I have been writing a lot about The Marvel Cinematic Universe lately, and some of the movies that I have poured the most praise on have been ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.
These two movies, alongside ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and the next 2019 Avengers film, were all directed by Anthony and Joseph Russo.
While they had many projects under their belt before they made those films, one sits very close to my heart.
‘Community’ is an American television sitcom, focusing on a study-group at a community college, that ran off-and-on for six seasons from 2009 to 2015.
While it is the brainchild of the great writer Dan Harmon, who later went on to make ‘Rick and Morty’ and one of my favorite podcasts, I want to focus on what the Russo brothers brought to the show.
‘Community’s set-up of “a group of misfits interacting” may be pretty bog-standard, but it is the way that the writers, directors and actors played with that formula that elevates this from just a decent funny show to something great.
The most obvious example of this is the three paintball episodes ‘Modern Warfare’ (inspired by action movies), ‘A Fistful of Paintballs’ (Western) and ‘For a Few Paintballs More’ (Star Wars).
It was after watching these episodes that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige gave the brothers the directing job on their first Marvel-movie ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’.
Some other favorites of mine are the ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ episodes.
By excellent use of sound-effects and acting, the episode is transformed from “a bunch of friend sitting around a table” into something that feels like an epic fantasy story.
While firstly making you forget that this is a bottle-episode, it also conveys what makes ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ great to begin with, and these episodes really peaked my interest in the game.
There are many more great episodes, covering a lot of different genres.
If you want to study how the Russo brothers works as directors, watching ‘Community’ is a great place to start.
Since everything besides the direction and writing stays the same for each episode (like the characters and sets), you really get to see the difference in how they tackle the different genres with their direction.
And as they directed most of their episodes individually from each other, you can get an understanding for what each of them brings to their cooperative work.
I really recommend picking up a dvd-box of ‘Community’.
Season 1 starts a bit slow as the show was finding its feet, but after that it holds a really high standard, dipping a bit at season 4 before reclaiming past glory.
It is a show filled with joy, and I love it for that!