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The Community Episodes You Never Knew Existed

While Rick and Morty might be Dan Harmon's best-known show, his previous effort, Community, had its own dedicated fanbase. On the surface, the two shows couldn't be more different. Where Rick and Morty is an animated exploration of time and space, leading its titular protagonists on dangerous and morally ambivalent adventures, Community just followed the day-to-day lives of an average study group.

However, a closer examination reveals that two programs have more in common than a shared creator and a few voice actor crossovers. Like Rick and Morty, Community wasn't afraid to acknowledge that the real world was a scary and dangerous place, with plotlines that explored mental health, divorce, and trauma. As Community evolved, it also exhibited the same willingness that Rick and Morty has shown to explore different genres and styles, with episodes that borrowed tropes from the famous heist, action, and sci-fi films. Both shows also tend to wink at the camera, either through Rick's open acknowledgment of the fourth wall or Abed's constant comparison of Community's events to other TV shows.

Community's complex and dense humor made it an odd part of the NBC lineup. The show struggled to maintain a large audience and fought cancellation from early on. Each season seemed like it could be Community's last, despite fans' hopes for "six seasons and a movie." Against all odds, Community did make it to six seasons, thanks to a final season that aired on Yahoo!, but a movie is still up in the air. However, a fan on Reddit compiled the show's extensive collection of webisodes that most viewers probably never knew existed.

'Community' produced multiple web-only episodes

Redditor Complexor put together a list of every Community webisode on the r/Community subreddit. While some of the content that makes up the webisodes exists on the actual show in some form, most of it is separate from the show's 110 original episodes.

One of the best examples of content that only reached viewers who sought it out online is "The Straight A's of Greendale." This 15-minute webisode follows Dr. Pat Isakson, played by series creator Dan Harmon. He explains to prospective students the five principles that guide education at Greendale Community College, such as affordability, accessibility, and air conditioning. The webisode was initially aired as short segments only a few minutes long during the show's first season in 2009, per IMDB

While none of the characters in "The Straight A's of Greendale," such as student body president Brody Leitz (Randall Park), ever showed up in an actual episode of Community, the series set a high bar for web content to follow. In fact, the webisode was revisited in a Season 4 DVD promo featuring Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) in the place of Dr. Isakson.

Community dove deep into its characters' lives in a pair of webisodes

While Community's first significant webisode, "The Straight A's of Greendale," explored some off-camera characters and the college campus, other webisodes explored characters featured on the show but outside of the main cast.

One of the first webisodes to explore an expanded Community was "Dean Pelton's Office Hours." This 2010 series of shorts aired alongside the second season of Community, according to IMDB, and focused on Dean Pelton, who was at that time a relatively minor character. In three segments, the webisode touches on Pelton's complex sexuality, which would become a focal point in later seasons, reintroduces Leonard (Richard Erdman), and unmasks Greendale's gender- and ethnicity-neutral mascot, The Human Being, for perhaps the only time.

Dean Pelton is also featured in the 2012 webisode "Abed's Master Key," in which Abed (Danny Pudi) becomes a deputy dean and receives a master key to the school. This webisode, which also consisted of three segments, is fully animated, includes a nod at the stop-motion special "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas," and features all central cast members, albeit briefly. Another Christmas adjacent animated special was produced ahead of Season 5, called "Miracle on Jeff's Street," according to Collider. Unfortunately, the clip appears to have been removed by NBC from both Collider's write-up and the aforementioned Reddit post.

Throwaway footage used in 'Community' episodes got expanded

A common theme in Community was Abed's analysis of the study group and the situations they found themselves in through the lens of the TV shows and movies he loved. As a result of his constant references to television and film, Abed is eventually encouraged to take filmmaking classes, the results of which viewers occasionally see on the show.

An excellent example of this shows up in "Debate 109," when Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) thinks that Abed can predict the future after his short films seem to anticipate real events. In that episode, viewers see clips of student actors standing in for the main cast of Community. However, in a series of short webisodes called the "Community College Chronicles," those clips are shown to be fully featured stories, each running about five minutes in length.

New footage shot for Star-Burns, a classmate in the group's original Spanish class played by Community writer Dino Stamatopoulos, is also explored in one early webisode. According to HuffPost, a series of shorts depicted a video assignment by Star-Burns, Abed, and Leonard for their Spanish class in a webisode called "Star-Burns: El Star Prince." While the clips linked on the original Reddit post have been taken down by Sony, dedicated fans might still be able to track them down.

Content featuring the entire cast was released as promotional webisodes

Not everything produced as a webisode for Community was as high-concept as Abed's show within a show. Community spent the majority of its run on network television and was dependent on advertising, a fact that many of its webisodes acknowledge.

A series of segments called "Study Break Mini Episodes" sponsored by Comcast and its Xfinity service aired in 2010. These webisodes featured 90 seconds of footage with most of the main cast in the show's actual study room, although the dialogue primarily focused on how short the segments were.

Another series of clips promoting the Emmys was called "The Road to the Emmys," and it was sponsored by luxury automaker Infiniti. These shorts featured most of the main cast members as the group traveled to an Emmy party in a new Infiniti QX 56. Perhaps the most amusing part of these clips is that the group engages in the same product placement the show would poke fun at in Season 6's "Advanced Safety Features" when Honda products were present, praised, and purchased throughout the episode.

Also featured on the Reddit post are two sets of promos for the show itself. One was produced for the show's premiere on Hulu and featured Jeff (Joel McHale) and Abed playing one another. The other was shot ahead of the premiere of Season 4 — when the show's future was in jeopardy after the firing of Harmon – and it references the confusion about the show's return. Rounding out that list is a short CollegeHumor original where the cast of Community urges viewers to help save Greendale.