At last, Community has returned to us. This brand new episode delivered everything we have been craving for the last 3 months – laughs, love and Abed and Troy being weird by being normal.
And we’re back.
News just came in that Community got a 2.2 rating last night. That’s a season high, among other records for NBC. This is good news. I had a feeling that all of the campaigning, petitioning and voting for Community to win awards would amount to new viewers. Community even had four worldwide trending topics during the airing last night. Now while this is all great, the important part is to persist. Our next goal is to get a fourth season, which is only possible through us, Community’s audience. My advice to all fans of the show is to watch it live, DVR it, live blog and tweet about it during the show. The online campaigns during the hiatus were probably responsible for attracting many of the new viewers, not that I’m saying Jim Rash’s leg isn’t responsible. If you aren’t a member on the forums here at Dan Harmon Sucks, join! We live blog and you can also get lots of GIFs and avatars after the show.
Enough about our fandom, let’s get onto the episode. There were lots of hits and misses for me in this episode. For those of you who don’t yet know, this episode was switched with next weeks (much like 3.03 and 3.04 were switched) and I get the feeling that there is a big gap in story between what we’ve seen the first half of the season and now.
Jeff, in particular, seems to have changed. The most striking part of this episode was Jeff reflecting on his thoughts. It showed an X-Ray/slot machine type reflection in which Jeff chooses to find sincerity by drinking. When I first thought about it, it seemed sudden. Then I made the connection to 3.04 when Jeff claims to need a drink in every timeline but his own. Has Jeff developed a drinking problem? Another connection I made to this small scene was Jeff’s reflection of Community creator/showrunner Dan Harmon. It’s no secret to those who read his tweets and follow him on tumblr that he drinks a lot. When Harmon was creating the show, he claimed to identify the most with Jeff before slowly coming to the realization that he is more of an Abed type. At Payleyfest a few weeks ago, he said in a rather serious tone that he’d began drinking more since the network announced Community’s hiatus. I’ve begun to suspect that Jeff’s time at Greendale is parallel to Dan Harmon’s time as a showrunner for something he is deeply invested in on an emotional level. This is something I will be pondering on all week until I have something new to dig into in next week’s review.
For a Shirley-driven episode, this was done quite well. I’m not exactly the biggest fan of Shirley or episodes that have plots featuring her because of her preachy religiousness and judgment that often shine a negative light on her. Typically, Shirley is used to advance other characters’ storylines (like Annie did in this episode. For the first time in a long while we got to see Shirley the mom instead of Shirley the christian. Perhaps even for the first time ever, we got to see Shirley the wife with real relationship problems. The only part of the Shirley plot I had a problem with was Andre. I thought he seemed like a nice guy up until this episode. I think we all did. He was too quick to turn his back on Shirley for a second time and fail at a second shot at marriage. I especially disliked him for coming across as threatening to Troy and Abed. Maybe this is what we’re supposed to think of him now. Maybe he’s supposed to be the guy who’s mood can swing at any moment.
The prospect of Pierce and Shirley seemed enticing. I was really looking forward to seeing Pierce in action as the business mogul that ran the Hawthorne moist towelette dynasty. Pierce has come a long way from being the guy in a wheel chair who didn’t need any help to becoming a person more honest with himself about his abilities and being more open to collaborating with others. He is, of course, still out to prove his father wrong. He is out to prove that he can be successful beyond inheritance.
One of the best recurring themes of the show is evolution/fate. It dates back to the season one finale when Jeff asks the rhetorical question “Do you try to evolve, or do you try to know who you are?” This theme appears again in the season three premiere when Pierce claims to be more highly evolved, after spending a summer meditating at his Buddhist church. The theme appears again in this episode, this time with Troy and Abed. Being normal is weird to them. They are forced to Chang (yes, I used his name as a pun) their ways to fit in at Shirley’s rehearsal wedding. After Troy spotted Annie’s boobs, he became conflicted. He made a conscious decision to realize who he is instead of evolving beyond his weird ways.
Britta is also currently coming to terms with who she really is. Similar to Jeff, Britta is good at something she hates – planning weddings. Jeff on the other hand, is good at speeches but bad being sincere. Although Britta seems to be on the right path to finally realizing who she is as a person, Jeff seems lost. His ego has blocked him from being sincere this season, and has prevented him from connecting with most people. Dan Harmon has stated on separate occasions that this season would be the darkest, and that nobody would have a harder journey than Jeff. It’s now that we are finally starting to see both of these forecasts come into play.
– There were lots of one liners that worked for me.
– Troy and Abed being “normal”
– The Dean deciding to open up a subway
– I really like where the Jeff story is headed
– Annie advancing plotlines
– Annie’s Boobs returning
– Shirley finally utilizing her business smarts
What didn’t work:
– Britta as a wedding planner? I’m still on the fence. I just hope it’s a one time thing and that she sticks to psychology
– Pierce’s electric pants. That was just ridiculous and Pierce isn’t that dumb
– Andre’s entire character direction changing
Please leave your comments, I’ll be sure to comment back if you have any opinions. We all love discussing this stuff, right?
– Tyler Marshall
Look at me now Dad!