How do you even write about the final episode of the sixth season? Being the show that it is, every season after its second was assumed to be its last. In an almost emotionally-debilitating way, this show has given its fans more closure in its finales than you get from probably any other show, and more than we’ll ever get from Firefly (unless you read the comics. What are you doing if you don’t read the comics?), Carnivale, and Wonderfalls – just to name a few of my favorites. I mean, if you’re reading this, I don’t have to tell you what it’s like being a fan of this show and the kind of emotional toll it exacts in a way few other shows do.
But there is hope. If you listen to Harmontown (WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO HARMONTOWN? HUH? ADRIAN?), or the final words of this episode’s ending gag, Yahoo! freakin’ loves Community. It gets huge views, and it’s doing for Yahoo! what it never seemed to be able to do for itself once Google appeared – primarily name recognition and a sense of loyalty. One of the Yahoo! producers recently said that they aren’t eager to let go of Community any time soon. Plus, how about that ending card?
I know I’ve gotta actually start this review, but where to start? I mean, did you see that?
Dean-Nouncements:This is one of my favorite gags from older seasons that seemed to have mostly vanished as the show got more abstract and experimental. But as a season finale set piece, it’s an amazingly smart piece of callback from earlier seasons to automatically generate a sense of nostalgia.
Silly Dean-fits: This whole segment where the group seems utterly flummoxed at the idea that Community, *HAHACKHEM* I mean Greendale, is saved is, roughly, 1,000% how every fan feels. No way is this pig in the green zone. So, y’know. Nipple Dippers 4eva.
In honor of my favorite Dean costume, I leave you with god himself.
What? That’s crazy. People use LinkedIn?: In addition to being a funny line, it’s exactly how I feel. I recently got paid to invite over 1,500 people to a CPA conference using LinkedIn, and this was my mantra every two minutes. Also, how cripplingly sad is Elroy’s exit? I like him as a character, but I feel like he was barely explored. I hope he comes back if for no other reason than stability.
Pitches: Oh my god you guys. Oh my god. How about just a series of pics? By the way, have you seen OUR pitch for Season 7??
“OH MY GOD!! SHIRLEY!!” – actual quote from my living room
Troy came back a changed man. Also: he didn’t come back. Also: also: how actually racist is the Dean’s imagination?)
Stare into the madness long enough, and it will animate and stare back
This is an awful lot like a certain someone’s certain blogpost.
A common theme this week. Oh. And Britta’s parents just got fake murdered. For pretensies.
I’m surprised Britta’s season 7 didn’t take place in New York. I also love Britta’s over-reactionary empathy and how it goes full circle to offensive once again.
F*cks, don’t give any: Did anyone else’s head lift six inches from their body, do on full rotation, and then slowly settle back on your neck?
Annie and Jeff… not quite: It’s so great that the show didn’t simply not acknowledge this. It dealt with this. It might not be the resolve we were looking for, but they addressed it.
End gag: Wow. This season’s end gags have been transcendent and otherworldly. This insane combination of high concept and anxiety – laughing because it’s funny and because you’re scared what might happen otherwise. And did you catch that? That’s Dan Harmon’s voice. And he loves us. I had an opportunity to hug Dan Harmon a couple years ago, and I didn’t. I just awkwardly thanked him for his work.
Nothing. I mean, I wish Troy could have popped in for a cameo, but the dopamine rush I got at seeing Shirley by itself made it worth it.
This episode. Wow. After saving my tenth image for the night, I realized I was just going to end up building my own Wiki-po-diuh out of this episode. It’s one of those rare crystalline perfect moments in TV that gives you everything you wanted out of the characters, nails all the jokes, and looks blurry because there’s something in your eye. I feel like I scraped the surface of what I could talk about in this episode: I didn’t even mention Abed or Annie’s departures, or Franky’s stiff and lame pitch, or how Todd might very possibly be having a mental breakdown. Oh, and Chang’s gay? Man. Or the super serious stuff, like how Abed’s still not coping without Troy.
The most interesting theme throughout the episode is how Jeff is the one now trying to hold the group together. The opportunist turned out to be the one with the greatest number of feels, and through his inability to cope with his own lack of mobility tries to convince everyone that stagnation is preferable to anything else.
The season started a little rough with a couple episodes that really made me scratch my head, and the absolute lowest point being when Britta shit herself. But the last half really started picking up steam and ended on the best possible note. Hush Comics gives “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” an A+ #andamovie.
This week’s episode of Community was all I could have wanted, and then some. It was funny and sweet and instead of full on nonsense there was a good plotline and lesson for the group to learn behind it all. I genuinely have no complaints, so let’s break down the awesomeness just for fun.
