Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Community

Go To

  • Acceptable Targets: Racism is naturally brought up as a character flaw several times, and in at least one case, as the tail-end of Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick.
  • Acceptable Professional Targets: In the pilot, as soon as everyone learns Jeff's a lawyer, they groan in disgust.
  • Acceptable Religious Targets: Shirley's habit of being The Fundamentalist. In Real Life, Shirley's actress, Yvette Nicole Brown, is a Christian, and the fact that she appears to have had no objections to that particular aspect of her character is actually quite refreshing.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The characters themselves go back-and-forth over whether Pierce is an inherent, fundamental and completely irredeemable Jerkass or whether he's just a lonely but socially inept old man who just wants to make friends but has no clue how, and merely ends up lashing out whenever his overtures are rejected.
    • Abed; Lovable Nerd Woobie with numerous psychological and emotional problems who uses pop culture as a way of trying to connect to people, or Manipulative Bastard who enjoys pulling strings to get people into trouble that resembles his favorite movies and TV shows?
    • In Season 3, is Evil Abed really trying to crossover into the Prime Timeline, or just a figment of Abed's imagination?
    • Do Troy and Abed merely have a cute, Ho Yay filled Heterosexual Life-Partners friendship that they get a bit too fixated on at times, or are they in fact alarmingly co-dependent on each other?
    • Advertisement:
    • Do the students and faculty of Greendale treat things like paintball and pillow fights as Serious Business, or do they all (like Jeff most of the time) just want an excuse to get away from class/work?
    • Britta's parents. The episode in which we meet them suggests that they spent Britta's childhood dominating and stifling her, only to eventually do a Heel–Face Turn and want to rebuild bridges with her after she grew up and ran away. However, because in the episode they're so laid-back, friendly and easy-going, an alternative interpretation has arisen that suggests that they've always been like that and were happy to let Britta believe they were overly-oppressive bad guys when she began to lash out rather than confront her about it.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: The show ended up dealing with this from an unusual angle. The basic premise seems simplistic enough, but the implementation defied almost all expectations of the genre. The large main and supporting cast, thickly plotted stories, high levels of continuity and loads of in-joke meta humor made it difficult to jump in to any given episode. The Affectionate Parody episodes that came to define the series only exacerbated the issue, as that meant they were constantly switching style and tone. Very few episodes even bothered with topics such as class projects, tests and grades, despite the fact the main cast is supposed to be a study group. Even the fandom came to admit that the community college setting was mostly a backdrop to everything else.
  • Award Snub:
    • After Glee and Community had each run for a single season, Community wasn't nominated for a single award at the 2010 Emmys. Glee was nominated for nineteen (although it only won four).
    • No nominations whatsoever despite critical and commercial acclaim. McHale lampshaded this on episodes of The Soup when the Emmys rolled around, citing The Soup as the cause of Community's snubbing.
  • Awesome Music: Has a sub-page.
  • Badass Decay: In the first paintball episode, Chang is The Dragon and brings his own weapons. In the second, he's an incompetent moron who continually betrays the groups he latches on to. Of course, the entire second season was largely dedicated to giving Chang a near-constant Humiliation Conga, so this is perhaps understandable. And also, it's worth pointing out that he didn't actually do anything in the first Paintball episode, except take out Britta while getting taken out by her.
  • Bizarro Episode: Whilst Community has a number of episodes which would fall under this for any other show, it still has those that qualify as a Bizarro Episode even by Community's standards.
  • Broken Base:
    • The biggest split is on the Harmon-less Season 4 (which was either pretty good or the worst thing on television, depending on who you ask), but many smaller ones exist among the fandom, ranging from whether or not Season 3's second half was too bizarre, if Season 1 was the best or worst of the Harmon years, if Harmon's return in Season 5 revitalized the show back to its glory days or if it was simply too little too late, and whether Troy was utilized well in his final season or not.
    • Inspector Spacetime is, depending on who you ask, either a cute Affectionate Parody or an Overly Long Gag that was run into the ground almost immediately after it was introduced.
    • Jeff and Annie confessing their feelings for each other and kissing in the series finale. Depending on who you ask, this was either a fantastic resolution to a long-running subplot, or a creepy, gross, heavily forced moment that retroactively ruined a lot of elements of the earlier seasons.
    • Britta's devolution into a Dumb Blonde. Some people think it's Flanderization gone too far or even insulting and mean-spirited (and the rumors that Dan Harmon deliberately dumbed down her character to get revenge on the ex-girlfriend he based Britta on didn't help matters), others say it suits Gillian Jacobs' flair for physical comedy better than Britta's original characterization.
  • Crazy Awesome: "Digital Estate Planning" has Abed deciding to stay with Hilda and finding out he can have children with her, who he can command to do anything. Hilarity Ensues. And then there's the final battle with Pierce's father, which involves shooting Abed's children at a giant rock monster's legs so they can pickaxe it to death, Troy and Abed shooting lava at it out of golden mechs, Shirley piloting a helicopter against it, and Pierce riding an atomic bomb.
  • Creator's Pet: Starburns. While an Ensemble Dark Horse in his own right for some, many others find him annoying for talking perverted about Annie, not being punished enough for his selfish actions and stealing the spotlight away from characters they feel are more deserving of some limelight, like Neil, Garrett or Leonard. Yet Dan Harmon loves the character and kept giving him screentime - the actor is one of Harmon's friends and they even named their animation studio after the character.
