The pilot episode of the NBC sitcom Community aired on Thursday, September 17, 2009. Written by Dan Harmon, the show's creator, the episode was directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. The episode introduces Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), a debarred lawyer who is forced to attend community college to get his license back. He tries to exploit his friendship with one of the faculty members for easy credits, but fails, and is forced to join a Spanish study group. The members of this study group make up the main cast of the series, which includes Chevy Chase as retired entrepreneur Pierce Hawthorne.
The show takes place at the fictional Greendale Community College in Greendale, Colorado. Harmon based the show on his own experiences in community college, and partly modeled the character of Jeff Winger on himself. He emphasized the cast's importance to the show, and also credited some of the actors for their improvisational skills. The episode attracted generally favorable reviews from critics, who praised both the actors and the comedy writing. The show received good viewership, and stood out in NBC's Thursday lineup, where the network's other shows suffered declines in ratings.
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