Garrett and Stacy: Awwwwww (imagine that in Annie and Shirley’s voices). Garrett and Stacy were so cute. Garrett’s proposal was adorable, their vows were cute, and if their relationship had a face I would pinch its cheeks. Garrett has always been an underdog and possibly even the most unfortunate person on the Greendale campus so it was nice to see him have a happy love story, even if it was with his cousin.
An addiction to encouraging white people: It’s funny because it’s true. Elroy has been such a welcome addition. Sure he’s completely static and they give him basically no room for growth but he’s funny. And his developing an addiction to encouraging white people so he could thrive in the tech industry is kind of a genius plan. I don’t know if random encouragement works on all races or just white people, but I know if someone just randomly came up to me and said “Hey, you’re doing a great job of wearing those pants” I’d take it as a compliment. Maybe I’m part of the problem…
The group learns a lesson, doesn’t blow it: Oh snap, the gang got faced by Garrett’s mom. And instead of becoming indignant and refusing to acknowledge their problems they all showed personal growth and disbanded to improve the wedding by not making everything about them. They’ve been in this situation before, and usually they just manipulate reality around themselves so they can continue to believe that they are the good guys and I’m so glad this episode did not turn into history repeating itself. Obviously they are not bad people, they’re just lovable jerks. I really like where their humble response to being owned took the show, and honestly this may have been the most character driven episode of the season because of that.
Chang: I love that Chang says he’s at his best when he’s with the group while everyone else is moaning that they are at their worst. Sometimes Chang really does just seem like a sweet little boy who just wants to be liked, and “Wedding Videography” took that feeling and used it to drive home the episode’s lesson and conclusion. Chang’s speech was kind and true, if Garrett and Stacy did what everyone wanted the world still be laughing stocks but they would have to endure that pain alone. It’s better to embrace your imperfections and run with them because no one is perfect, but together you can be imperfect together. I think I stole that from an episode of Futurama, except it was about loneliness.
No mention of “token” episodes: I love that Community plays with the idea of being wholly meta, but season six has so far been really heavy handed with that. This episode played out a lot better without mention of every TV series needing a token wedding episode, or it how every season has a documentary episode directed by Abed.
We didn’t get to see Abed’s adorable face: That’s all I got.
Honor Roll Moments (favorite quotes, shenanigans, etc):
“Annie don’t “Jim” the camera.” Where are all my The Office peeps at?
The Celebrity Garrett Marriage Game. I thought Chang’s Christian Slater was great.
Todd could be god.
The Shhhhhhhhhh off. This is a gag I will never get tired of.
Elroy’s beautiful serenade to the man who is wearing pants, and should continue to wear them.
The Heckler: First appeared during Garrett’s vows, as in “someone laughed at that the wrong way!” and then during Chang’s speech. “Let him finish!” “They are letting me finish.” “I know, I was being sarcastic!” I’m going to tell myself The Heckler was Starburns. Or maybe Koogler, even though I hate The Koog.
“Stay and eat cake or go the hell!” I will find a way to work this one into my regular vocabulary.
Seriously though guys, Todd could be god.
Hush Comics gives “Wedding Videography” an A for being funny and sweet and for re-humanizing characters that were at risk of permanently becoming caricatures of themselves.
The 11th episode sees the gang waging a secret war. A paintball war. An illegal secret paintball war. Despite Frankie’s constant recriminations against paintball, City College is offering a cash prize for the person who paints the most ball. In the midst of it is the mysterious sharpshooter Silver Balls. Can the gang wage their secret war, beat back the creeping scourge of City College, and unmask Silver Balls? I dunno. Prolly.
STAR BURNS, MOTHER F*CKERS!!: Being the kind of guy I am, I am all over the Harmontown podcast and Community subreddit, and this has been a constant question all season: where is Star Burns? As hard as it may be to believe, the truth is Dino Stamatopoulos hates acting on Community, which sounds utterly inconceivable to us mortals. It’s nice that they gave him a character wrap up as nearly satisfying as Dr. Spaceman’s.
There is no paintball: This season has been real anemic on the side-characters. It’s great seeing Todd, Vicki, Starburns, and Garrett get such prominent roles.
Abed corrects us on homage vs. parody: I love Dan Harmon correcting the misapprehensions of his fans via Abed.
Koogler!: So, if you don’t know, like, if you were on a Japanese submarine since 1935 and didn’t learn the war was over, or you just got released from a Victorian asylum, The Koogler (or Fun Dad for this episode) is creator of Arrested Development and all around comedy god Mitch Horowitz. And if you don’t listen to Harmontown, well, I’m not sure what you’re wasting your life on, but go listen to it right now, and listen to any of the episodes with Mitch as guest star. Plus, this scene is great because Abed hasn’t gotten to do much this season. I love Jeff’s command that there be no “references, no callbacks” right before Fun Dad Koogler appears. And I love Abed’s line, “That’s the description of every paintball.” Oh, so you know your stuff.