    • It should be noted that the one season Dan Harmon didn't make was the only season not to feature Starburns in any way, and once Harmon took over again Starburns got a "grand" re-entry into the show. Although this was in part because the actor refused to play the part in solidarity with Harmon being fired.
  • Critical Dissonance: While critical reviews for Seasons 5 were extremely positive, fandom reaction was slightly more mixed, ranging from Season 5 being the best since the the first two seasons to feeling that by this point the show had run out of steam, even with Dan Harmon back as showrunner.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • An excerpt from "Environmental Science" that was used standalone to promote the show. It's too long to present in its entirety here: see the Quotes page.
    • Pierce, frequently. One example is he's playing 'Pictionary' and draws a swastika to convey a windmill, saying that Rabbi Chang should know what it is. note 
  • Cult Classic: It's hardly mainstream, but the fanbase is dedicated enough and big enough to campaign for its renewal and success.
  • Dork Age: Season 4 is generally regarded as such by both fans and critics alike. Many characters underwent Flanderization, with some being defined solely by a single joke (Abed has Ambiguous Disorder! The Dean is a Wholesome Crossdresser!), or worse, no joke at all, with Troy hitting near-Satellite Character levels and Pierce being increasingly Demoted to Extra. "Concept" episodes became both more common and considerably less interesting, and the references slid from Viewers Are Geniuses to Lowest Common Denominator. More than that, though, a lot of the plotlines felt slack and uninteresting, with Troy and Britta suffering a major Shipping Bed Death as the writers fumbled with giving them actual chemistry, and Chang's Faking Amnesia plot being about as obvious and hackneyed as they came. Finally, many prior jokes and storylines were brought back as Fanservice, with the Inspector Spacetime joke being completely run into the ground. This meant that the show essentially began to suffer from They Changed It, Now It Sucks! and It's the Same, Now It Sucks! simultaneously. The finale, which brought back a concept that'd been lampshaded as old and forced an entire season prior, was roundly critically thrashed, with many saying its All Just a Dream ending was the only redeeming factor. A few shots at Season 4 were taken in-universe during Season 5, with reference to the "gas-leak year".
    • Additionally, opinions are sharply divided on whether Seasons 5 and 6 were an improvement, or just as bad as Season 4.
  • Double Standard: Shirley gets a lot less flak from the group for her racism and judgemental attitude than Pierce. On the other hand, Pierce is general a lot more blatant and extreme and he is prejudiced against a far wider range of groups compared to Shirley, who tends towards being a lot more subtle (to the point where her one-liners and passing comments can easily go unnoticed) and tends towards prejudice towards specific groups while being far more tolerant of others. Pierce is also a lot more stubborn and defensive about being challenged and tends to get confrontational in if someone calls him out, whereas Shirley will generally accept being called out more gracefully and at least attempts to modify her behaviour and correct her prejudices. Ultimately, however, neither are malicious, and it's suggested that their less admirable views stem from limited and sheltered viewpoints (cloistering herself within her religious practices in Shirley's case, the toxic influence of his quite-malicious father in Pierce's) that they're only just beginning to break out of.
  • Ear Worm:
    • The theme song, dear Lord!
    • The piano refrain from the pilot, "Good ol' Fashioned Nightmare" by Matt and Kim.
    • Donde, está, la biblioteca...
    • P-P-Pocket full of Hawthornes!
    • From "Regional Holiday Music", there's Troy and Abed's rap and Annie's song.
    • "Daybreak" by Michael Haggins.
    • A lot of Ludwig Gorranson's regular pieces of incidental music, such as "Greendale Is Where I Belong", fall here. Get them in your head, you'll be humming them for days.
    • "Pierce, Pierce, Pierce... Pierce, you're a B!"
    • "Gettin' Ridda Britta"
    • The gritty rock songs about the Ass Crack Bandit in "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics".
    • The opening credits theme from Joysticks, as used in the fake trailer for Koogler.
    • The Greendale theme song written by Pierce, and is in no way similar to Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Goes".
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Several side characters are extremely popular among fans, most notably Magnitude ("POP POP!"), Star-Burns (his name is Alex), and Garrett, The Comically Serious Large Ham ("CRISIS ALERT!").
    • Drama Professor Sean Garrity, due to Kevin Corrigan's incredibly over-the-top portrayal.
    • Rachel, the coat check girl from "Herstory of Dance" is widely considered one of the best parts of Season 4 (even by Dan Harmon himself) and was popular enough to be brought back in Season 5. Helps that she's played by Brie Larson.
    • Koogler, the Manchild Frat Bro played by Mitch Hurwitz in "App Development and Condiments".
  • Evil Is Sexy: Evil Annie, from the Darkest Timeline.
  • Fan Myopia: While the show most certainly has a devoted fanbase, its ratings were ever-declining throughout its run. It doesn't help that a Vocal Minority of the show's fans have a tendency to repeatedly put down competing sitcoms as inferior in their frustration with its poor ratings, which did nothing but make fans of the competing sitcoms less likely to watch Community. Some have speculated that this toxicity in the fandom instead had a negative impact on the show, which couldn't afford to lose viewers. This is in large part due to the Law Of Fan Jackassery; the fandom is essentially right at the middle. The show is far too popular for the Vocal Minority to just be kicked out, but doesn't have nearly enough mainstream recognition for them to just be ignored.
