While the main cast of Community played a lovable and quirky study group, the sitcom had many guest appearances over its six-season run, including LeVar Burton’s memorable cameos. Burton is known for hosting the beloved PBS children’s series Reading Rainbow from 1983 until 2006 and for playing Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, reprising this famous role in several movies. The actor has also made cameo appearances on a variety of TV shows, from reality competitions such as Hell’s Kitchen and Face Off to sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory.
Playing a version of himself on Community, Burton made two cameos on the show, and they are among his most entertaining TV appearances. His scenes were perfectly set up in each episode and had humorous results, fitting seamlessly into the show’s light-hearted tone.
LeVar Burton Was Seen To Be Troy’s Idol
Troy (Donald Glover) is a big fan of LeVar Burton, and in Community season 2, episode 16, “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking,” the gag is explained: Troy doesn’t want to meet Burton because it would ruin the image he has in his head. Troy says, “You can’t disappoint a picture,” which is one of the episode’s most memorable lines. Pierce (Chevy Chase) asks Burton to meet Troy, who is so afraid that he doesn’t say anything and can’t move. This gag not only shows Troy’s sensitive side, as he wants to make a good impression but is also relatable, as many feel unsure about what to say to a celebrity.
Burton was among the best Community guest stars because in both of his appearances, he doesn’t say much but makes an impression on Troy. In season 5, episode 5, “Geothermal Escapism,” he appears on the boat that Troy is going to travel the world with after Pierce’s death. Troy finds his confidence and talks to Burton about Star Trek, which shows that he has become more mature. Burton’s brief cameos are compelling and show Troy at two different life stages: as a student and as a young adult ready for his real life to begin.
LeVar Burton Was Impressed By Donald Glover’s Commitment
Answering questions during a Reddit AMA, LeVar Burton complimented Donald Glover’s acting on Community. He wrote, “I need to say here just how impressed I was with the level of commitment Donald Glover brought to those moments between Troy and LeVar.” During his season 2 cameo, Burton sings the Reading Rainbow song, and Troy becomes emotional. Troy is known for his funny Community lines, and Burton liked when the character sings in a bathroom, “Set phasers to love me!” and added, “I was floored. Arguably one of the best lines in TV history” (via Uproxx).