Community returns this March to remind us that life is whimsical and worth living, premiering on its new home of Yahoo! Screen. While we all like the series’ study group of Jeff Winger, Britta Perry, and the rest of the loveable assemblage of misfits, what makes a show like Community feel like a well-rounded piece of television is the use of recurring secondary characters, many of whom play integral roles in plots of several episodes. In honor of the Little Show That Could returning for its sixth season, let’s take a look at some of the other most beloved students of Greendale Community College.
Pop pop! The life of any Greendale Community College gathering, Magnitude—short for “Magnetic Attitude”—is loved by all of his fellow students for his upbeat personality and his signature blend of raising the roof while saying his catchphrase “Pop pop!” While most of the faculty might secretly sneer their nose at Magnitude’s charisma and energy, that doesn’t stop the one-man party from infecting the hearts and his minds of his peers. Also, the actor who portrays Magnitude was Lee Jordan in the first two Harry Potter films. Major style points there.
Key episodes: “Intro to Political Science” (season 2, episode 17); “For A Few More Paintballs” (season 2, episode 24); “Economics of Marine Biology” (season 4, episode 7)
When Neil headed to Greendale Community College, he hoped that the mockery and bullying he suffered in high school would come to an end. However, it was not to be, as he started being called “Fat” Neil by both faculty and students, inadvertently started by Jeff. When Jeff suspects that Neil is considering suicide to escape his suffering, he rallies the study group to play a game of Dungeons & Dragons with Neil to bolster his spirits. Ironically, it was Pierce’s bullying during the game that gave Neil the confidence he needed to hold his head up high.
Since that encounter, Neil has become a more confident young man, dating a fellow Greendale student and DJing for the college’s campus radio station. The writers have subtly built his character arc over time, rewarding viewers for picking up signs that Neil has grown and blossomed at Greendale since those initial dark days.
Key episodes: “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” (season 2, episode 14); “Basic Lupine Urology” (season 3, episode 17)
Alex Osbourne is known by the nickname “Star-Burns” for the sideburns shaped like stars that adorn his face. While it’s clear that he takes painstaking time and energy to shape his sideburns, he’s continuously lamenting that he wants an identity that extends beyond his facial hair. However, rather than add to, change, or improve his personality, Star-Burns picks up more and more physical affectations to give the appearance of dimension and a layered life. Of course, the addition of a top hat and a pet lizard don’t do the job.
Star-Burns’ meth lab that he kept in the trunk of his car—a meth lab constructed from stolen biology lab equipment from Greendale—served as the perfect way for him to fake his death and go into hiding. He is found to living in Greendale’s stables hard at work at developing a “cat car” (which is exactly what it sounds like) and takes the rap for being the Ass-Crack Bandit in exchange for continued lodging in the stables.
Key episodes: “Contemporary American Poultry” (season 1, episode 21); “Intro to Political Science” (season 2, episode 17); “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” (season 5, episode 3)
An elderly student who has been at Greendale since at least 1968, Leonard is a smartass who has earned the animosity of both Jeff and the rest of the study group for his rampant and frequent dickishness. Through his clashes with the study group, we’ve learned he’s got a “crooked wang,” has a gambling problem, wears prescription socks, and reviews food from Kroger on YouTube. He’s often seen hitting on women much younger than him and has been rumored to have had a few pregnancy scares.
In addition, Leonard is a member of a group octogenarians known as the Hipsters, so-called for their hip replacements. They use their age to taunt Dean Pelton and carouse without consequence. Leonard was in the Korean War—fighting for the North Koreans—and seems to fear no one other than Professor Hickey, who referred to Leonard more than once as a “piece of human garbage.”
Key episodes: “Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples” (season 2, episode 5); “Intro to Political Science” (season 2, episode 17)
While Garrett, a nerdy, out-of-shape, high-strung Greendale student, hasn’t had any central storylines about him specifically, he has to be included because he’s been such a staple of the series, appearing in many classes with the study group as well as taking Jeff’s class Intro to Law. It’s been alluded to the fact that many campaigns on campus have been assembled to “save” Garrett, from what we can only guess. Probably from himself. As Troy once noted, Garrett is “like God spilled a person.” And damn, that anxious, on-the-verge-of-panic voice that he always seems to have is all sorts of chucklelicious. Just watch him scream “Crisis alert!” and try not to guffaw.
Key episodes: “Geography of Global Conflict” (season 3, episode 2), “Digital Exploration of Interior Design” (season 3, episode 13)