  • Fanon: Given his nicer-than-nice attitude concealing an apparently very fucked-up mindset resulting from maternal abuse, a common fan-interpretation is that Rich is secretly some kind of Serial Killer.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Season 4 (the first without Dan Harmon and most of the writers of Seasons 1-3) has been declared this by some fans, with some even hoping to erase the season from canon by having Abed walk out of the Dreamatorium shortly after the end of Season 3 & reveal it was all just him running simulations. It wasn't, but its Seasonal Rot was heavily lampshaded throughout the fifth season, poking fun at some of its more questionable plot developments. Characters even refer to it in-universe as 'the gas leak year.' Also, on the extreme side of things, there are some fans who only prefer the first season when the show was still somewhat grounded and had yet to go Denser and Wackier, refusing to acknowledge the existence of any season that came after.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Jeff and Annie. How much do some fans prefer this couple you may ask? Enough to vote them TV's Top Couples 2011 despite the fact they are not a canon couple.
    • Abed and Annie have a pretty vocal fanbase as well, thanks in part to the strong friendship between Danny Pudi and Alison Brie, though they end up as Platonic Life-Partners in the show proper.
  • Foe Yay: Between the deans of Greendale and City. Laid on pretty thick in Basic Rocket Science and again in For a Few Paintballs More.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Let's just say that Inspector Spacetime was very well received by both Community fans and Doctor Who fans (at least when it was introduced, opinions are divided on how well it was handled throughout the season). Matt Smith and Karen Gillan are huge fans of Community and even expressed interest in appearing in the show.
    • The fandoms of fellow intensely-quotable Cult Classics Arrested Development and (to a lesser extent) Firefly tend to overlap with Community's.
    • While not as pronounced as other examples, there's also a not-insignificant overlap of Community fans with NBC's other main sitcoms - Namely, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock.
    • And, of course, considering they're both made (in part, at least) by the same creator, there's a clear overlap between fans of Rick and Morty and Community, with many even becoming fans of the latter through the former and Harmon's association.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • The Running Gag about Greendale being a Sucky School with a generally inept faculty who repeatedly run completely idiotic classes (such as an analysis of who the titular boss was in Who's the Boss?) becomes this after "Repilot" showed the ramifications of attending such a school.
    • All the jokes about Pierce dying (especially the ones about him Dying Alone) can become this after Season 5 when we find out Pierce masturbated himself to death - presumably in a room by himself.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Series creator Dan Harmon is well aware of Community's popularity in the Philippines.
  • Gotta Ship 'Em All: The end of "Romantic Expressionism" played with this when they acknowledged that, essentially, nothing was truly off limits and there would always be some degree of tension between unrelated characters. It then went around the table, pairing everyone with everyone else. Sometimes to the characters' interest, sometimes to their surprised interest, sometimes to their disgust and shock.
  • Growing the Beard: "Debate 109" is generally agreed to be the episode where the show first grew some stubble. Full growth was achieved with "Contemporary American Poultry" and then solidified with "Modern Warfare", which is generally considered the series' signature episode.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the episode "Aerodynamics of Gender", you see the world as Robo Cam through Abed's eyes. When the Robo Cam is on the screen, you can see a list of memos Abed has for himself. When Abed is playing back something Shirley said to him, one of the memos is "Confirm mom for Xmas". This is a lot worse in hindsight when you realize Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas is just a few episodes later.
    • In the episode "Paradigms of Human Memory," there is a flashback to "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas"; however, it is seen through the eyes of the other characters. Puts a much darker light on the former (with the other characters lampshading that it wasn't as fun as Jeff and Britta seemed to be remembering), and really makes you think about snowman Chang's bottom button...
    • It's noted on the commentary track for "Advanced Introduction to Finality" that the final line of the cold open, Troy commenting "One for all, and all for one guy we can leave behind!" was originally just a joke about Pierce's age, but the line took a greater subtext when Chevy Chase quit the show. The joke was originally Hilarious in Hindsight, but became Harsher in Hindsight when Pierce was revealed to have died in "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics".
    • Professor Kane quitting due to the guilt of Starburns' death becomes this when you find out he faked it, meaning Kane had a guilt ridden breakdown over a death that never even happened.
    • The final two lines of the (surprisingly dark) theme song, which are "I can't count the reasons I should stay, one by one they all just fade away", turn out to be prophetic, as in the final two seasons, a third of the cast members left one by one, which became a point of contention for a big portion of the fans.
    • Season 3 opens with a big musical number where all the characters sing about how they're gonna "finally be fine", which is then revealed as Jeff's Imagine Spot in regards to a year without Pierce. In the series finale, when Jeff learns that both Annie and Abed are leaving while he is still stuck at Greendale, Annie tells him "you're gonna be fine, you know", to which Jeff replies, "I don't wanna be fine."
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: "The Art of Discourse" ends with a Where Are They Now style scrawl showing what happened to the characters after the episode. Britta's reads "Britta Perry, proud owner, used iPod Nano, 2014." Season 5, set in 2014, shows us that she got that iPod from Pierce, who after he died filled it with "music to take life less seriously by" because, as his will reads, her passion inspired him and he felt she hated herself far more than she should.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Pierce. Understandable, considering his fake heart attacks and pretending he was dying to toy with the study group.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • From the pilot, the jokes against Ben Affleck can come across as this, given his subsequent critical success with directing The Town and Argo, the latter of which won him a second Oscar for Best Picture. Even at the time the first episode aired, Affleck had already earned acclaim for his direction and writing of Gone Baby Gone, though that wasn't as high-profile as his later efforts.
