Community returns THIS THURSDAY, folks (watch the Epic trailer). In two days, we’ll finally see the Greendale gang again for the first time since last May. A lot has changed, obviously, with the departure of Dan Harmon, but what NBC can never take away is what the show has already given us: Three seasons of comedic genius. More than any other comedy since Arrested Development, Community has always been good at pop-culture riffing, inside jokes, and running gags, which is probably part of the reason why its ratings have been historically so low (but also, why it has such a adoring cult following).
Ahead of its return, I thought I’d catalogue 25 of my favorite facts, easter eggs, and running gags from the show. It’s not all-inclusive, because that WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE, so do feel free to share your own favorites. Many of these you may know, some you may not, but it’s a great reminder of the cleverness jazzing through the veins of Greendale. Let’s just hope that with new showrunner, the show can continue to maintain its genius through this season and, hopefully, two more (and a movie).
1. I guess this is good news and bad news. May 23rd is a Thursday, and is likely the date of the season finale. But if Jeff graduates and becomes a lawyer, it would also mean potentially the end of the series (via Reddit, Hat Tip: Josh)
2. Thus far, the Daybreak theme has been hummed six times during the course of the series.
3. Perhaps the show’s best running gag was based on Beetlejuice. If you say his name three times, he appears. It took them three episodes over the course of three seasons, but he finally appeared. (via)
4. In the episode Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts, we all know that in background scenes, Abed helped to deliver a baby. But, urban legend has it that, in the first season, we also find out how the woman got pregnant. Look closely in the background.
The pregnant woman, by the way, is Amber Lancaster, who plays Jenny Swanson in The Hard Times of RJ Berger.
5. Season three both began and ended with Chang in the air ducts.
6. On the website for Greendalte, Pierce’s favorite movie is listed as Fletch.
7. A reference to “Remedial Chaos Theory”: Is this a Great Tweet or the Greatest Tweet?
8. Remember in “Cooperative Calligraphy” when Annie’s Boobs stole the pen? You have to look VERY closely at the 2-second mark, but you can actually see the monkey steal it.
9. Abed appeared as an extra on Cougar Town (as he’d mentioned in Critical Film Studies) and Busy Phillips and Dan Bird repaid the favor, appearing on the second paintball episode of Community.
10. In season one, episode six (“Football, Feminism, and You”), Troy suggests to Jeff that he take a pottery class. Thirteen episodes later, in “Beginner Pottery,” Jeff takes a pottery class. FORESHADOWING.
11. Woah. The Monkey Morality Pose in “Regional Holiday Music”! (via)
12. Here is Annie, in Studies in Modern Movement (and notice her dress) (via)
Troy, seven episodes later in in Pillows and Blankets: “I’m giving you an all tomato.”
Coincidence? I think not.
13. Such a subtle character callback between “Conspiracy Theories And Interior Design” and, one season later, “Foosball And Nocturnal Vigilantism.” (via)
Officer Cackowski: Say, you look familiar. Did I ever pretend to shoot a guy in front of you to teach you about gun safety?
14. In a nod to some people suggesting Community had jumped the shark, Britta sported this sweatshirt in the second paintball episode.
15. The show employed a lot of logo jokes involving a “Dan Harmon/Russo Production”:
16. In one of the show’s running gags, Shirley is heard on several occasions referring to her unseen friend, Gary. He’s from Finland.
17. Apparently, it’s some sort of running joke to cast bit character actor Jay Johnstone as a police officer. He’s played “police offer #2” in “The Science of Illusion,” and has played police officers or a law enforcement agent in Arrested Development, Parks and Recreation, The Sarah Silverman Program, Reno 911, Men in Black II, Tenacious D, and Dead But Not Serious.
18. See the fellow in the picture below? That’s Abed Gheith, a friend of Dan Harmon’s from his Channel 101 days. Abed is based on him. Harmon originally wanted Abed Gheith to get the role.
19. Remember when Dean Pelton was handing out the awards for Tranny Queen? In this clip, he name checks Danielle Harmon, Dan Harmon’s female doppelgänger (who is unseen).
20. In Physical Education, as Jeff is playing pool, Warren Zevon’s “Werewolf in London” begins to play, and this man can briefly be seen in the background (in that same episode, the guy who played Shawn Hunter’s dad on Boy Meets World plays Jeff’s pool coach).
21. The phrase “Streets Ahead” was taken by Dan Harmom from an insulting tweet directed at him: “Both Modern Family and Glee are streets ahead of your meta bullsh*t.” (via)
22. One of my very favorite meta jokes, in reference to Bill Cosby’s penchant for colorful sweaters:
23. “You’re the worst!” is a frequently used phrase on the show.
24. In the third season’s Documentary Filmmaking: Redux, Luis Guzman was featured as himself, and a Luis Guzman statue was featured on the Greendale campus. Dan Harmon’s first choice for that role was actually Mark Hamill, but Hamill politely declined.
25. Finally, if you don’t watch Community when it premieres this Thursday, the cat gets it.