July 13, 2012 11:02am EST
Community is all about taking the good with the bad — that’s what you get from a show about seven people forming friendships to make up for the emptiness and turmoil elsewhere in their lives. The San Diego Comic-Con panel for Community certainly reflected the bittersweet nature of the series, as it opened with a music-backed montage of some of the highlights from the spectacular Season 3, and a reminder that the series will be taking a new slot on Friday nights from here on out. However, the mood didn’t stay somber for long — the emphatic introductions of the cast included a fan favorite running gag: referring to series star Joel McHale as Ryan Seacrest. One of the biggest controversies about the future of Community involves the replacement of series creator Dan Harmon as showrunner with two newcomers — David Guarascio and Moses Port. The new leads on the program expressed their appreciation for the series, and pledged to keep it the Community fans know and love: “A couple of months ago, we were just like you. Fans of the show who thought it was one of the most special things on TV. Now we’re here, helping to keep it going. The only thing we care about is keeping it this special gem that it's been, and that's not going to change.” And although the stars themselves have always expressed appreciation for Community’s devoted fan base, you can’t expect McHale to say anything truly sincere without a bit of snark peppered in: “Your flash mobs and fake beards and blood sacrifices culminated into the greatest fan base any show has ever had in the history of television. So if we do get cancelled after 13 episodes, I blame you.” Obviously, fans are approaching Season 4 of Community with hesitation — Guarascio and Port are not blind to this, and are even willing to acknowledge it outright. “The easy part about it is,” Guarascio said, “we are fans of the show first, and observed it from afar thinking, ‘Wow, how amazing is that cast? How amazing would it be to write for them?’” Following his partner’s illustration of the series as “a beacon,” Port concisely added, “We’re not going to screw it up.” Along with a few musical highlights from the cast — Alison Brie singing a quick, “Troy and Abed and Annie in the morning!” (to costar Danny Pudi’s mock disgust); Pudi giving the audience a rendition of the Christmas rap from “Regional Holiday Music,” followed by McHale’s exclamation of, “That’s right motherf**kers!” — some interesting bits of information about where the study group’s journeys will take them were revealed. After a hint that guest star Nick Kroll and his band of German bullies from the episode “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism” “might be coming back,” Guarascio revealed two interesting locations that Season 4 will take fans: “We’re going to get to see Pierce’s mansion, to see the twisted world where Pierce lives.” But even more exciting than that is the promise of “an Inspector Spacetime convention,” which inspired an incredible amount of enthusiasm from the crowd. And best of all, McHale’s suggestion that just maybe, the Dean might have another floorgasm. A big addition to the Community universe this past season was the budding relationship between Britta and Troy. Britta portrayer Gillian Jacobs discussed the tender nature of this kind of story: “I think it's a very delicate line these guys walk between having sparks and farts and not sending us into the realm of a relationship show. I just do the hugging.” And she demonstrated this quite literally, when a fan professed his adoration for Jacobs by announcing that every time he sees her, his heart beats. Jacobs responded by rushing down into the crowd and giving the young man a hug (much like Pudi did for a fan during this year’s Paleyfest), declaring, “Now that I’ve seen you I know what a heartbeat feels like.” A very sweet moment… and one that likely incurred jealousy in the beating hearts of every other fan present. But back on the topic of Britta and Troy, Guarascio did tease, “The sparks turn into a little bit of a fire.” Among the other fan proclamations was an expression of gratitude from the crowd for Community’s respectful and empowering portrayal of Asperger’s through the character of Abed. As for the future of the characters, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. When asked about who might play his character’s father, McHale joked, “Eddie Murphy, everybody. Pluto Nash himself.” The cast also speculated on where their characters might find work after community college. Yvette Nicole Brown, who plays Shirley, opted for the sincere (“Sandwich shop”), with Pudi and Jacobs following suit, to reasonable degrees: “the video department at Greendale,” and “a one-eyed cat shelter,” respectively. But of course, there were a few jokes. Brie made things meta by suggesting, “Annie would move over to Childrens Hospital on Adult Swim,” and McHale opted, once again, for the snark with the simple phrase, “Armani Exchange.” Attending fans were treated to a gag reel (see embedded below!) from the Community Season 3 DVD (which comes out August 14, and will keep tradition of offering audio commentary for every episode, along with twenty minutes of outtakes and a “special look” at the episode “Pillows and Blankets”), as well as a compilation of the multitude of fan videos created as a tribute to the influence of the NBC sitcom. Among the bits featured in the compilation include the 30 Rock groupies singing “Christmas Troy,” fans declaring how Community helped them through difficult times, and one devotee in an Inspector Spacetime outfit. Clearly, Community has had a tremendous impact on its cast. Although Season 4 might be the one we’re heading into with the most apprehension, this panel proved that the show is still worth being excited about. If only to see that floorgasm. Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna [PHOTO CREDIT: NBC] MORE: 'Community': Why It's Okay that Dan Harmon's Show Is Over 'Community' Hires New Showrunners; Dan Harmon Blindsided — UPDATE 10 'Community' Episodes That Couldn't Exist Without Dan Harmon
June 20, 2012 2:07pm EST
Instead of following a ragtag team of brutes hired for a suicide mission to destroy an Earth-bound meteor Seeking a Friend for the End of the World plays out the apocalyptic "what if?" scenario from the everyman vantage point. Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) the film pairs average joe Dodge (Steve Carell) with wallflower Penny (Keira Knightley) for a journey across the east coast a hunt for Dodge's college sweetheart. Scafaria takes a character-first approach to her anti-blockbuster examining the end of the world with a pitch black sense of humor. But the road trip loses steam as it chugs along with the film's insistence to avoid Hollywood disaster tropes taking a toll on the entertainment value. Dodge and Penny are so normal they aren't that interesting to watch. In turn neither is Seeking a Friend.