    • In the Season 1 finale, Abed is using a banana to do impressions: (Banana on forehead- Banana Rhino. Banana over top lip- Banana Sam Elliot. Banana over eyes- Banana Levar Burton.) What makes it perfect is Troy being the only person who laughs at the last one.
    • Watching Dean Pelton completely fail at writing and directing a TV advert for Greendale now that Jim Rash is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter.
    • In "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations" James Brolin turns up as Jeff's long-absent father. Just over a week earlier, he appeared on Castle as Castle's long-absent father.
    • From more of a Black Comedy standpoint, "We're Gonna Finally Be Fine" (the opening musical number from "Biology 101" with the Study Group singing about how much better life's going to be without Pierce) became this after Chevy Chase's departure at the end of Season 4 and Dan Harmon returning as showrunner for Season 5 following his own departure a year earlier.
    • The jokes about Britta smoking pot as well as her hatred of the government makes the fact that in Colorado (the state the show is set in), marijuana is now legal and government regulated.
    • After defeating the Glee Club (based on the one from Glee) in "Modern Warfare", Jeff yells "Write some original songs!" as a parting shot. This was done to criticize Glee's use of licensed songs. The year after "Modern Warfare" aired, it was announced that Glee would be doing an episode with original songs.
    • When Jeff runs into Alan in "Accounting For Lawyers", he tries to explain his presence at Greendale by claiming to be a teacher. He then admits that's worse than the truth and admits he's a student. In "Repilot", Jeff becomes a teacher at Greendale.
    • The Tag in "Basic Sandwich" basically being a huge Take That! to NBC. With NBC's subsequent cancellation of the show & Yahoo picking the show up for a sixth season, it means Community essentially left NBC whilst flipping the bird & screaming "Fuck you!"
    • In "Football, Feminism and You", Jeff says that one of Pierce's mascot disguises looks like "a falcon with a gun". The Russo Brothers later directed four MCU movies, all of which feature Falcon, who uses guns.
    • The Tag for "Laws of Robotics and Party Rights" has the committee conduct their meeting with everybody using telepresence robots. Yes, Annie. "Everyone's a robot!"
    • Professor Kane complains about how Legos stopped being about piles of bricks and have since become sets based on specific themes and pop-culture tie-ins. A few years later, Alison Brie (Annie) voiced a character in The LEGO Movie and Joel McHale (Jeff) started to appear in commercials for LEGO Dimensions, both of which are based around Lego's specific themes and pop-culture tie-ins.
    • At one point of "Accounting For Lawyers", Alan comments that he wants to eat Jeff's brains, then pretends to do so. Three years later, Alan's actor (Rob Corddry) would play a zombie in Warm Bodies and eating brains becomes a plot point in that film. Furthermore, Annie becomes a zombie in "Epidemiology" which aired shortly before her actress, Alison Brie, started dating Dave Franco. Franco also appears in Warm Bodies and his character is killed by a zombie.
    • "Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television" throws a Take That! at the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which sees Jeff and Annie insulting it. A little over a year later, Dan Harmon wrote some additional scenes for reshoots of Doctor Strange (2016), and even came out of the experience with nothing but positive things to say about both Marvel Studios and the MCU. Furthermore, there seems to be a minor meta-textual Running Gag of Community actors having cameos/starring roles in the MCU, with Danny Pudi as a S.H.I.E.L.D. communications techie in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Jim Rash as the Dean of M.I.T. in Captain America: Civil War, Donald Glover in Spider-Man: Homecoming as the uncle of Miles Morales, Brie Larson becoming the titular star of Captain Marvel (2019), and both Ken Jeong and Yvette Nicole Brown appearing in Avengers: Endgame (the former as a security guard and the latter as a S.H.I.E.L.D. secretary for a military base in the 1970s).
    • During the Star Wars parody in For a Few Paintballs More Abed assumes for himself the role of the team’s Han Solo until the end of the paintball match. Flash-forward to 2016, when Troy’s actor Donald Glover was cast as Han’s best friend Lando Calrissian in Solo.
    • "App Development and Condiments" shows Greendale becoming a futuristic dystopia where one's social status is defined by one's ratings in social media. This is even funnier to watch after Black Mirror did an episode about a Crapsaccharine World where the exact same thing happens, especially considering that in that episode, much like Jeff, the protagonist attempts to raise her rank but ends up being thrown in the deep end of the social ladder.
    • Troy's bewilderment (and mild jealousy) at Abed's side-adventures becomes this after Season 5 when he goes on an adventure of his own, traveling around the world with his idol Levar Burton.
    • Evil!Jeff's comment that naming a sandwich the "Troy-jan Horse" would just make people think horse meat was in it, from "Advanced Introduction To Finality". Between the episode being filmed in late 2012 & airing in May 2013, the story broke in Europe that horse meat had been included in foods supposedly containing beef.
    • The group end up going to a convention for Inspector Spacetime, a Doctor Who knock-off, and Britta notices that there was a female Inspector, to which Abed comments that no one liked her "not because they are sexist, she sucked." This was a number of years before Doctor Who cast Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor, which came with its own fair share of controversy.
