The setting for Dan Harmon's Community was a bizarre and wonderfully mad community college called Greendale. Through its six-season run, Harmon embraced the wacky environment to full effect, producing iconic caricatures such as drug entrepreneur "Starburns" and pop-popping Magnitude - though none were quite as inscrutable and memorable as long-standing character Ben Chang.
Love him or hate him, Ken Jeong's unforgettable turn as Greendale's cartoon villain was an unpredictable force of nature and Greendale simply would not have been the same without him. He filled many boots throughout the series, from cocky Spanish teacher to failed Hollywood movie star. Chang's slapstick descent into comical madness was like a car crash; the audience wants to look away but just can't.
Just like the character's turbulent persona, the reception that Jeong's character received in a given episode was often hit or miss. Sometimes his role was mystifying, jarring or even irritating. But more often than not, the bizarre and bewildering man managed to hit notes of comedy and parody that the more grounded characters on the show wouldn't have been able to.
10. Environmental Science
Television shows often take a season to find their footing and Community's inaugural season felt far more grounded in realism than subsequent ones. Nothing speaks to this disparity than the fact that Ben Chang used to be a Spanish teacher. It's something that often slips from our minds when we think about Greendale's maverick of lunacy.
"Environmental Science" puts Señor Chang in the spotlight for the first time. After a particularly cruel week of homework, it is revealed that his wife has left him. Jeff reluctantly agrees to buddy up to him in order to help the study group achieve good grades. What becomes of it is a strangely touching bond between the two. In community college, teacher and students are often the same age and experience similar issues. "Environmental Science" explores this, displayed Ben Chang as a sympathetic individual for once.
Of course, it couldn't stay that way forever, and after giving Chang a chance to put his dancing shoes on, he reverts back to the over-confident bully we know and... kind of love?
But what's so funny? Ben Chang crying is fantastically over-the-top and bizarre, and Jeff's awkward reaction to it made it all the better.