Community had a pretty wild run on television. The comedy about an unlikely group of friends at a community college avoided numerous cancellations, survived behind the scenes drama, and continued after a network change. It was kept alive through all of this because of the show's loyal fans. But even those fans might have a hard time looking back on some of the more dated jokes.
Community embraced a weird and often dark sense of humor which would sometimes lead them into uncomfortable territory. While the show is still hilarious and clever overall, some aspects feel mean-spirited and offensive when we look back on it all. Here are some jokes from Community that haven't aged well.
10 Fat Neil
One of the on-going jokes of the show is that the entire school seems to revolve around the main characters while the hundreds of other students don't matter at all. One character that embodies this spirit is Fat Neil. Neil is a fellow classmate of the main characters who was mentioned with that derogatory nickname several times before we ever meet him.
The group is decent enough to feel bad for their cruel jokes and tries to befriend him over a game of Dungeons and Dragons. However, tackling the character's suicidal thoughts and complex feelings, Neil becomes a punchline once again. It's like the show wants to acknowledge it's wrong to make fun of him but still get to make fun of him.
9 Racist Janitor
The study group always seems to find themselves getting into all kinds of wacky adventures based on pretty ordinary situations. In one instance, Jeff and Troy discover a trampoline hidden on the campus which is overseen by a seemingly wise janitor.
Jeff and Troy embrace the trampoline as a spiritual activity and abide by the janitor's rules. However, the janitor soon reveals that he is actually just a nasty racist and he was spouting his racist views the entire time. Though it's meant to be a funny twist, hearing such horribly racist statements is pretty shocking.
8 Pierce's Racism
While the racist janitor was pretty blatantly horrible, the show seems to take a more understanding stance towards Pierce's racism. Given that he is much older than the rest of the group, Pierce is meant to seem like an out of touch and ignorant old man. However, there's no denying that his ignorance leads to very racist moments.
It could be argued that we are meant to be laughing at Pierce, but it doesn't feel that way all the time. It can be uncomfortable to have one of the main characters of the show say such awful things. It's also uncomfortable since Chevy Chase reportedly left the show after making offensive comments on set.
7 Chang's Racism
In case you hadn't noticed by now, it's worth noting that Community features a lot of race-themed humor. Lots of shows push the envelope in this way, touching on taboo subjects and even presenting racist characters, hopefully as a way of attacking such offensive beliefs. However, Chang is another character who seems to get a pass.
The show has presented Chang as a villain in the show, but he's also been a character they want you to sympathize with at times. That is hard when you think of all the racist jabs he made about various characters.
6 Dean's Sexuality
Dean Pelton is one of the most entertaining characters on the show. The overly flamboyant head of Greendale seems to always be coming up with some elaborate extravaganza and inserting himself into the lives of the main study group. The show also seems to have an obsession with his sexuality.
Again, this is an area many shows have touched on for comedy, but at times you have to wonder if the comedy is making fun of the character of Dean or just the fact that he's probably a homosexual. The fact that every scene he is in has to make some reference to his sexuality is somewhat off-putting.
5 Pierce's Homophobia
Sexuality is another topic of comedy throughout the series, and once again, Pierce is the one responsible for most of these jokes. His view of homosexuality is also meant to show his out-dated ideas, but it is another example of the show condemning this behavior while getting laughs from it at the same time.
Pierce is often claiming that Jeff and Britta are both homosexuals despite their insistence that they are not. But the jokes never seem to go beyond Pierce calling them gay. Not only does it feel tired, but it makes us wonder what we're supposed to be laughing at.
4 Genocide Humor
There are certain topics that the show obviously knows are risky to make jokes about, but they enjoy pushing the envelope like that. Sometimes, these moments can work surprisingly well. Other times, they fall flat and awkwardly.
In one episode, Britta begins dating a new friend of Troy and Abed's only to discover that he is a war criminal. While the twist could have been some fun dark humor, hearing him talking about ethnic cleansing and killing innocent people makes it pretty hard to laugh at.
3 Asperger's Jokes
Abed is one of the fan-favorite characters in the show, thanks to his love of all things pop culture and his meta-commentary on the show itself. It's also clear that the character was written to have some sort of social disorder, like Asperger's. The show sometimes treats this in a thoughtful way, but also makes it a punchline.
In the very first episode, Jeff tells Abed he has Asperger's in a pretty mean and awful way. The characters then go on to make fun of the name of the disorder. Moments like this take away from the show addressing the disorder responsibly.
2 Pierce's Harassment
It's pretty clear that Pierce is the main offender on the show. Having a character who is meant to be offensive can be risky, especially when the perception of some of these jokes changes and it becomes harder to find them funny.
From the very first episode, Pierce is pretty blatant about hitting on Shirley despite her having no interest. The flirtation grows more aggressive until it is flat-out harassment. In recent years, the discussion of such harassment faced by women has grown more public and seeing it play out in a comedy feels in bad taste.
1 Troy's Fake Story
Community often sets up typical sitcom scenarios, like characters getting caught in a lie and having to go along with it until they confess. However, the show often adds an unusual spin on the tropes. In one particular case, that makes for a very uncomfortable storyline.
When Troy wants to impress Britta with a tragic story from his past, he makes up a story about getting molested by his uncle. This was just a poorly thought-out joke in the first place and makes us wonder how anyone could have thought it would be a funny bit to have in a light-hearted sitcom.