From Magnitude to Leonard, these are our favorite side characters in Community.
Ranking Community's Side Characters
Community wouldn’t have garnered the massive and dedicated fan base it boasts today without the main characters featured in the college’s study group. However, part of what makes the series as binge-worthy and rewatchable as it is today is its quirky side characters. We’ve narrowed down a list of the 10 best supporting cast members, ranked in descending order.
Out of Community’s side characters, Neil (don’t call him Fat Neil) is arguably the least interesting person the study group interacts with. But that doesn’t mean he’s not deserving of a spot on our list. After all, if it weren’t for Neil, we wouldn’t have one of the best and most controversial episodes.
Neil became a legend in Community for his role in season 2’s “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” when the Greendale Seven decided to play the tabletop game to cheer up a depressed Neil. The episode solidified its status as a favorite among fans, especially after it was removed from streaming for claims that Ken Jeong’s Ben Chang wore makeup resembling blackface.
Magnitude was a man of few words (only two, to be precise), but he lit up every scene his character was a part of with his catchphrase, “pop, pop!” On campus, Magnitude was considered the life of the party.
The character with no apparent real name won our hearts over and cemented his place on this list during season 2’s penultimate episode, “A Fistful of Paintballs.” Sacrificing himself, Magnitude (pretend) dies, and his last words are never quite finished as he mutters, “Pop…” to which Troy cries out, “Pop what?!”
8. Dean Spreck
Dean Pelton may be our favorite dean, but the man in charge of Greendale’s biggest competition serves as the perfect nemesis. Spreck served as the dean of City College and popped up in various episodes, giving his best attempt at getting Greendale shut down. Plus, his creepy interactions with Dean Pelton are episode highlights.
In his most memorable moment, Dean Spreck is revealed to be the mastermind behind the paintball competition in season 2’s two-part finale. Disguised as an ice-cream cone mascot for the fake company he made up to destroy Greendale, a scene reminiscent of Star Wars where Darth Vader boards the rebel ship sees Spreck enter the halls of Greendale.
7. Todd Jacobson
Todd is a fellow Greendale student who, like everyone else, gets drawn into the study group’s shenanigans occasionally. An army veteran and father to a little girl, Todd might be the most normal, down-to-earth character on the show, but we love to feel sorry for this guy and had to give him a spot on the list, if not just for sympathy (poor Todd).
In his first appearance in Community, the study group argues in front of Todd over who has to be “stuck” pairing with him for a class assignment. Todd begins the episode with courteous remarks, but by the end loses his patience, shouting, “What is wrong with you people” before pointing out the group’s blatant dysfunctionality.
6. Rick (Subway)
He may have only graced us with his presence in two episodes, but he had a lasting impression. Whether going by Rick or Subway, this character stole the show each time he appeared on screen with the Greendale Seven. First appearing in season three, Rick graces the college as the embodiment of a corporate spokesperson after the school cafeteria opens a Subway restaurant.
After his job is compromised because of a romance with Britta, Rick (Subway) is sent somewhere else to promote the company. But in his best appearance, Rick returns to Greendale one more time in season 6, only to be working as a sponsor this time for Honda, scoping out “level seven susceptibles” like the dean to sell Honda’s to.
5. Officer Cackowski
Throughout Community’s six-season run, Cackowski showed up in various episodes to bring a smile to our faces. Starting in season 1 as Greendale’s security guard, the character appeared in later seasons as a local cop, often responding to outlandish happenings on the campus.
Officer Cackowski had a small role in some of the best Community episodes, including the zombie Halloween special from season 2 and “Grifting 101” from season 6. If Cackowski appears in the upcoming Community movie, we are dying to know whether or not he ever finishes his “copera” cop-themed opera.
Star-Burns, or as he wishes everyone would call him, Alex Osbourne, is easily Community’s wildest side character. The drug dealer/user is seen everywhere in the community college and gets his nickname from his trademark star-shaped sideburns.
It’s hard to narrow down Star-Burns’ best moments, but one of his breakthrough moments came from “Contemporary American Poultry” in season 1, where it is revealed he gained popularity among other students because of his ability to dish out the famous cafeteria chicken fingers since he works as the school’s fry cook.
3. Garrett Lambert
Garrett is another familiar face appearing throughout Community’s six seasons. As a student, Garrett appears alongside the study group in many classes. Garrett is best known for his irritability, ability to become easily excited, and of course, his iconic screech, memorable in the Ass Crack Bandit episode.
Garrett was the center of attention in one of Community’s last-ever episodes, when he married another student at Greendale. The episode dives into some creepy incest content but also delivers one of the best lines from season 6 newcomer Elroy: “Now that’s a man who knows how to marry his cousin.”
Greendale’s longest-enrolled student (with no degree to boot), Leonard, was walking (or stalking) the halls of the college decades before Jeff and crew took over the library’s study room. A cranky and playful elderly man, Leonard loves to heckle the study group and is always up to no good.
From acting as the leader of a gang of elderly Greendale students, to running his own Youtube channel where he reviews frozen pizzas, Leonard was a joy in every scene he was involved in. But his greatest on-screen moments saw Leonard throw jabs and quippy one-liners at Jeff, to which the study group leader usually replied, “Shut up, Leonard.”
Professor Ian Duncan
Played by comedian John Oliver, Professor Duncan was the epitome of a great side character in Community. Like most Greendale faculty, Duncan came with plenty of baggage and taught most of his classes with little effort, no thanks to his ongoing problems with alcohol addiction.
Coming from across the pond to live in the U.S. and teach at a community college, Duncan offers up some tremendous British-centric jokes and quickly becomes a fan-favorite character. He returned in later seasons to join the Greendale Seven once again as faculty and gave us some great moments, like when he’s electrocuted in the season finale of season 5.