“Desperate Deans call for dean-sperate measures”: I’m glad the double-deaning is back in play.
Abed and Annie in the morning: Abed and Annie teaming up is one of the best things to happen since King T. Rex defeated Hitler’s Murder Go-Bots.
Last action dean-ro: A dean action scene is unexpected, but deeply satisfying.
Who’s heckling me?: Abed. Abed is heckling you. Also, I love Kumail Nanjiani. He was a longtime Harmontown staple, plus he runs his own fantastic podcast, The X-Files Files, AND he stars in Silicon Valley. I love that he can take time out of a busy day to mastermind a hostile takeover. I also like their exchange about Indian vs. Arabic. Kumail is Pakistani, and talks, frequently, about the terrible stereotyping he experiences in the pursuit of acting gigs.
Frankie’s revenge: Frankie’s revenge is amazing. She’s been spending this whole season trying to fit in with the group being unsuccessful. I think she’s finally cracked it in her own way. Plus, this is the first time I’ve felt she’s clicked as a main character.
Monologues about Vicki’s solo show: These post credit sequences this season have been the most satisfying. I love the line they’ve struck between funny, touching, and uncomfortable.
Club Club: I love the joke of Club Club, and the place of nightclubs as a threshold for heroes in the action genre. However, and this is my only criticism of this episode, the club looks cramped and cheap. In fact, this whole season periodically looks small and cheap. It doesn’t dissolve my ability to enjoy the show, but how many scenes have been shoehorned into that janitor’s closet in the last 3 episodes alone? Meanwhile, I’m not even 100% sure I’ve seen a classroom or the quad once this whole season.
This is the best episode of the season so far. It continues this frustrating “Save Greendale” theme that’s permeated the last two seasons, but it mixes in some pure, bizonkers buhnaynays for good measure. The theme of saving Greendale has really dragged this season down, but this episode was able to synthesize that compulsion into the school’s longstanding rivalry with City College. And turn away if you don’t want spoilers, because, y’know, SPOILERS… but am I wrong in thinking that the janitor was Silver Balls? That was my suspicion when I watched the episode the first time, and I could have sworn that was even explained, but the second time through I can’t tell. Either way, best episode of the season so far, and the more restrained smaller scale espionage story really spiced up paintball, which otherwise might have been kind of a burnt out idea.
Hush Comics gives “Modern Espionage” an A for being able to muster up enough school spirit to make us remember why we love Community in the first place.
Community simply isn’t what it used to be, but there is no point in talking about that anymore. This week’s episode “RV Repair and Palmistry” was more of the same chaos, but it was hilarious which pretty much makes up for that.
Abed cannot manipulate time and circumstance: It was funny and a little disconcerting that Abed seemed convinced that he could alter their current circumstances by “flashing back.” For a while, I was afraid that he was actually going to have that power and I think that would’ve kind of destroyed the character. Thankfully, we learned near the end that Abed’s “flashing back” was in fact just him being insane, and it allowed for us to see the Dean fall off the roof of an RV while sitting on a giant hand.
Abed’s “Jeff Speech”: This one was really heartfelt and frankly pretty beautiful. I’ve never bought a giant hand and locked my friends out of a stranded RV like the Dean did, but I was certainly touched by the universal sentiment of his words.
Future Britta: Present time Britta was pretty funny this week, even though she had basically no lines, but it’s Future Britta for the win. I don’t know about you, but I thought she was hilarious. I laughed out loud when she approached Future Abed and Frankie to ask what they were talking about, and when she popped up in Abed’s little fantasy doing whatever that arm thing was I basically lost it. It’s nice to see Britta be a source of comedy and not just a punching bag.
Abed thinks life is a TV show, WHAAA?: This one may have been a little too meta for me, but that’s not even really the downfall here. The problem occurs when Jeff is somehow surprised by Abed’s behavior, insisting on the flashbacks and how certain acts must occur in a road trip movie. It’s not like the group hasn’t had to rescue Abed from thinking life was a TV show before, at least two specific times come to mind (“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”, “History 101”, and oh yeah like almost every other episode). I get that the writers needed to add in comical conflict for the group, but this one was just annoying. It made Jeff seem like a total bully and a jerk.
Honor Roll Moments:
Britta having a blanket thrown on her head and leaving it there.