    • At the end of "Advanced Rocket Science", Jeff congratulates Troy by saying he would recommend him to NASA. Donald Glover later appeared in The Martian, as an astrodynamicist who is recruited to help NASA.
    • Jeff's angst about ending up like Pierce or being Not So Different from Pierce, now that Joel McHale has played Chevy Chase himself in A Futile and Stupid Gesture.
    • "Comparative Religion" has Troy giving the "Forest Whitaker eye". When he does, he makes a face that is very similar to the face Donald Glover makes in his This Is America music video.
  • Hollywood Homely: There are a few jokes based around Britta not aging the best. In one episode, after telling Annie that a bar won't check Annie's fake ID because pretty girls are good for business, Britta gets her legitimate ID scoured and double-checked after Annie is waved through without incident. Professor Duncan also tells Jeff that he's attracted to Britta because she's slightly past her prime and realizes that she's going to have to settle. Of course, Gillian Jacobs is exceptionally attractive.
    • The first few episodes also have several jokes revolving around the idea that Annie is not particularly attractive to look at, despite Alison Brie being so beautiful she's frequently compared to a real-life Disney princess. Word of God implies that before casting Alison Brie, the creators had envisioned the role going to someone less conventionally attractive.
    • Ironically, Gillian Jacobs is only 71 days older than Alison Brie, despite them playing characters who are about a decade apart in age and Britta being "past her prime" by comparison.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Troy and Abed.
      Annie: Troy... the other day, after Spanish, I thought he was trying to hold my hand, but... he'd just mistaken me for Abed.
      • In that same episode Troy describes Abed as his other half; they claim in unison that the other members of the study group are "jealous" of their relationship; and at the end, after finding out Britta is unavailable to play the female part in their movie (forcing Abed to take over instead), Troy resignedly says, "Let's go film the sex scene."
      • Then there were the famous lines from Star Wars in Epidemiology.
        Troy: I love you!
        Abed: I know.
      • Troy blames losing basketball on not being able to guard Abed because his eyes were too gentle and mysterious.
      • Abed and Troy's Ho Yay overflows seamlessly into the actors' relationship. They obviously do it on purpose.
      • Then there's the episode where Shirley talks about being the only married woman in a group full of googly-eyed teens. Then Jeff and Annie look at each other, then Jeff and Britta, then Troy and Britta, then Troy and Abed.
      • In Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations, Troy snuggles his head into Abed's shoulder for comfort after a particularly unpleasant encounter with Shirley's family.
      • In Heroic Origins, Troy seems to believe that Abed should have been pining for him before they even met: "You were out there somewhere, and you weren't looking for me?!"
    • And then in another episode Abed seems to have seduced Shirley's dread-lock guy away from her.
    • Annie moving to kiss Britta when they've been mistaken for lesbians at the Valentine's Day dance.
    • At least one of the Human beings is female, and enjoys sniffing the underwear of cheerleaders...
    • From "The Science Of Illusion".
      Pierce: (crying) Troy, do you want a bite of my wand?
      Troy: (also crying) I do.
      • And in the background, Abed is feeding Jeff popcorn.
    • In "A Fistful Of Paintballs", Jeff's obsessive jealousy with how the Black Rider isn't more good looking than him begins to take on these tones.
    • Not to forget virtually every girl at Greendale forming a fanclub for Britta and asking for her autograph, after she confessed to Jeff at the end of the last episode and he walked out on her.
    • Pierce's friendly advances on Jeff, right after his failure to manipulate Britta into a date.
    • Jeff running in the rain, ringing into an apartment, making a confession to Rich.
    • Abed persuades Jeff to flirt with a role-play character elf maiden (impersonated by himself). Annie takes over the task. In detail.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: "Indyshipping" for Annie/Abed, based on the gift Annie got for Abed in "Intro to Psychology."
  • Idiot Plot: The conflict in the apartment plot of "Studies in Modern Movement" could have been avoided if Annie had properly checked the apartment before moving or had confronted the two much sooner. Troy and Abed also become more idiotic in the episode, to the point of being socially dysfunctional (well, more than Abed already was).
  • Informed Wrongness: Jeff. Rightly asserting that Pierce is a bigoted manchild, whose horrible behavior makes the group exclude him, and anyone else would have kicked him out ages ago? He's wrong because Pierce's insecurities are an excuse to be a prick. Calling out Britta on once again wilfully making a fool of herself in a farcical effort to save face? Discouraging poor decisions is being a bad friend. He wants to spend the odd occasion not cleaning up the groups mistakes? He's a selfish jerk. Despite going out of his way to be a great friend to every single member of the group countless times. The show is however smart enough to occasionally use this to comedic effect.
    • The show also frequently makes the point that the problem isn't necessarily that Jeff's (supposedly) wrong as much as it is him frequently going about being right in the most obnoxious way possible. To take the first example, while he definitely has a valid point about Pierce's Jerkass nature, Jeff's righteousness over Pierce would probably carry a bit more weight if Jeff himself didn't take plenty of opportunities to pick on and humiliate Pierce, thus encouraging his resentment. In the second example, Jeff doesn't just discourage Britta's poor decisions but actively takes smug and malicious pleasure in the prospect of Britta failing once again, and Pierce makes the entirely fair point that while Britta might indeed be in a mess of her own making, the fact that Jeff frequently and snidely belittles her to the point of using her name as a synonym for screwing up and failure hardly helps matters. And as for the third example, while Jeff definitely does help clean up the messes left by the study group, he's also caused plenty of trouble and misery for the group as well.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Pierce. While he is unquestionably a Jerkass, it's also made quite clear that he's desperately lonely and needy.
