Who says cable-TV snark doesn’t translate well to prime-time mass entertainment? Talk Soup grad Greg Kinnear has proven a fine film actor, and now The Soup‘s Joel McHale slips comfortably into a likable-wise-guy role as the star of Community. One of the new season’s best sitcoms, Community features McHale as a lawyer with a foreign-country law degree who must return to school to remain legit.
The premise puts McHale in a drab community college and surrounds him with oddballs, losers, and a pretty blonde (Gillian Jacobs). The result? McHale gets to flirt and insult to his heart’s content, and he’s impishly believable in both modes. The supporting cast members manage to make each of their sad little lives amusing, so what could have been a downer of a show is often absurdly funny. That’s never more true than when Chevy Chase, upping his WASP quotient and dimming his IQ to its lowest wattage, turns up as a would-be-hip baby boomer. Between McHale and Chase, Community has every TV comedy style covered. B+ (Moves to 8 p.m. Oct. 8)