Britta being the unlikely voice of reason to Annie, it’s not if something fell off the roof but what.
The end sequence with the man who intended to buy the giant hand.
Frankie speaking to Abed on his level to help him save he group.
The Dean running into the RV, screeching “Screw You!” and locking the group out.
Flashback Dean and Abed’s dance.
Who’s the Worst:
This week Annie gets to wear “The Worst” crown. Not only did she do absolutely nothing to further the storyline or save the group, but she was goddamned whiny about it the whole time. I know she’s high-strung but this season she’s kind of a bitch. There, I said it.
Hush Comics gives “Basic RV Repair and Palmistry” a B+ for touching on familiar topics and for being hilarious.
Chief Starr and the Renegades of the Galaxy: I really wish there was a way to see this whole movie. #whoisglipglop
Elroy: He may have only had like three or four lines, but they were all hilarious. My personal favorite was his question about how a green pool ball with a “3” on it got into his RV and what sport it was from. He’s like Pierce, but the writers don’t hate him so he’s not a pompous lonely old racist. He’s just funny.
Jeff vs. Chris Pratt: It’s no secret that Jeff obsesses over any other person, particularly men, who have an allure or are seen as more charming, talented or handsome than himself. Abed’s movie needed a “Chris Pratt Type” and once his name came up Jeff kind of just went on a downward spiral from there. He apparently has a strange fixation with Pratt, and his accusation that he was given CG muscles in Guardians of the Galaxy was hilarious.
Who are These People: Each time I watch a new episode of Community, I notice that the characters have drifted further and further from who they once were. While I like Frankie and Elroy, I think maybe the balance of the group really can never be the same without Troy, Shirley, and maybe even Pierce. I can accept that things will never again be what they once were with Community, but this week’s episode kind of solidified the feeling that this is not the study group we once knew. They were once cool people with bright futures who ended up at a community college. These people, while funny and loveable, are losers.
Individual Plot vs. Overarching Storyline: While the individual episodes have been funny and had pretty good plotlines the overarching story that is supposed to drive each one is weak. “Intro to Recycled Cinema” was a good example of just that. Of course they are all jealous of Chang’s Hollywood success, but they make Abed’s movie in an attempt to get $500,000 for Greendale, to save it. Even though it is still operating throughout all of this.
I’ve said it enough already, but Community isn’t what it used to be. The lack of original cast members does have an effect, and maybe Greendale has gone through too much to pretend to operate like a normal(ish) place anymore. Community is still funny, the group is still a loveable gang of ragtag misfits but something just doesn’t fit the way I hoped it would. When I’m looking for pros to write in my reviews I find that I can come up with individual moments that were great (Abed in the Frisbee pile) but I struggle to find real and true story elements that meant something or took the episode to great places. The show just seems to be chaos now. Funny, funny chaos.
Hush Comics gives “Intro to Recycled Cinema” a B- because while it was funny the plot may have lacked motivation.
Do you believe half your politics? I can’t even believe how much I love Britta Perry. First place is a struggle between Troy and Abed, and second place (or third, I guess) is a struggle between Pierce and Britta. But this season has made the Britta of Britta-ing Britta. It’s been almost mean spirited with how superfluous and dumb and gross they’ve made her. The episode opening up with the difference between prison and jail followed by answering honestly and thoughtfully to the question, “Do you believe half your politics,” instantly triggered my Britta jones. I was in. Already in.
Just a guy who knows Powerpoint: This whole section killed it. As if his presentation wasn’t weird and self-indulgent on Changnesia levels, breaking two eggs expecting a dollar bill each time was inspired.
Troy was really good at steel drums: I like that the show isn’t trying to pretend Troy never existed and instead acknowledges (in the word’s of Abed), “I haven’t really been all that funny,” since he left. It doesn’t really excuse how nearly “year of the gas leak” season six has been, but it does create a kinship with the creators. Augmented with Abed’s remark about Elroy being “young Troy, or black Pierce, or Shirley without a purse,” it really feels like the creative team is saying, “I know those feels, bro.”
“Don’t even say that name without compensation.” YES, emeffer, YES. A Britta episode that blows the wheels off this pig. Except it’s Honda instead of Subway. It’s so incredibly inspired that the person the most opposed to marketing is the person who gets hooked into it in the most invasive possible way. I can’t even put into words how jonesin’ this episode had me.
“We’re workshopping handshakes” I love that Annie and Abed have latched onto each other. Thematically, it makes sense as they were closest to him emotionally and geographically. It’s also satisfying because, once again, the show is showing us that everyone feels everyone’s absence.
A level seven susceptible Dean’s insane need for approval extends to his buying habits. He’s not buying Honda, he’s buying the approval of Rick.
