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The Three Community Episodes Fans Want First-Time Watchers To See

"Community" is a fascinating entertainment experience that marches to the beat of its own drum. It never achieved the same universal acclaim and attention as many of NBC's other smash hits. And yet, the audience that it did attract kept the series alive through multiple cancellations, a carousel cast, and other behind-the-scenes trauma that would have tanked most other productions. The "Community" fan base remained dedicated over the years, and many fans got the news they had been waiting for in late 2022 when a reunion movie was confirmed as officially in production.

This came 13 years after the first season premiered and seven years after the sixth and final season aired. But the "Community" faithful firmly believed at every step that the event (precipitated by the line "six seasons and a movie" uttered by Abed (Danny Pudi) in the show) would eventually come to fruition.

While it is on its way to realizing its long-heralded full-length cinematic completion, "Community" is a trip at every step of the six-season experience. And when it comes to starting rather than ending the series, there are specific episodes that are particularly suited to first-time viewers. Fans on Reddit have weighed in on which episodes they think are the easiest for newbies to tackle as they enter the complex "Community" universe.

Spanish 101 sets the table

"Community" has a solid pilot episode. It introduces a sprawling cast of characters and brings the study group together. And yet, as with most pilots, it doesn't have the same pizzazz as the rest of the show. Everyone is still trying to hit their stride; narratives haven't gotten off the ground yet, there isn't much in the way of inter-character dynamics, and (critically for this show) there aren't any established running gags or inside jokes.

Fast forward to episode 2, and viewers get one of the most famous episodes, "Spanish 101." All it takes is the 26-minute pilot for the entire cast to meld and for the story to get off the ground. Reddit user AngeloftheBattlefield posits that this is an excellent way for someone to enter the show. They say, "The pilot is hilarious and certainly made me want to keep watching, but 'Spanish 101' has a little bit more of the flavor of a Community episode."

AngeloftheBattlefield ends their argument with an additional solid point: "Jeff and Pierce's skit at the end throws in a little taste of 'Community's' special brand of weirdness. And I'm sure I don't need to mention Chang's speech!" From basic formatting and structure to inspired writing and the introduction of the ultra-strange via Chang (Ken Jeong), Jeff (Joel McHale), and Pierce's (Chevy Chase) performances, Spanish 101 certainly sets the table for the comedic feast to come.

Football, Feminism and You add side plot action

Another great starting point for newcomers to the "Community" experience comes via the show's sixth overall episode, "Football, Feminism and You." The episode unpacks Troy's (Donald Glover) traumatic football past along with Annie's (Alison Brie) tangential and genuine anger on the subject. In addition, Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) and Pierce collaborate to create the most disturbing mascot of all time, and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) even learn how to go to the bathroom together. It's an action-packed episode that provides a solid dose of nonsensical narrative for nearly everyone at once.

Reddit user ResidentBlackGuy considers it a perfect entry point for new viewers. The Redditor suggests "Football, Feminism and You" as a good pilot alternative, adding that it has one of their favorite jokes (between Troy and Jeff on the football field). They say, "it's got sideplots for almost everyone (Pierce and the Dean create the Human Being, Shirley teaches Britta 'girl talk')."

The commenter adds that the only point against the episode's otherwise impeccable nature is that it doesn't have enough Abed. Nevertheless, barring that one potential flaw, "Football, Feminism and You" is undoubtedly a great way to introduce someone to the show and set expectations right from the get-go.

Debate 109 strikes a good balance

Sometimes the best way to start a show is by diving into an episode where the stage is set, the story is moving, and the characters are doing their thing. That said, viewers don't want to be so far into the series that they can't keep up with what's happening. One "Community" episode is right in that sweet spot between well-established and not too complicated is episode 9 of season 1, "Debate 109." The story follows three main trajectories: Jeff reluctantly teams up with Annie to take Greendale's debate team to the next level. Britta and Pierce branch off on a quest to address the former's smoking addiction. And the rest of the group investigates Abed's alarming ability to predict the future.

Reddit user nivenfres suggests this as a starting point since it aligns with their own personal and overwhelmingly positive experience, "The first episode I saw (during the original airing) was Debate." Going on to say, "After that I was hooked and went back and watched all the previous episodes OnDemand." Fellow Redditor D0niazade adds, "I'll go for Debate 109. ... That's personally the one that really got me hooked and made me go from 'yeah ok it's quite funny' to 'omg this show is amazing'." Fans love "Debate 109" because it strikes that perfect balance of a full-on "Community" experience without getting too lost in the weeds because of inside jokes and running gags.