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'Community': Why You Should Start Watching Tonight

'Community': Why You Should Start Watching TonightWe know how annoying it can be when fans of a certain TV show insist that you watch it. (We swear we're going to get around to watching "The Wire" someday, by the way.) That being said, we come to you today with a simple plea: Watch NBC's "Community" tonight.

While you're at it, invite friends to watch with you. (Many friends. Especially friends with Nielsen boxes.) Because this zany, bizarre, often brilliant comedy, now in its third season, is in serious danger of being canceled if its ratings don't markedly improve when its spring run kicks off tonight. It was already pulled from NBC's schedule once for low ratings -- which, considering the current state of NBC, is like a star player on a last-place team being sent to the bench. It's humiliating.

But we understand you're hesitant. So we've compiled a list of very good reasons why you should devote thirty minutes of your life to giving "Community" the old college try tonight.     

It's the smartest comedy on TV
It's ironic that "Community" airs at the same time as CBS's hit comedy "The Big Bang Theory" (and regularly gets trounced by it in the ratings). Because we think the "Big Bang" nerds would love "Community": It's unabashedly brainy, with rapid-fire gags that reward repeat viewings. And it's not afraid to let its geek flag fly; it based an entire episode around Dungeons & Dragons, for Pete's sake. In an era where fart jokes and crude sexual innuendo pass as punchlines, we appreciate "Community's" effort to keep our collective IQs from dropping too much.

It boasts some serious eye candy
OK, fine, forget your brains; how about your loins? "Community" can appeal to your more primitive impulses as well. As the book-smart Annie, Alison Brie has fun letting her sex-kitten side come out, like she did earlier this season with this ridiculous Marilyn-esque Christmas serenade of Jeff:

Gillian Jacobs, who plays annoying eco-activist Britta, is no slouch in the looks department, either. (Did we mention Annie and Britta almost kissed once?) And for the ladies, Joel McHale is always finding an excuse to take his shirt off and bare his surprisingly ripped torso as reluctant group leader Jeff. Plus, if you have more offbeat tastes, there's always Dean Pelton in drag. In fact, speaking of the Dean…

It co-stars an Oscar winner
Jim Rash introduced himself to an international audience of, oh, about a billion people at this year's Oscars when he won for co-writing " The Descendants" -- and promptly mocked presenter Angelina Jolie's infamous leg-baring stance. But "Community" fans already know him as Greendale's ever-cheery Dean Pelton, who regularly steals scenes with his outlandish costumes and thinly veiled affection for Jeff. We'd love to see Rash take home an Emmy to match his Oscar someday (halfway to an EGOT!), but we'd settle for a small sliver of that Oscars audience tuning in tonight and giving "Community" a nice post-Oscars bump.

Watch Jim Rash show off his Oscar at a recent "Community" panel:

It's the most inspired satire TV has to offer
"Community" is at its very best when it's poking fun at familiar pop-culture tropes, from shoot-'em-up action movies (with its massively entertaining paintball trilogy) to old-fashioned horror flicks (with its annual Halloween episodes). Part of the fun of watching "Community" is recognizing the increasingly obscure pop-culture targets they choose to lampoon. What other TV series can say it parodied " My Dinner With Andre," Rankin-Bass Christmas specials, and " SpaceCamp"… all in the same season? (Actually, we're starting to see why this show isn't a massive hit.)

It features TV's best bromance
In the fine tradition of Norm and Cliff and Chandler and Joey, Greendale students Troy and Abed (played by Donald Glover and Danny Pudi, respectively) have a friendship that redefines the term "BFFs." Whether parked in their matching chairs watching "Inspector Spacetime" or clutching coffee mugs on the set of their faux morning talk show "Troy and Abed in the Morning," these two (strangely enough) have the strongest relationship anywhere on "Community." Granted, that doesn't say much for the characters' romantic lives, but we still can't wait to see the next installment in Troy and Abed's excellent adventure.

Theo Huxtable is onboard
Malcolm-Jamal Warner, whom we fondly remember as teen son Theo on "The Cosby Show," has been a recurring guest star on "Community" for a few seasons now as Shirley's ex-husband, Andre. Warner returns on tonight's spring premiere, which finds Andre romantically re-popping the question to Shirley, leading the study group to launch into wedding-planning mode. Maybe some of that old "Cosby" Nielsen magic can rub off on Warner's new show, huh?

And there are more guest stars on the way
Attention, " Breaking Bad" fans: You can get your Gus fix here, as Giancarlo Esposito (who played the late, great drug lord Gus Fring on "BB") will guest star on an upcoming "Community" episode as a business associate of Pierce's father. (Don't you dare cross him, Pierce.) Plus, " Roseanne's" John Goodman is set to return for the season finale as the school's formidable Vice Dean Laybourne, as is "The Wire's" Michael K. Williams as the study group's ex-con biology professor. C'mon, surely you liked at least one of the shows these people used to be on. That ought to be enough for you to give "Community" a try, no? (Pretty please?)

Get a sneak peek at tonight's all-new "Community" right here:

"Community" airs Thursdays at 8 PM on NBC.