By Amanda Taylor
Updated February 07, 2013 at 12:00 PM EST
Credit: Jordin Althaus/NBC
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Troy and Abed are, indeed, back from summer — and it has been far too long a summer if you ask me. The void in our hearts and souls that was left by Community’s long absence is filled once again.

Not two minutes into the season premiere, Jeff Winger announces his presence: “Congratulations, it’s me.” And all right, perhaps there was a little squeal and some applause on my end. But what’s this? I’m not the only one clapping! A laugh and applause track appears to have been added by the show’s new runners, Moses Port and David Guarascio. In an attempt to make the show more mainstream.…

Just kidding. It’s only Abed’s happy place. But what a clever nod to the fact that certain elements of the show — notably, creator Dan Harmon — are no longer with us. Does the show need an update? Will it be the same without the supporting cast and crew that made us rabid fans in the first place?

The fact that they started with the scenario Abed created in his nervous-about-senior-year head leads me to believe the new bosses know what we like. And we’re off and running with a pan of Shirley’s brownies (and her purse), Abed’s shaky grip on reality and Britta’s therapizing enthusiasm.

Annie has decided she’s going to do senioritis this year, which includes blowin’ off class, pullin’ pranks and not sayin’ her g’s. I love it when Annie tries to be anything she is not, which always lasts about three seconds. Except when she was Caroline from Corpus Christi — she was unnecessarily committed to that.

As for the Troy and Britta scenario, I’m not buying it. There’s no spark there! I mean, they’re bantering, but there’s none of that juicy sexual tension. It’s like a couple kids. Not that I don’t love Troy, I mean he wished for the Dorito taco (thank you), but I want to see him with someone… not Britta. (Fine, I want Britta and Jeff together. And obviously, Abed is also a major Jeff/Britta shipper too, once you get into his head’s title sequence about The Greendale Seven.)

Is it just me, or do Dean Pelton’s entrances get better with age? Where is the talking doll of Jim Rash with a cord in the back — “comes with over 100 different Dean puns?” I would absolutely buy that.

I’m curious, does anyone think that Community started secretly auditioning Chevy Chase replacements, but working it in as a gag? Will we see Pierce played not just by Fred Willard but by others as the season goes by? Frankly, I think Willard nailed it.

By a raise of hands, who else has “Greendale Babies” stuck in their heads? I did not see that coming, but now that it’s here it won’t leave. Abed is burrowing into the past, making sure his world stays the same — resulting in a great animated moment with baby Jeff lifting rattles and baby Annie’s insanely huge baby eyes leading me to think “…is there spinoff potential here?” Greendale Babies, Greendale Babies…

Only through multiple layers of storytelling were Abed — and the rest of us — eased into senior year. I’m fine! I mean f-Y-n-e. Thanks to Jeff’s speech about change, and Abed’s poignant realization that the past was once the unknown future, I think it’s safe to say that the Study Group is reassuring us this season will be just as good as the last three. It’s very much a bittersweet feeling, with the uncertainty of the show’s survival (#sixseasonsandamovie), but I’ll say one thing — when I feel overwhelmed, I go to my happy place in Study Room F. Seniors!

(Also I’m calling my cable company to get a subscription to Abed TV. Blind/Blonde looks great.)

Best Costume: Sadly, this award does not to go Dean Pelton, who had a great showing as Katniss and Leo DiCaprio, but to the men pulling the Dean’s chariot. Those unicorn mane wigs were nothing short of inspired.

Best Unnecessary Celebrity Reference: “Here’s the deal, Jessica Biel …” –Britta, a surprisingly good one for someone who once said “My oh my, Mike Ty… son.” She’s learning!

Best Quotes: “I’ve got Friends with Benefits… no subtext.” –The Dean’s proposal to his new neighbor

“Don’t ruin it by approvin’ it.” –Jeff, refusing to be the good guy

“Why does this feel good?” –Troy while being choked by progressive girlfriend Britta

“Whatevs, we’ll take it next semes. Ter. Semester.” –New, cool senioritis Annie in reference to the needed history credit

“This isn’t a conversation, is it?” –Shirley while listening to Annie’s diatribe

“While they were incepting, I got their balls.” –Leonard, taking the prize

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Joel McHale and Alison Brie star in this comedy about a community college study group that turns into a surrogate family.
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