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NBC pokes fun at community college students while skewering stereotypes in new sitcom

Lovelle Harris | Staff Writer
harrisl9@imail.losrios.edu

www.tvguide.com

Middle-aged divorcees, 20-something high school dropouts and old people trying to avoid death from boredom by keeping busy.

Sound familiar?

This are the stereotypical images painted of City College students and other community college students across the country and NBC’s new comedy “Community” brazenly pokes fun at these stereotypes without quite insulting the people they represent.

Joel McHale (E!’s “The Soup”) stars as Jeff Winger, an unscrupulous and cynical lawyer who enrolls in community college after the state bar association discovers that he’s practicing with a phony degree. With a wry grin, he explains to community college professor Duncan, played by John Oliver (“The Daily Show”), that he received his degree from Columbia, and now needs one from America.

“Community” boasts a spectacularly hilarious cast, including legendary comedian Chevy Chase.

Chase plays Pierce Hawthorn, the eccentric and oftentimes “dirty old man” who comes back to college to fight loneliness and is one of the participants in Jeff’s Spanish study group – a group Jeff forms to woo the sexy, yet scholarly Britta.

Each character in Jeff’s study group bares a stark resemblance to several classic clichés from community college: the sexy, blond coed – and object of the main character’s affection; the middle-aged eccentric man, the sassy and generously proportioned black woman, the wiry, awkward nerd, the former high school sports star and the snotty, preppy socialite. And each manages to turn his or her respective stereotype upside down by the end of the pilot episode.

As a City College student I find this comedy not only a delight to watch, with its sharp wit and snarky humor, but refreshing to see some of these classic stereotypes torn down – and on television no less.

The writing and direction is spot on, with Dan Harmon (executive producer, “Sarah Silverman Program”) and Joe and Anthony Russo, who previously worked on the hilariously intelligent “Arrested Development” sharing the director’s chair. This is a must-see program for City College students.

In a scene that sums up the writing genius of “Community,” Jeff nonchalantly tells Duncan that if he wanted to learn something he wouldn’t have come to community college.

While many of us at City College trudge through our chosen educational programs, it’s phenomenal to be able to sit back and poke fun at ourselves and the stereotypes we find ourselves being lumped into.

“Community” allows just that and I for one look forward to laughing it up on my couch every Thursday at 9:30 p.m.

Won’t you join me?

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