One mechanical alligator? Finally Elroy feels like he’s got a spot in the show. The exchange between Britta and him about drawbridges slayed me. He’s also getting some emotional depth, and his resolve with Jeff (and not-Natasha of Natasha is Freezing) was great.
Guerilla Marketing I understand that an ugly truth of our world is that shows need sponsors to exist, and sometimes those sponsors demand their products be heavily featured. But I’m feeling like this show didn’t quite hit the post-modern irony that the Subway arc originally knocked so far out of the park that someone in Russia’s about to experience head trauma.
This will pay off later I don’t think Frankie playing steel drums is funny. I can’t tell if it’s a joke because it’s not funny despite having the comedy formula, or if it’s a joke that swung and missed hardcore. I feel like either way, the entire setup and the payoff isn’t even nearly what I expect of the show’s self-awareness.
Wrap it Up, Folks:
I think this is without a doubt the best episode of Community this season, and one of the best Britta episodes. Though, speaking frankly, I think every Britta episode with the exception of the year with the gasleak, is a great episode. But this is probably number 3 after the UN episode and the original Subway arc. Srsly though folks, I don’t know if there was a single scene in this episode where Britta wasn’t funny.
In addition to finally doing Britta’s character justice, this episode expertly handled even it’s most minor plot lines. Dean’s need for approval destroys his need to be a good dean (and thus achieve approval. Jeff only does something like seek vulnerability when he’s still in a position of power. Thus, when Elroy gives him the validation he needs, Jeff has to pretend it makes no difference. Finally, Elroy feels like he belongs.
But that product placement is problematic. It doesn’t feel ironic enough and like just plain old product placement (for a reference on product placement that will make you violently puke in indignation, see Modern Family). I think there’s two things that needed to happen. First, the plot of the original Subway arch was so over the top, that the show didn’t need to tell us what was happening. This arch with Rick didn’t top the Subway arch: the idea before being that you can buck the norm and achieve desired ends by bucking the norm, but this time around the norm is set higher. Now, in order to buck you must buck harder.
Second, in shows like 30 Rock, pre-Yahoo Community, and Arrested Development, there are clues to let you know that they understand this is how it has to go, and they don’t have a choice, but as a show they haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid personally. I think the cincher here is when Rick says something like, “Do you have a problem with Honda’s quality?” and Britta says, “Of course not! Honda’s quality was never in question!” Britta should have instantly snapped back with something about child labor, exploitation of third world countries, or the kind of marketing that makes us think cars=happiness.
Hush Comics gives “Advanced Safety Features” a B+ (++++++++++). Definitely one of the better this season, if not the best, and I so badly want to give it an A, but the way the product placement was handled forces honesty to stop it just short.
The School being hacked: The idea of the school being hacked is a pretty genius one. It causes a classic comedy trope where group and audience all get a lot of hilarious reveals. Annie was high-strung, so the group tested her for amphetamines. She also happens to be 1% Neanderthal. I do wish there was a little more about our core group in their; however, the revelations about the groups betting pool about Frankie’s sexuality and the fact that Elroy uses naked 3-D models of the three women for his “lady space-travel game” were very funny – the first time I have felt that way about either character this season.
The entire first scene: The Dean being upset about his “computer no worky”, Elroy telling the Dean to run to the mainframe, and finding out that all of the Dean’s passwords are names of his infinite amount of parakeets he had as a child all were worthy of more than a muffled chuckle.
Meta-ness!: This episode had what I consider to be it’s first “meta” moment of the season. Frankie realizes the group is “the group” because they * used * to be a study group, and Chang was their teacher. Chang responds, “That’s right, and I haven’t been well utilized since!” Well said, Community. Well said.
True Community: The final scene of the resource officer and the child in the car doing their True Detective bit was perfect. And the best use of pop culture referencing of the season.
Britta’s lack of logic: I have been a fan of Britta from the beginning. But this season has absolutely ruined her character. In an attempt to bring back the golden days of protesting, Britta initially disapproved of the racist comedian Greendale hired to perform. But as soon as there was mention of her own e-mail being hacked, she was more concerned with free speech than racism. Um? Considering how open to diversity and anti-racist the show has been in the past (by making Pierce the villain), this seemed like a large departure from the essence of what Community is.
Gupta Gupti Gupta: The “jokes” here are so over-the-top it is ridiculous. At least in the past when someone was overly offensive, it had a hint of humor. This was crass for the sake of it, especially at the expense of Neil. At this point, making fun of Neil for his weight is unnecessary. That was what we had “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons” for.
And Other Observations:
-Abed is apparently still with his girlfriend. It’s too bad we don’t get to see them together.
