Created by Don Harmon, Community was a special kind of show. While it didn't become immensely popular the same way as some other sitcoms of its time such as How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, it did develop a cult following. Packed with pop culture references and meta-humor, Community excelled at parodying film and TV tropes and cliches, but also at celebrating what we all love about movies and TV.
Most of this was achieved through a single character, the pop-culture-obsessed Abed Nadir. Over the course of six seasons, Abed has had some pretty memorable lines and we've selected the top ten. Before we begin, "Troy and Abed in the Morning" is not on the list because it's a Troy and Abed thing.
10 “I WAS KINDA RAISED BY TV.”
In the season one episode “Home Economics,” Jeff and Abed become temporary roommates due to Jeff being temporarily kicked out of his fancy apartment. At first, Jeff tries desperately to raise money for his condo but seeing Abed enjoy a bowl of cereal while watching TV makes him realize he needs a break. Abed is glad to have someone to watch TV with since his dad never wanted to watch stuff with him, adding:
"I was kinda raised by TV."
We're sure that a lot of us who love Community can relate to this, even if our parents were around and were open to watching TV with us. Community is a show that appeals to people who have seen a lot of TV, movies, and who are fascinated with pop culture. There's a little bit of Abed in all of us.
9 “SOME FLIES ARE JUST TOO AWESOME FOR THE WALL.”
In the fantastic season three episode “Documentary Filmmaking: Redux”, the Dean gets the Greendale Seven to star in the new Greendale Community College commercial, while Abed does the weird thing, i.e. film a documentary about the making of the commercial to document the Dean’s inevitable descent into madness.
As Abed predicted, the situation does get out of hand and pretty soon everyone starts going crazy. In the end, Abed – who previously described himself as a fly on the wall – saves the day by using the Dean’s footage, as well as his own to create the new commercial. In order to save Greendale, Abed abandoned his objectivity because stories should be about sharing a part of yourself… and because “some files are just too awesome for the wall.”
8 “I GUESS I JUST LIKE LIKING THINGS.”
In season three, episode “Regional Holiday Music,” the Glee club suffers a collective breakdown and the Greendale Seven are called upon to replace them. While they refuse at first, Mr. Rad manages to get to Abed, who then makes it his goal to get everyone else on board because he just wants to have a merry Christmas with his friends. When Troy asks him why the sudden change, since they hate Glee club, Abed says something simple yet beautiful:
"I guess I just like liking things."
Community is a show that can certainly teach us a thing or two if we let it. Like, for example, that it’s better to focus your energy on linking things than to waste it on pointless hate and arguing.
7 “MOVIE REFERENCE.”
In the season one episode “Communication Studies,” Abed comes up with a sitcom-inspired plan to restore balance to Jeff and Britta’s relationship now that it’s been shifted with Britta drunk-dialing Jeff and leaving a voice message with BCI subtext. Abed's solution: get drunk with Jeff and get him to drunk-dial Britta. The plan works, but Abed ends up temporarily “brain-damaged” as he can’t think of a single pop culture reference – not even the title of The Breakfast Club, one of his favorite movies.
When the two finally arrive at the study room, visibly hungover, Abed says he feels like that guy in a TV show. But his best zinger comes after they get confirmation from Britta that balance has been restored, which prompts Abed to make the obligatory movie reference by literally saying “movie reference.”
6 “YOU ARE NOW CREATING SIX DIFFERENT TIMELINES.”
In the hilarious, and arguably best, Community episode “Remedial Chaos Theory,” Troy and Abed throw a housewarming party at their new apartment. The gang sits down to play Yahtzee but the buzzer rings and they have to decide who’s gonna go down to get the pizza. Jeff decides to let the decision rest on the roll of the dice, prompting Abed to contemplate six different timelines and say this unforgettable line:
"Just so you know Jeff, you are now creating six different timelines."
The episode then proceeds to show us each of these six timelines, with the one in which Troy goes to get the pizza being the darkest timeline, which turned into a running gag with evil versions of the study group, most commonly Evil Abed, appearing in future episodes.
5 “I'VE GOT SELF-ESTEEM FALLING OUT OF MY BUTT.”
In the late season one episode “Physical Education,” the group finds out that a girl has a crush on Abed and decides to find out who she is in order to set them up. They discuss Can’t Buy Me Love-ing Abed, but Jeff convinces them that Abed just needs to be himself. However, since this version of Abed wouldn’t just approach a girl, he decides to be a different version of himself, a vampire. Following that debacle, Abed agrees to change himself into “someone more likable,” but in the end doesn’t get the girl (because she had a boyfriend, White Abed) and Britta worries they damaged his self-esteem, to which Abed replies:
"Britta, I've got self-esteem falling out of my butt. That's why I was willing to change for you guys because when you really know who you are and what you like about yourself, changing for other people isn't such a big deal."
It’s a profound, inspirational, and empowering quote that resonates with everyone, even Jeff, whose reaction to Abed’s wise words was “Abed, you’re a god.”
4 “I NEED HELP REACTING TO SOMETHING.”
Abed isn’t exactly known for his excellent social skills. While his observation skills are off the charts, he’s not good at picking up on social or emotional cues, which means sometimes he’s doesn’t react the way an average person would react in a given situation. Or, as in this case, he doesn’t react at all, though we can’t really blame him for this one.
In “Origins of Vampire Mythology,” Abed answers a knock at the front door to find the Dean dressed in pajamas and holding potato chips and soda. Confused, he turns to the others, uttering this hilarious and relatable line that we’ve all used in real life: “I need help reacting to something.”
3 “SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE.”
Though “six seasons and a movie” became the show’s running slogan, the line originated way back in the season two episode “Paradigms of Human Memory” as a reference to a TV show called The Cape. The Cape was a real show that aired on NBC in 2011 and lasted only ten episodes. Believing the show will be a success, Abed puts on a cape himself and startles Jeff at the cafeteria by knocking his food off the table with the cape and then running away while yelling:
"Six seasons and a movie!"
Jeff was far less optimistic, claiming the show will last three weeks. Since then “six seasons and a movie” has been used by fans to campaign for the show and, while we’re at it, we’re still waiting for that movie.
2 “COOL. COOL COOL COOL.”
Abed’s ultimate seal of approval is the most recognizable catchphrase coined on Community. The robotic manner in which Danny Pudi delivers the line makes it incredibly catchy and most of us have probably caught ourselves mimicking Abed.
This awesome catchphrase was first introduced in the pilot, and since then, Abed has used “Cool. Cool cool cool.” in various other episodes and it’s usually to convey that something is ok with him, or that he approves of something. The catchphrase has been used by other characters as well, including Evil Abed from the darkest timeline, who has his own dark version: “Cruel. Cruel cruel cruel.”
1 “IT'S TV; IT'S COMFORT”
This is a pretty long one, but it’s perhaps the most important thing ever said on Community and that’s saying a lot. In the series finale, aptly titled “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television,” Abed delivers a powerful speech about TV:
"There is skill to it. More importantly, it has to be joyful, effortless, fun. TV defeats its own purpose when it's pushing an agenda, or trying to defeat other TV or being proud or ashamed of itself for existing. It's TV; it's comfort. It's a friend you've known so well, and for so long you just let it be with you, and it needs to be okay for it to have a bad day or phone in a day, and it needs to be okay for it to get on a boat with LeVar Burton and never come back. Because eventually, it all will."
From a character who loves TV, written by a writer who loves TV, and delivered to an audience that loves TV, this speech sums up what TV has the potential to be, what it can mean to us as the audience, and what it means to the people who are making it.