit with the comedies (I’m looking at you Orange is the New Black and Hulu’s entire catalog of actual originals).

Why it’s Funny:

I fell in love with the relatively unknown Mathew Baynton while he was on Spy.  But this is perfect for him.  The mix of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margeret and the Bourne series works out better than ever could have expected.  And as an anglophile there’s nothing better than a satisfyingly good show from the UK.

Why it’s not Funny:

Maybe a little too much Todd Margret the bad luck duo of The Wrong Mans play off each other well but the pace and plot of the show don’t let them do it as much as they should be able to.  Series two is on its way and I’m not sure of the forced continuation of the concept will play out.  But the Brits do one thing on TV way better than Americans, and that’s know when to quit.  Luther: three series, Coupling four series, Spaced two series, The Inbetweeners three series, The IT Crowd four series, even Dr. Who the long running juggernaut changes it up every few seasons.  On the other hand Two and a Half Men 11 seasons and counting, The Simpsons: 25+, CSI 14+ seasons, Law & Order: SVU 15 and still plodding on, somehow NCIS is entering its 12th season, and The Big Bang Theory just got renewed through season 10.  All those shows might have 10 good seasons between them.

2 Comments

  1. […] extensive but I’ll just go over the truly ridiculous ones that were left out. I go more into it here though. Archer and Bob’s Burgers were always destined to be left out, animated shows get no love […]

  2. […] fine.  But the truth is that many much more deserving shows should be on this list; I wrote an entire piece about it in fact.  It would have been nice to see “Broad City” and “You’re […]

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