-The Lunch Lady is hot. At least, she is to Elroy.
-Abed’s line about Joss Whedon and The Avengers made the whole episode. The second best thing was Chang zoning out and saying he thought they were all standing up to go see The Avengers. That is pretty much my life the last week, too.
-Leonard slept with Garrett’s girlfriend in 2009. Burn.
-This could be the last time we see Neil, since he declares to forgive the group, but never speak to them again.
Hush Comics gives “Basic Email Security” a B- for having more Community – esque elements, but for undermining itself with poorly written jokes and Britta’s total reverse of character.
We were privileged enough to get another new episode of Community this week, but unfortunately it didn’t quite hit the spot. I worry that the novelty of Community still existing is wearing off and the true colors of this season are showing through, and they’re not so bright.
The absolutely hilarious physical comedy: I dare you not to laugh at the prisoner iPads on wheels. Maybe it’s just me, but that gag stayed funny throughout the episode. I have to say the highlight was Willy trying to kill Jeff by pushing him down the stairs but instead just repeatedly rolling into him. There’s a lot you can do with something as silly as that, and the concept was successfully exhausted by episode’s end when Abed took them all over and basically turned into a Blorgon.
The group – except Jeff: I understand that everyone in the study group of old was weird. They all had their quirks which made them unique, funny and loveable. So far this season, and especially in this episode actually, it just feels like everyone has become a caricature of themselves. Except Jeff. He seems to be the only character the writers are doing justice for anymore and is at all like the network TV version of himself. Chang has maybe three lines an episode and they’re all still about what a crazy homeless person he is. It’s basically like they’ve turned all our beloved characters into static versions of themselves and each week they’re just inserted into absurd situations. It’s really not working that well for me. Not to mention they brought in two new characters who are basically not even in the show. Where is my Keith David dammit?!
Britta: I know Britta is the worst but it’s like they’re not even trying to make her likable anymore. She’s really turned into a female Chang, and maybe they thought that would be funny but for me it’s just disappointing. Remember back in season one when Britta was Jeff’s love interest because she had likable qualities and allure? Why did they decide to just make all of that go away and basically completely rewrite her? For shit’s sake she sleeps on Annie and Abed’s couch and got arrested at the end of the episode! The writers turned Britta into the girl from her past they used to make joking references to and I just don’t understand why. I think it’s shitty.
A Community college with no classes: Remember back in all the previous seasons where the group were all students at Greendale? Remember when they were a study group because academics were a thing? Why are Annie, Britta, Abed, and Chang even there anymore? I’m assuming Annie, Britta and Abed are students, but it’s funny how that’s not really a plot point at all anymore. What happened to grade grubbing Annie? I think she’s still studying criminology, but who knows? Does Britta still want to be a therapist? Because I’m pretty sure you can’t get a Masters in Psychology at a Community college. Same goes for a Masters in film for Abed. It just feels like they’ve cut so many corners and therefore deviated from the original plot that the show doesn’t even really make sense anymore.
Full disclosure, despite my displeasure with this episode I still laughed a lot. It kind of hurts my heart to write this review. I love Community, SO MUCH. I’ve been a dedicated fan since season one and I want to always be in their corner and defend things I love, but the truth is this season seems to be going off the deep end of insanity. Community’s charm was in its varying zaniness, be it with Greendale or study group members actions and responses to things at Greendale. In short, the comedy in the show was not things being a constant stream of BATSHIT CRAZY. The novelty wears off quite a bit when every episode very time is so absurd, it makes the viewer start asking questions they shouldn’t be asking like why the hell is Greendale even still a place? Not every episode can be paintball and lost pens, ya know?
Hush Comics gives “Laws of Robotics and Party Rights” a C because the episode was funny, but the departure from characterization is disheartening.
After a bit of a lackluster start, Season 6 of Community finds its groove by leaning on its most eccentric characters, Dean Pelton and Ben Chang. “Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing” brings back the heart of the show: laughing at itself and turning clever dialogue on its head. New additions Keith David and Paget Brewster are also proving to be great additions to the cast, and the show feels like less of a drag and more of an enjoyable program. Did I mention that it’s free to watch online?
Off the Chang: Poor Chang is always getting the short end of the stick. It was so gratifying to finally see him get the spotlight he deserved, even if he had to be beaten to a pulp emotionally before his potential could be realized. So what if he got cast because of eye shape?
The truth about Karate Kid: Thanks to an amazing guest star appearance from Jason Mantzoukas (Rafi from The League) as the film director, we get an honest take on who the real star of Karate Kid was. It was even better to see Annie pushed from her high horse. She did sound like Vinny Barbarino (John Travolta) from Welcome Back, Kotter. And how hilarious was it that Other Annie got cast as the Karate Kid? I need to keep a few of those insults on-hand next time somebody pisses me off.