    • Chang, in Season 2. Yes, he was a Sadist Teacher in Season 1 and continues to be a weirdo for most of the season, but he only wants to join the study group.
    • The eldery gang of hooligans, the Hipsters, from "Messanic Myths and Filmaking". After the car stealing incident, no one's family was willing to bail them out of holding. Simply put, no one wants to be near them because they're assholes but they're assholes because no one wants to be around them.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Annie. It's quite telling that even discounting Romantic Expressionism, Annie has been shipped in-show with every member of the study group except for Pierce (who has explicitly stated that Annie is his favorite) and Shirley. It's canon that Annie had a crush on Troy in high school and for the first half of the first season, Annie and Jeff kiss in Debate 109 and Pascal's Triangle Revisited in addition to all their Ship Tease, Annie and Abed (as Han Solo) kiss in For a Few Paintballs More, and Annie starts to go in for a kiss with Britta in Early 21st Century Romanticism. And this for a girl they try not to sexualize too much.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Six seasons and a movie!"
    • "I have the weirdest boner."
    • "Annie's pretty young. We try not to sexualize her."
    • "The Lord is testing me."
    • "This better not awaken anything in me."
    • Britta'd it.
    • "Oh, Britta's in this?", in response to anything featuring Britta or her actress, Gillian Jacobs.
    • Streets ahead.
      • And if you don't know what that means, you're clearly streets behind.
    • Most stuff Chang says: "Senor Chang is a man who cannot die.", "Magic user, baby, what?!"
    • Whovians were quick to latch onto the Doctor Who Affectionate Parody "Inspector Spacetime" from the third season premiere. There's even a parody Tumblr confessions blog for it now.
    • After Dan Harmon was fired as the showrunner, the mantra "Dan Harmon is a genius and I will die protecting his vision" sprung up around the place in support, often accompanied with a .gif or image of Annie saying the same thing about the Dean in "Documentary Making Redux". To which a few interesting and (probably) unintentional layers are added when you remember that the clip being used is, in context, the result of Annie experiencing a stress-related nervous breakdown as a result of the Dean's increasingly tyrannical, preening and out-of-control behaviour as his creative baby spirals rapidly out of control. While people have tended to be more inclined to support Harmon than not (particularly in regard to things like his feud with Chevy Chase and his being fired from the show) some reports have suggested — including, it should be acknowledged, those of Harmon himself — that this isn't an entirely unfair summary from how Harmon would conduct himself on set.
    • "POP POP!"
    • The scene in "Remedial Chaos Theory" where Troy walks into the fire-ridden apartment has been put to popular use at Tumblr. The best usage of it is when someone finds that their particular fandom has gone haywire.
    • Just so you know, you have now created [X] different timelines!
      • Sure/Of course I/they did, [Insert Name Here].
      • Dammit, [Insert Name Here], there are no other timelines!
      • Wait, there are other timelines?
    • "Abed is Batman Now".
    • Thanks to Superior Spider-Man using it in the first issue of the series, the Spider-Man fandom adopted "Crazy Town Banana Pants".
    • Fat Dog.
    • Responding to bear jokes with "Too soon."
    • Using the MeowMeow Beenz rating system from "App Development And Condiments" (for example, a fan describing something they've seen which they like with "Five MeowMeow Beenz").
    • "It's December 10th!" is especially popular around the holidays.
    • Jesus wept! for there were no more memes to conquer!
    • "I'm literally dying."
  • Moe: Annie could give Mikuru a run for her money.
    • Abed most likely wasn't an intentional example, but his generally gentle and adorkable disposition (along with the increasing number of woobie moments he gets over the course of the series) can evoke this.
  • Nightmare Fuel: There's something deeply unsettling about "Greendale Babies", the Imagine Spot "happy place within a happy place" TV series Abed creates inside his head in Season 4. It's all cheery and bright, but it takes place in a confined room, and the premise seems to be that all our beloved characters are stuck in some sort of infinite childhood. Plus, you know, there's a stuffed Human Being plush.
    Abed: Greendale Babies will be right back. Forever!
    • Don't forget about the "Human being" costume. Brrr...
  • No Yay: "Physical Education" has a scene where Jeff has a pool match with his aging, overweight new billiards instructor. It features both of them getting naked and the instructor walking up to Jeff while both are still naked and then kissing him on the lips.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble:
    • The first half of Season 1 make it clear that the obligatory sitcom romantic sub-plot was meant to be between Jeff and Britta; however, as early as the sixth episode a side-plot involving Jeff and Annie had a few moments of Throw It In! chemistry between the two, even though the plot of the episode was nominally about Jeff becoming a better friend by helping Annie pursue Troy. By the end of the first season, this had snowballed into Annie becoming Jeff's Third-Option Love Interest when he's torn between Britta and Slater, and though Jeff/Britta gets resurrected every season or so for a couple of episodes, Jeff/Annie quickly became the central Will They or Won't They? dynamic of the show.
