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The 10 Best Episodes of NBC's "Community"

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | December 8, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | December 8, 2011 |

Today, I bring you one of the most difficult lists I’ve ever attempted to compile. I thought it would be much easier. There’d be Modern Warfare and hey! Last week’s episode was amazing, so that’d probably make into the top ten and the zombie Halloween episode and then … as I began to look over the 59 episodes of “Community” so far, narrowing it down to the ten best became another one of those fool’s errands. Ultimately, last week’s phenomenal episode, “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism” didn’t even make the cut. Nor did “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” and although many of you may voice your complaints about what has been left off, consider this: How many sitcoms have enough brilliant, funny, sweet, and heart-achy episodes to allow for the possibility of debate? That’s how good Dan Harmon’s sitcom has been so far, and that’s how much many of us will miss it after tonight. Your favorite may not be on the list, but as you look down, it’s hard to argue against including any of these ten.

Here are (arguably) the 10 Best Episodes of “Community” so far.

10. Physical Education (Season 1, Episode 17) Jeff refuses to participate in a pool class because the teacher forces him to play in gym shorts, and the study group discovers a white version of Abed at the college.


9. Paradigms of Human Memory (Season 2, Episode 21): As the study group gathers to assemble their 20th and final Anthropology diorama of the year, they begin reminiscing about their favorite times together - including a trip they made to a western ghost town, a last minute glee club performance and the array of costumes that Dean Pelton has managed to wear over the year. Meanwhile, Troy’s pet monkey returns, only to disappear back into the school’s ventilation system.


8. Critical Film Studies (Season 2, Episode 19): Jeff’s “Pulp Fiction”-themed surprise party for Abed is spoiled when Abed tells him over dinner that he’s done with pop culture. But is this confession actually just part of another movie homage?


7. Contemporary American Poultry (Season 1, Episode 21): Jeff’s plan to get chicken fingers from the school cafeteria for the study group quickly evolves into a mafia movie-style endeavor with Abed calling all the shots.


6. Epidemiology (Season 2, Episode 6): The study group is left to fend for themselves by Dean Pelton during a rabies outbreak due to tainted food at Greendale’s Halloween party.


5. A Fistful of Paintballs/For a Few Paintballs More (Season 2, Episode 23, 24): In a “spaghetti western” parody, Pierce tries to get revenge on the rest of the study group during this year’s paintball tournament.When the study group learns that there’s a sinister plot behind the paintball tournament, they unite the remaining players to defeat the enemy.


4. Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design (Season 2, Episode 9): Dean Pelton tries to bust Jeff for a phony night school credit, which only unveils a series of conspiracies, plots, and double-crosses between Jeff, Annie, and the dean.


3. Advanced Dungeous and Dragons (Season 2, Episode 14): The study group plays Dungeons & Dragons with another classmate to improve his spirits, but Pierce’s jealousies cause their good intentions to backfire.


2. Remedial Chaos Theory (Season 3, Episode 4): At Abed and Troy’s housewarming party, Jeff decides to let the decision on who gets the pizza rest on the roll of the dice, leaving Abed to contemplate six alternate realities.


1. Modern Warfare (Season 1, Episode 23): Greendale Comunity College is transformed into an apocalyptic war zone when the dean promises the winner of a paintball competition priority registration, and it could fan the flames of sexual tension between Jeff and Britta.


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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.