Whhhhy-Fi: The conversation about Wi-Fi and IT guys is hilarious. “We have oxygen. We need wi-fi.” It’s casual conversations turned malarkey that bring the heart of the show back. Elroy (Keith David) really brings it home with by adding his outdated tech references. “Tera-? They did it, those bastards; they finally did it.”
Keith David is amazing: How long before Abed realizes that Elroy was also the owner of The Cape?? Keith David hasn’t necessarily replaced Troy (token jokes aside), but he bring a sort of wit that Troy never had, and Elroy’s team-ups with Abed are more intellectual than silly and adorable. It’s not Donald Glover, but it’s passable. “I’m a big fan of the Performing Arts, but I’ll go to Chang’s play anyway.”
They’re totally Britta’ing Britta: To prepare for the Sixth Season of Community, we went back and started from the beginning. It’s only then that I noticed how far Britta has fallen as a character. Some people might feel like that’s just where her character is in life, but she’s become a total floozy, reduced to shitting her pants for comedic effect.
Gay Dean: I’ve always liked the idea of not addressing Dean Pelton’s sexuality. The lack of transparency made it a bit more mysterious and the writing always seemed to be more clever when the jokes weren’t so obvious as they have been in the last couple episodes. I did love that they took the double-standard of homosexuality and rubbed our faces in it, but it was not a rocket-ship, thrusting the show to new heights.
…They… They really killed the birds: That’s just cold. How are they gonna do the little baby birds like that?
It’s time for some Jeff: There has been a noticeable lack of Jeff this season – no speeches, no “too cool for school” jokes. As the top-billing actor on the show, it’s time that he get some love. He still exhibits leadership over the group, but it’s his horrible judgment and manipulation that usually takes the stories into the zaniest places.
Hush Comics “Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing” a B for bringing the funk back to Greendale Community College. The episode left me wanting a bit more out of the story, but a Chang-centric tale and solid guest star provided plentiful laughter.
There was a period of time when the Greendale Seven were absent from Greendale: right after their graduation. Life in the school continued as normal with the student body largely neither noticing nor caring about this seven-sized hole in the heart of Greendale. But one person, when he’s not busy inspiring the student body to greater heights, feels the absence left by the study group.
In his truly good-natured, though equally misguided, love of the group, he feels Greendale has suffered a great loss, and it must be remedied. Being the busy little guy that he is, he’s just the guy to fix it. The Dean, doing what he thinks is best for the school, must draw upon the student body to fill those roles because nature can’t be trusted to fill this particular vacuum: it’s much too precious.
But before we get started:
A little bit of writing about this writing: in the words of the Dean, the original study group represented so much diversity (“hispanics notwithstanding”). However, the supporting cast is overwhelmingly white, especially when you count only the students. And there are two girls. But, the Dean does the best with what he’s given.
Also, as far as I’m concerned, season 4 never happened.
The role of Jeff is the most precious. The replacement captain of the group must be in the most capable hands as possible since this is the position that determines the direction of the entire group. So obviously, the Dean must step into that tailored shirt.
Well, as I said, Dean (is it OK if I call you Dean? I’ll just call you Dean, OK Craig?) can’t trust any of these positions to fate, but this one least of all. Jeff, after all, is the beating heart of the group that controls its direction, cohesion, mood and flow. And really, isn’t that just the Dean of the study group?
In the study group, Britta forms the often overbearing moral center of the group. As Jeff tells her in Science of Illusion, “You are the heart of this group.” However, the Dean being the gentle narcissist that he is interprets these roles through his need to feel liked. Moreover, some of the Dean’s biggest fears are to be seen as racist or sexist, and his own hard to decipher sexuality, makes his dedication to the genders of the people he’s trying to replace not so firm.
After a failed attempt to get Britta’s one time beef snack, Vaughn, back into the group, Dean has to consider who he might put in this role that would help feed his need for approval. As we’ve seen, Magnitude and the Dean have some effective chemistry, and the Dean loves setting him up. Dean might be disappointed there won’t be a chance for romance, but Magnitude will be an easy ally.
In the group dynamics, Abed’s the catalyst: it’s because of him the group exists, and it’s because of him many of their wacky hijinks ensue. Without him we wouldn’t have learned what to do when the goldmine of looking kind of like Stuart French dries up, or the meaning of multiple Christmases. For the audience, he’s the guy just slightly to the left of the show’s internal reality commenting and documenting it, going so far as to make eye contact and break the fourth wall more than once in season 5’s two part finale. Filling his role is difficult, However…
To the Dean, Abed’s a weird guy perhaps not quite capable of taking himself. Sometimes he’s fun to baby, and sometimes he makes life difficult.
