Erik Lilleby once again delivers his deranged thoughts on NBC's Thursday night comedy "Community."
Community! Community! Community!
I spent a bit of time ruminating on the newest episode, probably fifteen minutes, and I think it was well worth it. I have no idea what to say. The last three episodes have been jumping from A to B to C storylines with two goals: 1. To add depth to the characters in a seasonal story-arch and 2. Letting the episode stand on it's own as a single installment of Community. As Harmon puts it, the show has to be able to draw in a new audience, so if viewers watch Community for the first time, they can immediately connect with that episode because the story can stand alone among the rest of the season, like a bunch of mini-movies with the same characters each time. It's a great formula but very hard to do. I'm thrilled by each episode because I know Dan Harmon and the creators can and will take me to any alternate world with one or multiple TV/movie references. “The Chicken Fingers Episode” comes to mind as a great balance between “full-on movie reference” and a Community character driven story arch. (How many more times can I say arch in this review?)
But on to the new episode....
Abed and Troy FIGHTING!!!!! NO!!!!!! The world is not perfect even for these two fun-loving gadabouts. And with a classic episodic trope, we get a "To be continued..." My heart is aflutter with gay angels (hmmm?). The Abed-Troy story is probably the only thing in this episode I want to cover here. It's too good. Of course the Britta story and the Jeff story stand on their own as hilarious and moving, but Jeff goes back to being Jeff at the end, "Kim who?"; a little too blunt for an ending, even from me who very much enjoys being blunt. And Britta loses Subway. But really, whoever pitched this love story with references to 1984 and tied it to such a topical idea as Corporations using an initiative to use people as actual proxies of the Corporation itself an actual person, a person who then becomes Britta's perfect man, well that writer should get a gold-star. Meghan Ganz maybe? Idk! LOL u guys!
JOHN MUTHA FUCKING GOODMAN!!! Not since Rip Torn in The Larry Sanders Show has a man worn a suit and goatee with such confidence. If you, dear reader, have not watched the new episode of Community or seen The Larry Sanders Show, I would Google both now. The acting chops are the same. Low, growling voice. Shakespearian over-dramatization. They look and sound exactly the same. Anyway, Goodman’s evil character is back and has a ponytail and has some issues to boot. The funny really hit with Vice Dean Laybourne's admission that “has a lot going on, it's kinda stressful. I’d he'd rather not talk about it.” Hahahaha oh. Come on!
The way Vice Dean Layborne plans Abed and Troy's destruction is dramatic and funny at the same time. The writers can get away with lovingly stealing exact plotlines from other great movies. It's something that's been going on a lot in TV these days, especially with Star Wars...hopefully you know what I mean. Community does it differently in that they have their own small world with very specific characters that they have to write around, so the base of each story is real in their world and the comparisons to other movies just kind of insert themselves discreetly, never displacing the "real world" of Community. “The Abed Christmas Episode” is one where you can see that the "real world” actually existed outside of Abed’s fantasy in the episode. When they returned to it in the clip-show, you see that everyone really was just sitting around the study room table and Abed had his eyes closed imagining everything that occurred in that Christmas episode. This basis of "reality" and trueness to the "Community" world is what I really love. When lockers show-up in the new episode, Jeff does a double take and comments on it, preempting viewers’ comments on the Internet later. Then it becomes his storyline; they validate the story-cheat of needing lockers. It's tricky, but great. But fuck Kim, that guy was a douche.