Community Makes the Grade

The second season of NBC's under-the-radar sitcom may not be making a Big Bang in the ratings, but you can't deny it's explosively funny. The show has perfected the formula of well-chosen guest stars (Daily Show vets Rob Corddry and John Oliver, alt-comedy god Patton Oswalt, and, yes, Betty White, who's better in small doses like this week's cameo); snappy, pop-reference-rich dialogue; physical shtick from the masterful likes of Chevy Chase and Ken Jeong; and unexpected moments of M*A*S*H/Scrubs-esque sincerity.

This week's episode, "The Psychology of Letting Go," worked in meaningful ruminations on life, death and religion as Chase's Pierce refused to accept his mom's demise, sparking a debate among his study-group pals, including card-carrying skeptic Jeff (Joel McHale) and deeply devout Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown). Just when the show threatens to get too serious, like with a subplot about raising money for victims of the Gulf spill, an oil-wrestling match breaks out between Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Annie (Alison Brie). And next week's episode, an ambitious spoof of Apollo 13, promises to be out-of-this-world.

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