It always amazes me how much Community manages to cram into its 21 minute timeslot. On the surface, tonight’s episode was about Annie moving out of her old apartment and moving in with Troy and Abed. Thematically, it explored Abed and Troy’s childishness, Annie standing up for herself, and Jeff’s avoidance of well, being a good friend. It goes without saying, but, not every single episode has the group being together. “Studies in Modern Movement” was one of those, and did a great job juggling all the characters separate plots and bringing them all together.
The episode starts off with Britta giving Annie a heart to heart as they pack up her apartment. Britta is in her psychologist phase right now, and thinks she has a lot of wisdom to bestow on her friends. But she does offer some pretty solid advice: the things you love about people, become the things you come to hate when you move in with them. I think we can all relate to this on some level. It’s one thing to hang out with friends, another to live with them. Spending a lot of time with people can give you an entirely different perspective on them. And everyone has to learn to adapt to that kind of environment. The rest of the group shows up, and unsurprisingly, Jeff is a no show. Various members of the group make their crack about it, not surprised at all that Jeff would find an excuse to get out of it. Britta decides to take Jeff up on his bluff, and calls him up.
The lengths Jeff went to avoid moving Annie, was downright hilarious, although also a bit sad on some level. I say sad, because at this point in the groups relationship, I think there is a reasonable expectation for them to be there for one another. Jeff having a worker at the mall act like a receptionist at the hospital, and then having her call over the intercom of the store like it was a hospital – was ridiculous. I mean hell, he even used a price tag scanner to recreate a heart monitor. The scene itself was great. It will easily go down as one of the best Winger moments on the show. But I couldn’t help but wonder if Jeff avoiding the move was just Jeff being Jeff – the guy that doesn’t like to work – or if a part of it was him avoiding his in limbo relationship with Annie (or rather his fear of it going any further). This is not to say, it was uncharacteristic of Winger. He’s the champion of taking short cuts, and not doing work if he can avoid it. But as the show is delving deeper into these characters, I wonder if some of his character traits will be explained a bit further. Or perhaps I’m getting too Britta her, and reading too much into it.
Whatever the case may be, Jeff playing hooky set him up for one hell of a bizarre day. The Dean blackmailing Jeff had to be one of the creepiest/funniest plots I have seen on the show up to this point. Sure Dean Pelton has been crushing on Jeff since season one, but up until this season, they were more one liners. Adding the wonderful Jim Rash as a full time cast member has now allowed the writers to give him more time and subsequently, have more plots written around his bizarrely fascinating character. Seeing Jeff and the Dean sing Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” in front of a green screen, was something I thought I would never see. Making it all the more funny is the fact that it started out extremely awkward, but by the end, Jeff found it almost therapeutic to get down with the Dean by singing all out to the song. But there are two things that really have to be said about this Jeff plot. First, it’s reinforces that Jeff is seeing a therapist. And secondly, it showed Jeff still has some commitment issues when it comes to being with the group outside of school. I can’t help but think back to the “Remedial Chaos Theory” episode where Jeff realized he was the one stopping the group from having fun. I don’t want to go too deep into it, because I believe we will deal with Jeff’s issues very soon in some more Jeff centric episodes coming up. But I think it was an interesting thing to note that in multiple episodes this season, Jeff has been isolated from the group.
Britta and Shirley make a great pair, seeing as they are both high up on their own horses and have strong opposing views. I absolutely loved how Britta tried to show up Shirley that yes, even an atheist can be a moral being, when she picked up the hitch hiker. Of course, this very notion is funny, given that there is nothing moral or noble about doing something nice just for the sake of showing someone else how nice you are. The hitch hiker was great, because it sort of put both Britta and Shirley in a position where both were proven to be hypocrites. Shirley doesn’t even want to pick the guy up, because he looks smelly. But then is suddenly okay with him, when it seems he believe in Jesus. Conversely, Britta doesn’t really want to help the guy out after she finds out he is religious, thus undermining the point she is trying to make to Shirley. BUT, then the guy makes it clear, that he actually believes he is Jesus Christ. To which, Britta humors the crazy man and drive Shirley nuts. “Hey Jesus, what’s your position on Marijuana?” “Marijuana was given to the earth by God, it should be legalized”. “That’s niiiice”. The uncomfortable nature of both of them being locked in the car with this man, made for some hilarious scenes. It was actually something I noted about the entire episode, as all the characters were being put in uncomfortable situations that took them out of their norm.
The rest of the episode focused heavily on Annie coming to terms with moving in with Troy and Abed. And it was wonderful for various reasons. I said this in last week’s review, but I really do think Troy and Abed are two of the best written characters on television. Not just as individual characters, but as a duo. They work so well together, that they could easily have a show about just them. Tonight’s episode though, kind of explored the fact that there is a bit of a childishness to how they act. Or rather, they live in their own sort of fantasy world. So when Annie is invited to move in, they try to make her enter that world without considering that she has her own lifestyle that is different from theirs. When she finally brings all her stuff over to their place, they inform her that her bedroom is in a tent fort. They are constantly goofing off and tweeting her every reaction. At first she’s upset about this, but taking Britta’s advice to be “loosey goosey”, she accepts that she can live with it, and just needs to adapt. Troy and Abed then put on a puppet show for her, which was incredibly warm and endearing, and she realizes that maybe she is being selfish. But then, she discovers the boys makeshift holodeck (Star Trek fans, you know what it is). Troy and Abed are absolutely ecstatic about the room, and try to explain to her how it’s a window to unlimited possibilities. But to Annie, the boys are being selfish by using a room for their imagination, while making her sleep in the living room under some sheets. Finally standing up for herself, Annie explains that she has always been worried about fitting in with the group. And poses the question: when will the group worry about fitting in with Annie? It was a strong moment that showed character progression. If the show plans on making the Jeff and Annie relationship a focal plot point towards the end of the season, I imagine Annie becoming more of a confident adult will play a big part in that.
Tonight’s episode hit all the right notes. It was warm, charming, and hilarious with the right mix of character driven moments. I would like to think in a lot of ways, it was also a sort of bridge episode. It was setting up for the next stage of the season where we go deeper into Jeff’s insecurities. Where Annie has to deal with Troy and Abed’s absurdity, and become more of an adult as a result, but also learning from their childishness. After all, someone needs to teach them how to use the ironing board. #AnniesMove concluded with Troy and Abed revealing that they traded Annie their room for her blanket fort. After the group berates Jeff for his karaoke video with the Dean (he tweeted it), Annie, Troy, and Abed put on a puppet show for Jeff and Britta. Britta feeling that the show has run its course, finds out that Jeff is absolutely taken by it. The allusion of course, is that Jeff is still a kid under all the bravado and tough exterior that he uses for a front.
Some Random Lines:
I usually love doing this. But I’ll leave this comment from Dan Harmon to explain why I won’t be doing them tonight: