In a Season 2 episode of "Community," Britta pondered, "How many schools would let you get a degree in theoretical phys-ed?" It wasn't the first or last time that someone from TV's silliest study group mentioned or enrolled in a silly, throwaway, bizarre or just plain dubious course.
In fact, the show's take on the age-old "majoring in underwater basket weaving" joke has become one of its many go-to recurring bits, like the dean's dances or "Inspector Spacetime" references. Remember the flashback to "Can I Fry That?" The gang spent plenty of time plotting their admittance to the impacted "History of Ice Cream." Pierce didn't need to gain his sea legs for a sailing class aboard the SS Nose Candy as it was held in the parking lot. Poor Abed almost lost his marbles (again!) this season when taking the mind-bending seminar "Nicolas Cage: Good or Bad?," and that was after he completed an in-depth examination of just who was the titular boss on the beloved Tony Danza vehicle "Who's The Boss?" Plenty more laughable offerings can be found on Greendale's fake website or hidden like Easter eggs in the set's many fliers and posters.
"My favorite made-up Greendale class ever was in a flashback that didn't include any of us. It just showed a professor climbing up a ladder, underlining a word on the chalkboard and welcoming students to 'Ladders' as they cheer wildly," Ken Jeong recalled when Yahoo TV visited the show's Los Angeles set last December. "It was the same episode as 'Can I Fry That?' That was a glimpse of what we were trying to do here. Those classes speak to the show's brand of humor."
So in honor of NBC's return to regularly scheduled programming — "Community" is back this week — now that the Sochi Games are over, we asked the cast to create a course worthy of Greendale's catalog should the comedy get another semester on the air or that movie they're always hinting at.
Alison Brie (Annie): "I have to use my own college experience for my answer. I went to art school at CalArts, which has an incredible theater program. But it also offered a lot of extracurricular classes that seem like they could be made-up Greendale classes. One of the most popular was circus class, which was taught by a bearded lady. Well actually she could really only grow a goatee. It was always full and I could never get in, and to this day it is a mystery what all they covered. I know they did stilt-walking, but I would love to be able to take that class as Annie just so I can finally uncover the mystery that is circus class."
Ken Jeong (Chang): "Oh, you got me. I'm just an actor, not a thinker. Maybe that's it. Thinking for Actors. It's like a trick class because actors aren't paid to think. That's really a funny class. I would sign up for that."
Danny Pudi (Abed): "There is a poster in the Greendale halls of a DJ and his radio show. I think his name is QOZY. If he taught a class on DJ'ing, I would take it immediately because when beats — and beets — move through my body I'm very happy. And for a special guest, we can have DJ Steve Porter who does those incredible 'Community' remixes."
Gillian Jacobs (Britta): "What don't they have at Greendale? I mean we took the history of ice cream. I would like to take a dog-grooming course. Not the history of it. I need a practical hands-on, how-to course because I would like to know how to properly and safely trim my dog's nails. Of course, that's more selfish than funny because I really could use some pointers."
Jim Rash (Dean Pelton): "It feels like we could do the history of pretty much anything ridiculous and make it funny. We should have a spelunking class, although they would never actually go because they'd have no idea how to find caves. They'd just have to go spelunking under the desks or in the vents, and in true Greendale fashion, we'd make them clean while they are down there because killing two birds is kind of our thing. It's just the best way to get things done on a limited budget."
Jonathan Banks (Professor Hickey): "A class on how to condescend those who are condescending to you. I wouldn't be very good at the class because I think that's taking the bait. I prefer to let a--holes be a--holes and they will eventually get in their own way."
Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley): "'Cotton Candy Flavoring 101.' I think Shirley's baking and culinary skills would come into play and allow her to excel in that class. She would come up with some really interesting flavors, and they wouldn't all be sweet. Maybe she'd make a fried chicken flavor or other savory goodness."
Joel McHale (Jeff): "It would probably be the "History of Reporters' Silly Questions.' Nailed it. I like that one. Now you have to print it. 'The History of Reporters Staying Up Late at Night Trying to Think of Creative Things to Say 205' — it is an advanced class. Wow, I'm a d-ck. D-ck! I don't know, it would probably be some class [offered on] 'Masters of Sex' because I'm enjoying that show. Michael Sheen is amazing. He's the real deal."
"Community" airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.