It’s a cliché, but it applies well here: you know something/someone is special when you miss it when it’s gone. This weeks Community doesn’t address that directly, but the structure of the episode reminds us how great the show is.
The way it does this is through a very traditional structure for the show. A study room discussion, off to their shared class, follow-up in the lunch room, and then back to the study room. It doesn’t do anything remarkable within the context of the show. But that’s a good thing.
All of season 2 has been heavily debated. Was taking the characters out of the school to a bar a good idea? Was addressing the shows own meta-commentary appropriate? Are bottle episodes like “Calligraphy” where the show thrives? I don’t think there’s an answer to that. Nearly every episode of season 2 so far has excelled in a different extreme than the episode before. It makes for a show that’s fun to talk about and even more fun to watch. Dan Harmon is doing his best to go all out.
But this episode is fairly tame in nearly every aspect. The formula is, again, standard. In addition, the development is fairly minimal. We learn more about André, we see some plot progression in Jeff’s romance with Annie, and…that’s about it. The status quo at the end of the episode has only slightly changed from the beginning. This ends up working for the episode. Instead of finding a new way the show excels, we’re given a prime demonstration of why Community is so good at its core. This episode has splendid performances from the whole cast and an endless stream of cleverly written jokes running the gamut from random throwaways to pop culture crazies all within the usual Greendale sets. “Asian Population Studies” lowers the intensity we’ve had in the past few episodes to expose the center of the show and give it to us as a way of welcoming us back to school.
The familiarity of the roundtable discussions and rapid-fire hilarious dialogue in tonights episode make us realize how much we’ve missed Community. Damn, am I glad we’ve reached a new semester.
The rest of the review (aka quotes and discussion questions):
- “I checked all of Pierce’s wardrobes for portals to magical worlds. All I found was something called ‘Emmanuel in Space’ on LaserDisc. I couldn’t watch it but it sounded sexy. LaserDisc.“
- “Is it Black Michael Chiklis?” “No!” “White George Foreman?” “You guys are talking about the same person. He’s biracial, his name is David, and he’s a human being.” …. “I agree with Brown Jamie Lee Curtis.”
- “CHANG the subject.” … “Guilty as Chang-ed.” I’m going to be using that and Qu=K a lot.
- “You can’t tweet it either.” “We never discussed new media.”
- I didn’t notice the first time that Duncan writes “PENIS” on the board in class. And underlines it several times.
- I love Donald Glover. The line “We haven’t heard a lot about you or what you’ve done or with who” is funny on its own. But his delivery is so perfect.
- This is another bullet point. It’s telling you to read the previous one and agree with it.
- And this bullet point says that Troys attempt to get information out of André about sex is spectacular.
- “THAT’S A FUN TIME SNACK!!!”
- Abed’s pretending to be broken is tremendously funny.
- I’m noticing a lot of new posters in the background of the show. I can’t wait for DVD commentary, where they’ll tell us what they are. Learning on the first season DVD just how well-crafted the background props were was really cool.
- “I’ll shatter your world.” … “She crossed me.”
- This gif might intrest you. “MEZZANINE?!?!”
- Hasn’t Jeff only known Rich for less than a year? Beginner pottery was 1×19. Though I guess the production code was 114. Still, that’s a year. Seems like it was ignoring the actual timeline just to perpetuate the diversion that it was Annie.
- Was Jeff’s being dismissive to Rich in the tag canon? As in, do you think it truly follows the action at the end and does it show he’s already quit trying to be Rich-perfect? Or was it just part of the joke?
- The NBC store should sell Rich’s paddle.