    • Troy and Britta's relationship at the end of the third season was left very ambiguous to some. What was pretty clear was that Troy was moving into the Dreamatorium, but some people interpreted Britta holding a bag as her moving in as well (despite the fact they weren't even necessarily a couple yet). The beginning of the next season reveals they had started dating at some point.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: In the first few episodes, Britta seemed to be the typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl-slash-Women Are Wiser love interest, which came off as pretty bland and cliched compared to the rest of the cast. As the first season went on the writers and actress started playing her as being So Unfunny, It's Funny and Adorkable, with fans starting to find her a lot more likable as a result.
    Britta: Do you know sugar is like baby meth? That’s what my homeopath says.
  • Retroactive Recognition: While Brie Larson wasn't exactly unknown when she guest-starred in Seasons 4 and 5, her profile has since risen exponentially as a result of her Academy Award-winning turn in Room. This effect was magnified further by her performance as the titular character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe tentpole Captain Marvel, which grossed over one billion USD worldwide in 2019.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Season 3 was considered by some fans to be weaker than the previous two. By this point most of the regular writers for the first two seasons had long since departed, the increased darkness wound up dividing the fans on its overall quality, and the show's trademark meta episodes focused entirely on whatever the episode was currently parodying at the cost of flanderizing every single character on the show (such as Jeff's smugness, Shirley's Holier Than Thou tendencies, Troy's diminishing intelligence, Britta's Butt-Monkey status, etc.), something the first two seasons had taken steps to avoid. Related to that, the same season also introduced the Inspector Spacetime Running Gag which was fairly controversial, so much that Season 4 would later only feature it in one episode and Season 5 would drop it entirely. There's also a faction that believes it's the best of all six seasons, leaving a bit of a broken base as far as it's concerned.
      • To make things more complicated, it's generally agreed to have some the best episodes of the show's entire run ("Remedial Chaos Theory", "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux", "Pillows and Blankets", "Basic Lupine Urology," and "Curriculum Unavailable") even though some believe it's the weakest season of Harmon's initial tenure overall.
    • Season 4 plays this straighter, having lost both showrunner Dan Harmon and writer Chris McKenna, who wrote some of the most acclaimed episodes of the show; neither the Changnesia plot or the romance between Troy and Britta are handled that well; several Running Gags from earlier seasons are either overused or overplayed (notably, the season ends with a Paintball Finale despite this being an acknowledged Overused Running Gag in Season 3); the characters in general are either regressed back to earlier stages of their Character Development or just "tread water" (making no interesting changes in any real direction); and Chevy Chase, due to his displeasure with Pierce becoming even more bigoted than before, outright quit the show towards the end of production and had to be hastily written out of the episodes he was yet to shoot.
    • Season 5 was not quite able to escape this, either. Although the season started off strong, some feel that the episodes after Troy left were largely hit or miss, with the finale being seen as far less consequential than the ones from the earlier seasons.
    • The fan and critical reactions to Season 6 were also somewhat divisive due to yet more new characters and increasingly obscure and alienating premises for episodes. Like Season 5, the propensity for wry, self-aware meta-commentary vs. leaning into straight-up humor was a source of debate. That said, response to both Paget Brewster's and Keith David's performances were positive, and the series finale received high acclaim.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Community fans get along well generally, but there is some Britta vs. Annie sparring when it comes to who should end up with Jeff. If you root for Jeff/Britta as your OTP, Jeff/Annie shippers will have a field day ranting about how supposedly unlikable Britta is or how the duo lacks romantic chemistry. If you openly advocate Jeff/Annie, the BP&J shippers will declare their disgust with the age gap and claim that their massive differences could never be reconcilable in a relationship. Shippers of all other pairings seem to be much more civil.
  • Ship Mates:
    • Fans of Jeff/Annie will often ship Troy/Britta, who in Season 1 were romantically linked to Annie and Jeff respectively in canon. On the flip-side, Jeff/Britta shippers will often ship Troy/Annie (or Annie/Abed), in order to keep Annie away from Jeff.
    • Annie/Abed fans have a slight problem doing this in a way that hinders their ship. If they ship Troy/Britta it leaves the Jeff/Annie ship open. If they ship Jeff/Britta it leaves the earlier Annie/Troy ship open. With Troy/Britta being sunk and Troy's departure in the fifth season, it makes Jeff/Britta the obvious choice of ship mate pairing.
  • Shipping Bed Death: More than a few fans of Britta/Troy ended up being disappointed when they actually got together because the writers seemed unable to do anything interesting with them. Considering they'd been getting ship teases from the first season, the fact that almost no one was sad they broke up is rather telling.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • Britta/Troy is sunk without much fanfare toward the end of Season 4.
    • Annie/Abed was sunk in Season 5, with the revelation that Abed was catfishing Annie so she'd make better breakfasts, followed by Annie invoking Like Brother and Sister with Abed in "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing".
  • Signature Episode: "Modern Warfare" and "Remedial Chaos Theory" are easily the series' most highly regarded and well-remembered episodes, for encompassing everything that set the show apart from the standard sitcom and made it genuinely unique.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • Subverted. At first it appears that Pierce is going to have slightly changed Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Is", for the new school song (the intro notes are indeed slightly different from the original). Subverted when it turns out the rest of the song is exactly the same.
    Abed: Can they sue us?
    Jeff: Don't know. (Pierce sings the line "Greendale's the way it goes") Yeah, they got us.
    • Played straight during the first Valentine's Episode, where Troy and Pierce dance with Chang to a song very similar to The Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow."
