You might have heard that Community is a show that is on television.  And you may have also heard that it is a great show that is totally worth watching.  (And you may have also heard about what’s been going on behind the scenes at Community.)  Well, you’ve heard correctly.  It will be returning for a fourth season on Friday, October 19.  But first, let’s take a look back at the best scenes of Season 3 (which was recently released on DVD).

(Note: Some of the embedded videos do not show the entire scene, but they were the best that I could find.  If anyone knows where to find better videos, please let me know!)

20. Pointing out the celebrity lookalikes (“Contemporary Impressionists”)
What do you know, it turns out that every member of the study group (not just the guy who’s more handsome than the guy who’s famous for being handsome) has a celebrity doppelgänger (including both versions of Michael Jackson).

19. “You’re a bad person.” (“Curriculum Unavailable”)
Abed’s sentencing of Shirley was cruel cruel cruel,  but the opinion that prompted it was true true true.

18. Britta’s scary story (“Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps”) (This scene lasts until 0:43 in the video.)
She totally Britta’ed telling a scary story, to our delight.

17. Starburns memorial tag (“Course Listing Unavailable”)
A silly use of green screen for a silly man who has never realized how silly he is.

16. Abed’s stand-up tag (“Origins of Vampire Mythology”)
Abed’s too-specific-to-his apartment comedy stylings served as a kind of a meta-joke about how esoterically inaccessible Community can seem to the uninitiated.

15. “These your friends, Pierce?” (“Advanced Gay”) (This video includes only the very beginning of the chosen scene.)
Archaic forms of prejudice equal comic gold.  Thus Cornelius Hawthorne is a comic masterpiece.

14. Annie’s Model U.N. tantrum (“Geography of Global Conflict”)
Annie screaming: usually a good sign that comedy gold is about to be struck.  Alison Brie deserves for completely going for it with the jumping up and down, fist pounding, and thrashing about.

13. “Maybe I need to take one.  A test, not a penis.”: “Competitive Ecology” tag
Classic Britta: she’s not dumb so much as she sees things hilariously differently than everyone else.

12. “It’s not working.”/“I wonder how many women I’ve affected this way.” (“Origins of Vampire Mythology”)
A bit of beefcake just because they can, and forced laughter with varied subtext.

11. 2001 homage hallucination (“Biology 101”)
A scene of brilliant setpieces that managed to elucidate both Jeff and Pierce’s relationship as well as 2001 itself.

10. Karaoke (“Studies in Modern Movement”)
Jeff Winger learns to like liking things by way of karaoke.  But there is a lot more going on here than just learning to enjoy a cheesy hobby, as underscored by the editing that checks in on all the other storylines of this episode.

9. Britta the grief causer (“Course Listing Unavailable”)
A classic example of comic interruptions, with Jeff Winger butting in on Britta Perry the ultimate antagonistic pair.

8. Season-opening fantasy song and dance (“Biology 101”)
What does Jeff Winger want his life to look like?  What is his fantasy?  By his third year back at school, it is a Greendale filled with the friends he has made (minus Pierce).  This place where he is, is the place where he wants to be, deeply within his subconscious, and this is conveyed through a delightful song and dance routine.  Also, we get to see Alison Brie’s butt. (Photo courtesy of fishsticktheatre.com)

7. “The people at the bank loved my outfit!” (“Virtual Systems Analysis”)
Dean Pelton has a crisis about his eccentric lifestyle, but he is lucky to meet a group of accepting, curious people, and he cannot wait to tell his favorite people all about it.

6. Darkest timeline tag (“Remedial Chaos Theory”)
Goofy in a way that an alternate timeline can get away with being, this tag also served as the antithesis of what the study group strived to be in Season 3.

5. “Baby Boomer Santa” (“Regional Holiday Music”)
Annie explained it best: “They’re just trying to pander to your demographic’s well-documented historical vanity.”  And Pierce punctuated it: “You’re welcome, for everything in the world!

4. Troy gets the pizza (the darkest timeline) (“Remedial Chaos Theory”)
One disaster leads to another bizarrely, yet logically, in a perfectly staged piece of physical comedy.

3. “Origins of Vampire Mythology” cold opening
There were times during Season 3 when I missed the scenes of the study group just sitting around the table, goofing off and talking about whatever, which seemed to be rarer and rarer these days.  Then, “Origins of Vampire Mythology” comes along and has possibly the best such scene in the show’s history.  The pieces were all there ragging on Britta, Pierce almost being cool, Jeff explaining everything, Troy and Abed geeking out, and Annie and Shirley aww-ing and laughing.

2. Greendale Asylum (“Curriculum Unavailable”)
If there was any show that deserved a Shutter Island twist ending homage, it was Community.  The idea that the study group’s adventures at Greendale were all just a shared illusion felt like it could have made perfect sense, but thankfully it was determined that it actually made no sense at all (even though, for a second at least, it really felt like it could have been the perfect explanation).  And the replays of previous scenes in the asylum setting were at least as awesome as their original appearances.

1. “Teach Me How to Understand Christmas” (“Regional Holiday Music”)
A perfect representation of Jeff and Annie’s “would they, might they?” relationship: hotter than it has a right to be, yet creepier than it really needs to be.  There is inevitably a push-pull dynamic between them whenever there appears to be a chance of development.  Jeff knows that he wants Annie, and by this point, he has more or less made peace with this desire.  But whenever Annie makes herself available, it just serves to repulse them away from each other.  Still, Jeff’s “whaaaat” indicates how flabbergasted he is by how much he “craves young flesh.”  Beyond the context of where it fits into the arc of season 3 of Community, the “Teach Me How to Understand Christmas” routine is an incredible moment in and of itself: Alison Brie brutally deconstructs the idea that turning dumb and talking baby talk makes women hot, while still managing to be the most unbearably sexy she has ever been.

Honorable Mentions:
Filming the hugging scene (“Documentary Filmmaking: Redux”), “I implanted your memories!” (“Digital Exploration of Interior Design”), Pillowman (“Pillows & Blankets”), “Me so Christmas, me so merry” (“Regional Holiday Music”), Abed’s scary story (“Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps”), “I’m thinking about breaking into the TV game.” (“Documentary Filmmaking: Redux”), “No such thing as bad press” (“Introduction to Finality”), Retrieving the friendship hats (“Pillows & Blankets”), Annie kills the blacksmith (“Digital Estate Planning”), The Dean reacts to Jeff in shades (“Contemporary Impressionists”), Abed’s cut of the commercial (“Documentary Filmmaking: Redux”), “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism” tag: Frozen pizza review/“Introduction to Finality” tag: Let’s Potato Chips review, Straw jerking (“Geography of Global Conflict”), Therapy with Evil Abed (“Introduction to Finality”), “Introduction to Finality” ending montage, “Basic Lupine Urology” opening credits, Greendale’s old commercial (“Documentary Filmmaking: Redux”), Reporting the “burglary” to Officer Cackowski (“Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism”), “Britta, don’t make jokes!” (“Studies in Modern Movement”), Jeff and Britta “getting married” (“Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts”), Discovering the charred remains of Chang’s closet (“Competitive Ecology”)

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