Community is a comedy jam-packed with great humor, recurring jokes, clever references and gags that are sometimes just barely noticeable but all the more brilliant for their subtlety. Hopefully, Season 4 will continue to build onto the list of excellent pop culture references and homages, character obsessions and quirks, and everything else that makes Community such a unique and hilarious comedy. In anticipation of tonight's premiere, here are ten great recurring jokes featured in the series over the course of the first three seasons, some of which we wouldn't be surprised to see revisited at some point during Season 4.
1. Abed's Impersonations
Danny Pudi is a great actor and even though it’s an absolute pleasure to watch him play Abed, uh, normal, not to mention Evil Abed, it is also a special treat to see him break into pop cultural impersonations. The most famous of these is probably his appearance as Batman but I prefer the two examples that happened to catch Annie’s eye. The two in question, of course, are his stints as Han Solo and Don Draper. The Mad Men references also ties into the next category since Alison Brie has the AMC drama on her résumé.
2. Résumés or In Real Life
It would probably be impossible to name every time Community made a reference to the talent’s real lives and bodies of work because creator Dan Harmon aka the founder of Greendale aka Dan(ielle) Harmon aka the God of Farts doesn’t shy away from the opportunity. Some favorites include: Annie being called Hannah Montana or Gillian Jacobs’s Cherry Daiquiri being mentioned. Jeff talking about how great Soup is during one of his big speeches. Or the show acknowledging Donald Glover’s social media bid to be Spider-Man (and Spider-Man 2) as well as his actual upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness. The Russo Brothers directed the pilot for NBC’s Running Wilde, hence the barrells and finally, the best of the bunch, ”nice sweater.”
3. Cougar Town
Another great running gag is Abed’s fascination with the ABC turned TBS sitcom Cougar Town. His primary TV indulgence before Professor Spacetime (found only because the Courteney Cox comedy was moved to midseason), Abed’s history with Cougar Town started with a simple story about being an extra on an episode. This tale was made true shortly thereafter when ’Chad’ sat happily in the background. One turn deserves another and Busy Phillips and Dan Byrd stopped by to watch some paintball. Some say that this flying gag is a tribute to the opening song of Season 3 but it’s nice when the shout-outs are clearly stated, like right in the opening titles.