Leonard Rodriguez certainly has the catalyzing features of Abed: he leads his own band of insane hipsters (Youth! Scatter!); pranks Dean; but maybe more importantly, he’s the only other character with such an interest in film.
“I’m thinking about breaking into the TV game since it’s apparently sticking around.”
Despite Abed’s treasured status, the Dean might look and Leonard and think, “He’s weird, likes film, and is difficult to get along with. Close Deanough.”
Troy is the one person Dean seems to love most next to Jeff. Hell, I personally want to hug Troy more than any other character (for the record, the list of people I want to hug is Troy, Abed, then Pierce). To the group, Troy is the innocence: if Britta stops the group from becoming too judgmental and caustic, he’s the one that keeps them from becoming too curious or self-serious. He kind of is the human anti-AT&T-of-people.
There’s no other student for whom the Dean feels this level of affection. Instead, the Dean would take the opposite track and try to find the person he think would feel the most honored being placed in such an honored position (too many honoreds for one sentence? Honored. Now it is).
“Ooooh. Neil.” – Troy
Neil is pretty likeable. Even after he was found guilty of sabotaging an entire class’ sweet potato project, he still somehow manages to land the gig as school DJ. Plus, after what the group did for him in his darkest hour, the Dean might figure this is the least he could do. Also, this is probably the least racist decision the Dean could make (while being the most unintentionally racist, a la season 6 trailer).
In the group’s dynamic, Pierce acts as the original group’s ego. Sometimes an ego is good: sometimes an ego can make you one of the world’s most successful moist towelette companies; sometimes ego can stand up to a corrupt and racist father. But sometimes ego is bad: ego easily classifies anything as other veering close (or directly into) racist or homophobic thinking; sometimes ego fails to accurately grasp its reality. But lest we forget: Pierce was forced, throughout his tenure, to confront and conquer each of those things that make us cringe allowing him to, ultimately, will a vial of semen to every one of his group mates.
The Dean, however, might just focus on the fact that Pierce (despite helping birth the Human Being) was kind of a gross, slightly sexist, slightly racist old guy. Which is why Starburns would be the Dean’s choice to step in.
Starburns is the closest the show comes to outright having a real life scum bag: he sexualizes Britta and Annie in ways that even Pierce would find excessive; he stole Magnitude’s back pack; he even built a mobile meth lab in his car. In fact, the only scum bag thing he’s guaranteed not to have done is put quarters down people’s butt cracks. Plus, the Dean might figure, Starburns owes him.
Shirley’s blessing and her curse is her religious mother hen persona. Sometimes it guarantees she’s cut out of the fun (i.e. Jeff’s fight, Troy’s 21st birthday, or the dinner she couldn’t make that led to the events of MeowMeowBeenz) or cutting others out of their fun, preventing what the group has admitted might be sporadic and frequent hooking up if not for a judging eye. Sometimes, it allows her to transform into a bear and protect the troop when they need it most (i.e. Jeff’s fight, Pillows and Blankets, A Few Paintballs More).
The Dean doesn’t really want anyone else pulling mother hen on him. Dean-as-Jeff can’t feel like he’s doing his job, can’t feel happy, if he’s relying on anyone else (or fearing that anyone else) might assume a position of authority. Dean might be compelled to, instead, focus on Shirley’s other qualities: her dynamic vocal register; the fact that when she isn’t making you feel welcome, she’s making you feel self conscious; her instigator status.
It’s an odd choice. But Garrett’s what you get when you strip Shirley of everything that makes you love her. It’s like God spilled a person.
Oh. I also made this.
Annie is the group’s headcase: she keeps them on track and singlehandedly keeps them from failing or veering too far onto the easy path. As you can see from her many freakouts, she’s a constant redline on the verge of overheating. To the Dean, she might just be the kind-of bossy girl who’s yet another distraction for Jeff.
Hardly anyone knows anything about Vicki, but Dean doesn’t have too many choices (simply choosing Other Annie isn’t clever enough for him). Ultimately, Dean would be banking on the fact that their mutual placement in the group would allow Neil and Vicki to finally hook up after some exhausting shenanigans, and that would be enough to endear him to them.
Ultimately, Dean’s attempt at this replacement group would result in him having a nervous breakdown as no one takes their roles as seriously as he is convinced they should. And since this group isn’t really composed of anyone who could be described as a good person, they leave him in a self destructive spiral similar to when he tried to make a commercial.