    • The end credits theme is very similar to the Fine Young Cannibals song "Good Thing".
  • Squick: Jeff and Annie's Ship Tease for some, due to the age difference.
    Jeff: But now you're becoming this mature, self possessed, intelligent young woman, and I can't keep patting you on the head or talking down to you.
    Annie: But I like how close we are; I don't wanna grow up if it means losing what we have.
    Jeff: Well, tough, Annie. You have to grow up because the world needs more women like you. Can't keep doin' this forever, kiddo.
    [He takes her gently by the chin.]
    Annie: Can't we?
    Jeff: Nope. I can't. No. No.
    Annie: [simultaneously] No, that's gross. I feel gross.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The general consensus regarding the Dan Harmon-less Season 4. It should be noted, this was also the cast's reaction to the season, with Joel McHale leading them in getting Harmon rehired as showrunner for the fifth season.
    • The loss of both Pierce and Troy in Season 5, followed by the loss of Shirley in Season 6 elicited this response from some people.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • A few episodes of Season 3 seem to hint at Jeff suffering some kind of mental breakdown, but nothing ever comes of it.
    • Britta and Troy's relationship in the fourth season. After being established as a couple in the first few episodes, their relationship is barely mentioned before they break-up towards the end of the season, which arguably comes out of nowhere because the writers seemingly forgot they were dating for most of the season.
    • After setting Jeff up as a Greendale teacher in "Repilot", only one episode of Season 5 actually focuses on Jeff being a teacher (and that was the episode immediately after "Repilot"), leading some viewers to complain of a missed opportunity to explore Greendale's eccentric teaching staff in the same way that the previous seasons had explored the eccentric student body.
    • An early episode in Season 5 implied an Odd Friendship was beginning to form between Abed and Shirley (two characters who almost never interact). Nothing ever came of it.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The Greendale Human Being seems to be an intentional attempt to invoke this trope.
    • The stop-motion figures in "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas." Britta's is especially bad. Hilariously, the normally expressionless Abed looked the most human. Possible Fridge Brilliance as we see all the events through Abed's perspective, and he's experiencing a mental breakdown throughout the episode.
    • Annie's werewolf transformation in her scary story from "Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps"
    • Mr. Rad's creepy face when he lets his pleasant mask slip. Taran Killam's very, very good at making his eyes go dead.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The portrayal of the homosexual community in "Advanced Gay" was met with some criticism. To Dan Harmon's credit, he admitted that a few of the concerns were actually pretty valid and apologized, promising to be more aware of the issue in the future.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Pierce and Chang. Both are often barely tolerated by the rest of the group, but they're popular characters with the fans.
    • Britta. Although not exactly disliked by the other characters, they frequently call her a killjoy. Evidently her colleagues at work don't like her much either. And she's apparently not too popular with the rest of the Greendale student body either:
    Vicki: You're the worst.
    Britta: She's just saying that to fit in!
    • The study group in general appears to be this to some degree; they're very close-knit with each other and are, of course, very popular with the fans of the show, but there's some evidence to suggest that they're not that well liked among the student body at large in Greendale.
      • Although given that they are very judgmental regarding who they socialize with, it really isn't that hard to believe.
    • Abed, unusually, appears to subvert this. He's in many ways the show's Breakout Character, being very popular with viewers — however, of all the study group, he appears to be the one who has the most friends outside the study group, or at least is on reasonably friendly terms with more people. Which is particularly interesting given how a frequent subplot is how he finds it difficult to connect with people.
      • Though it does make sense if you consider Abed's analytical abilities — it's not a stretch to believe that he could use them to determine what other people might respond well to, à la playing Don Draper or Han Solo for Annie.
    • Dean Pelton is also a popular character with fans, but in-universe he's clearly not respected by his staff and the Study Group finds him irritating more often than not. It's made explicitly clear in "Introduction to Teaching" when the Save Greendale Committee is formed and their first order of business is to bar him from attending meetings.
  • The Un-Twist: Chang is lying about his "Changnesia" in Season 4.
  • The Woobie:
    • According to Word of God, Britta was designed to become this over the course of the series, especially in the Season 1 finale. Her self-esteem issues are certainly often referred to.
    • Abed also becomes this, particularly in "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas".
      • Then the second half of Season 3 hits, exploring more of Abed we never knew. Virtual Systems Analysis has major insight to his issues.
      • Britta also becomes this in "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" after Abed expels her from his Christmas fantasy because she tricked him into a therapy session; she protests that she was genuinely concerned about him and was trying to help him, and is clearly quite hurt by his rebuttal song that she's basically a broken robot with no faith in anything.
    • All of the main characters, and more than a few of the minor ones, have had their moment of Woobie-dom; no matter how big a Jerkass they might be at times, it's also quite clear that they're all broken and vulnerable people to some extent.
    • Todd in "Competitive Ecology". Possibly the nicest guy on the show and an Iraq War veteran to boot, he spends the entire episode as the study group's punching bag (he is even insulted by some of the nicer members like Troy and Annie), none of whom want to be lab partners with him.
    • The Dean can become like this, at times.
    • Professor Kane. He spent 25 years in prison for a crime it's implied he didn't committ, dealt with some horrible students, and quit after a nervous breakdown from the death of Starburns. It gets worse when you find out Starburns faked his death, meaning Kane quit over nothing.


Example of: