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There’s really an endless number of things to love about Community, from its wildly inventive, pop culture-referencing storylines to its fantastic dialogue and witty catchphrases, but one can make the argument that what truly makes Dan Harmon’s show so brilliant is its characters. Greendale Community College is home to some of the biggest weirdos and oddballs to ever find themselves on television, and that includes both the diverse student body as well as the faculty and staff. And today we’re going to celebrate them.
With Community airing the first two episodes of its sixth season earlier this week on Yahoo TV, we decided that this was the perfect time to look back at the many weird and wild personalities we’ve met on the show and rank our favorites – including both the leads as well as series regulars. Who made it on to the list? Read on to find out!
20. Alan ConnorRob Corddry’s Alan Connor may be the slimiest of slimy assholes, but Community fans do owe his character an honest bit of gratitude. After all, it was he who was responsible not once but twice for driving Jeff Winger towards Greendale – first exposing Jeff’s fake law degree, and then getting Jeff to return after graduation to try and sue the school. Even beyond that, though, he’s one of the show’s better principal antagonists, and both his cockiness and personal failures are great comedic material. There’s a part of me that hopes he will someday find himself as a part of the GCC student body.
19. Vice Dean Robert LaybourneIt wasn’t exactly hard to predict that the combination of John Goodman and Community would prove to be a winning formula, but I still think the character of Vice Dean Robert Laybourne turned out better than any of us could have predicted. Sure, he started off as a more standard powerful force threatening to destroy Greendale, but as Season 3 went on he just became that much weirder and better, using strange methods to lure Troy to the air conditioning repair school, and eventually growing a goatee and a ponytail while “going through some stuff.” He had the exact right level of weirdness to fit in perfectly with the society at Greendale, and that’s what secured his place on this Top 20.
18. Todd JacobsonThere are a number of people who have suffered a great deal thanks to the often thoughtless and callous actions of Community’s main cast, but one can argue that nobody has suffered quite to the degree of David Neher’s Todd Jacobson. The guy has always come across as sweet, nice, and helpful – not to mention the fact that he’s a veteran with a young child – and yet he’s regularly found himself the victim of torment and ridicule, simply for not really fitting in with the “study group.” Thankfully, he doesn’t always just grin and bear it, however, and whenever he reaches his breaking point the results are hilarious.
17. MagnitudeOn any other show, Luke Youngblood’s Magnitude would have just been a one-off character, introduced as a one man party machine brought in to liven up an impromptu event at Jeff’s apartment, but the Community writers have been brilliant enough to bring him back again and again and turn him into one of the show’s most iconic characters. Sure, he doesn’t say a whole lot more than “Pop, pop!” – and we are often laughing at him as much as we are laughing with him – but do you honestly not feel like cheering whenever you hear his catch phrase?
16. Annie’s BoobsIt’s strange to think that Annie’s Boobs – played by Crystal The Money – merely started off as a gift from Abed to Troy for great chicken finger sales, because the character really has become so much more within the history of the show. I mean, she was the crafty sneak who stole Annie’s pen, driving the study group temporarily insane, and it was even her penchant for hoarding that led to one of the greatest clip episodes ever on television. It’s sad that we haven’t seen Annie’s Boobs since Season 4, but hopefully she will make her way back to Greendale soon.
15. Fat NeilTo be honest, Charley Koontz's Fat Neil earns his spot on this list solely for his part in bringing the magic of Dungeons & Dragons to the world of Community , but what certainly legitimizes his ranking is the fact that he’s become a wonderful background/bit player on the show who has been regularly perfectly utilized. I will say that part of me wanted to drop him down on the list due to his yam sabotage, but dammit people, he did it for love.
14. Garrett LambertThere’s no need to call for a crisis alert: we would never leave Erik Charles Nielson’s Garrett Lambert off of this list. The guy is easily one of the most ridiculous members of the Greendale community, and basically a walking disaster zone (no matter how many times they try to save him), but there’s truly nobody else that you want around whenever a high-pitched call of panic needs to be heard by the entire student body. Whether it’s the Ass-Crack Bandit, or a Frisbee avalanche, he’s basically Community’s alert system.
13. Leonard RodriguezI think it’s safe to call Richard Erdman’s Leonard Rodriguez the greatest raspberry-blowing, rebellious old dude in the history of television – not to mention one of the supreme insult-receivers. After all, the guy has been told to shut up seemingly hundreds of times, and has had so many bad secrets exposed, but he has never let that stop him from sharing his excellent wit and perfect comedic timing with the community at Greendale. Plus, I will admit that I am a regular viewer of both his pizza and potato chip reviews on YouTube. That’s good stuff!
12. Buzz HickeyHe may have only been around for one season - so far - but Jonathan Banks’ Buzz Hickey made enough of an impact that he’s found himself at the Number 12 spot on our list. We all expected him to be funny because of Banks’ excellent ability to play gruff and surly, but what was amazing about Hickey was both that he had a legitimate softer side that came through (gotta love that duck) and also brought a completely new dynamic to the show (no other character has been as straight-shooting when dealing with Abed). He was an excellent Season 5 addition, and hopefully he’ll return some day.
11. Dr. Ian DuncanAs much as I enjoy Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, there is definitely a big part of me that hates it for taking Dr. Ian Duncan away from Community. It’s true that the character’s presence at Greendale over the years has been a bit sporadic, but he’ll always have a special role in our hearts thanks to his unfortunate drinking problem, his extended, ridiculous longing to bang Britta, and just for being one of the first people who would actually break through Jeff’s social barriers and be a real friend to the lawyer with a heart of ice.
10. Alex ‘Starburns’ OsbournConsider the arc of Dino Stamatopoulos’ Alex ‘Starburns’ Osbourn for just a moment and you’ll understand his high ranking on this list. This is a character who shaved stars into his face, tried to take attention away from them by adding a hat and a lizard to his look, faked his death in a meth lab explosion, and then came back into continuity trying to raise support for his invention, The Cat Car. It’s impossible not to appreciate an individual this wholly bizarre and without question fits into Community’s top 10.
9. Ben ChangThere are a lot of crazy people who have wound up inside the walls of Greendale Community College, but Ken Jeong’s Ben Chang may be the only legitimate psycho – and it’s constantly surprising just how funny he is. The writers of Community are absolutely amazing at making sure that Jeong’s in-your-face energy never becomes too much, and while Chang has changed an incredible deal over five seasons, he’s always evolved into something weirder and funnier than before. If the first two episodes of Season 6 are any indication, this pattern isn’t ending any time soon.
8. Pierce HawthorneThere is a degree to which the behind the scenes drama involving Chevy Chase and Dan Harmon does color the legacy of Pierce Hawthorne on Community, but the truth is that the character will forever be an important part of what the show is, and was an integral part of some of the best episodes including "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking" and “Digital Estate Planning.” He was a good friend to the group when he needed to be, an equally important antagonist, and also consistently funny throughout his entire tenure.
7. Shirley BennettBefore the start of the sixth season, Yvette Nicole Brown sadly became the third member of the original Greendale Seven to leave the show, and her presence will be dearly missed. Not only did she bring a viewpoint to the table that will sadly be missed from the show’s ensemble dynamic – the “study group” no longer having a religious-based moral compass to either consider or, in some cases, outright reject – but we will also have a hard time living without her cheery “Hellos” and happy/threatening retorts. We wish her all the best of luck in her spin-off.
6. Annie EdisonAlison Brie’s Annie Edison is arguably the most put together of the show’s main cast, and is certainly the smartest. This puts her in the perfect position to be both the emotional center of Community as well as its primary “straight man” (two jobs she does exceptionally well), but what’s wonderful about Annie is that she gets to express her fair share of zany as well. Whether she’s hyper excited about organizing an event or freaking out about a stolen pen, her enthusiasm and energy is always a great gateway to big laughs, and as long as Greendale is in trouble, she’ll be around to help it.
5. Dean Craig PeltonIt’s hard to tell sometimes if Jim Rash’s Dean Pelton is a force for good at Greendale Community College, or the reason for its utter terribleness. One can’t argue that he doesn’t have a passion for the work, but the truth is that he’s so bad at his job that the best thing he could do for the school is leave it. Of course, we hope that never happens, because the show simply would not be the same without of favorite costume-loving pansexual imp. The dude is endlessly creepy and weird, but we’ll never stop loving him for that fact.
4. Britta PerryI’ll admit that I was tempted to put Gillian Jacob’s Britta Perry at the bottom of this list just for the sake of a “Britta is the worst” joke, but the truth is that she really is quite a fantastic character who has evolved in strange and awesome ways over the course of five seasons As demonstrated time and time again, she really isn’t that bright, but she never lets that fact get in her way, and the results are always hilarious. She’s truthfully a total train wreck, but she never lets that keep her down, and it’s always easy to appreciate her ambition – even if she does rarely win.
3. Jeff WingerOne can argue that he’s part Bill Murray, part Michael Douglas, but Joel McHale’s Jeff Winger is truthfully a whole different kind of monster – but also a really brilliant character. The guy is narcissistic to the point that he’s nearly sociopathic, and sometimes it’s scary to see the lengths he’ll go to get things done – but at the same time he always has the warm spot in his heart reserved for the members of the study group, and will truthfully do anything for the people he cares about. Plus, he’s always good for a Winger speech to bring it all home.
2. Troy BarnesYou want proof that Donald Glover’s Troy Barnes is a special kind of funny? Name another actor who you’ve laughed harder at as they fell into hysterics and tears. Arguably the funniest character on the show (or at least he was), Troy was like Britta in that he played stupid for big laughs, but he did so with a completely different energy and style. Troy also deserves big points for being truly amazing in the dramatic moments as well, with his performance at the end of his 21st birthday episode “Mixology Certifications” creating one of the show’s greatest moments.
1. Abed NadirIn simple terms, Danny Pudi’s Abed is everything that makes Community both unique and amazing all in one single package, so there is no place for him on this list other than Number 1. It’s the fact that Abed’s brain is so deeply embedded in pop culture that the show is able to go to the extremes that it does with many of its episodes, as it’s his special self-awareness as a character is that the show a more heightened atmosphere. He’s weird, hilarious, and our favorite member of the Greendale community.