Now that this cult comedy has moved from NBC to Yahoo! (dropping a new episode every week, following the first two, which premiered today), creator Dan Harmon has freed it from the network-television structure he once described this way: There’s the setup, then the funny costumes, then “everyone apologizes…and then a tag where maybe someone has a fern on their head.”
The first two episodes of season 6 have loose plots—the first centers on newcomer Frankie (Paget Brewster), who describes Greendale as “weird, passionate, gross”; the second focuses on a virtual-reality game—but really, they’re just great excuses for fans to geek out on what they love most about Community, from the endless stream of nostalgic pop culture references (The Lawnmower Man!) to the clever inside jokes about the show itself. (Watch for Abed’s riff on the fact that everyone’s getting older but no one has graduated yet.)
The comic timing isn’t as tightly paced as it once was, but there’s a certain WTF thrill in watching story lines meander wherever they please, even if it’s into a joke about the Portuguese version of Gremlins. I laughed out loud at a random montage that Jeff (Joel McHale) calls “Everyone on Campus Getting as Drunk as They Want.” Stay weird, Community. Stay passionate. And hey, we’ll even take gross.