Worse for Dodge than the whole "destruction of humanity" thing is the fact that he's facing it alone; his wife leaves him he has no real family and he hates nearly all of his friends. While everyone he knows is either hooking up or shooting up in hopes of going out on a high note Dodge buckles under the weight of an existential crisis that feels all too familiar. To his rescue is next-door neighbor Penny who insists the two hit the road together to go find Dodge's one-that-got-away. They don't have much of a choice as New York City is quickly overrun by Malatov cocktail-hurling riots.
When the catastrophe and societal chaos is seen through Dodge's eyes and Carell's complex interpretation of the straight man Scafaria hits all the marks. Watching Dodge tell his cleaning lady to go home because "What's the point?" is heartbreaking while his good friend's descent into frat boy madness for the same reasons nails mankind's vile tendencies. And through it all it's funny thanks to Carell's impeccable timing. When Dodge is eventually paired up with Penny the film meanders the two never unearthing what it is about each other that keeps them sticking together. The duo run into a kindly truck driver (who's hired an assassin to off him when he's unaware) a TGIFriday's-esque restaurant full of zany drugged up waiters and even one of Penny's ex-boyfriends whose locked down with automatic rifles and Ruffles chips in anticipation of the end. But Dodge and Penny's quest is mostly about the in-between moments the quitter grounded human reactions to the apocalypse. Even with great performers at the helm Seeking a Friend doesn't organically shape those moments so much as contrive them. In one scene Penny fondly recalls the wonders of listening to music on vinyl Dodge listening carefully and learning. It's a soft and low key discussion perfect juxtaposition against the big-scale problem at hand but when a twenty-something is explaining records to a guy nearing 50 it comes off as twee instead of truthful. The problem infiltrates most of Seeking a Friend's character moments.
Scafaria has an ear and eye for comedy but Seeking a Friend boldly reaches for something more. Sadly ambition doesn't translate to success a messy tonal mix that fail to make it all that engaging or emotional. Carell and Knightley serve the material as best they can but this is the end of the world an even that requires a little weight a little sensationalism and a little more than a casual road movie.
June 19, 2012 5:57am EST
Whatever you'd call the equivalent of a "rags to riches" story in terms of a television program's critical appreciation, that's what 2012 has been for NBC's Community. On Monday night, the sitcom, which only a few months prior had been in the midst of a threatening hiatus due to low ratings, earned the title of Best Comedy at the second annual Critics Choice Awards for television.
But as if to drive home the fact that this world just refuses to give Community fanatics any true joy, the series' creator Dan Harmon, whom NBC fired as Community showrunner for the upcoming fourth season, was not present to accept the award. As Harmon Tweeted shortly after the ceremony, "Congrats, Community, and thank you, critics. Sorry I was unable to have been invited!" The brilliant mind behind NBC's greatest artistic testament to human relationships since Cheers was ousted from his showrunner position shortly after the network announced that Community would receive a Season 4; this event publicized Harmon's contentious relationship with the studio, akin perhaps to his relationship with series star Chevy Chase. The Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy was accepted Community cast members Joel McHale (leading man Jeff Winger), Gillian Jacobs (bad-at-everything Britta Perry), and Danny Pudi (best-character-in-the-history-of-television Abed Nadir), as well as executive producer Russ Krasnoff. Back when Community was first nominated for the honor, speculation about the program's Emmy chances arose. Now, they're even more feasible — the 2012 Emmy ballot is just aching for Greendale Community College. Below is a complete list of this year's Critics Choice Award winners: Best Drama Series Homeland (Showtime) Best Actor in a Drama Series Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad (AMC) Best Actress in a Drama Series Claire Danes - Homeland (Showtime) Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Giancarlo Esposito - Breaking Bad (AMC) Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Christina Hendricks - Mad Men (AMC) Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series Lucy Liu - Southland (TNT) Best Reality Series Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Travel Channel) Best Reality Series - Competition The Voice (NBC) Best Reality Show Host (Tie) Tom Bergeron - Dancing with the Stars (ABC), Cat Deeley - So You Think You Can Dance (FOX) Best Talk Show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC) Best Comedy Series Community (NBC) Best Actor in a Comedy Series Louis C.K.- Louie (FX) Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Tie) Zooey Deschanel - New Girl (FOX) and Amy Poehler - Parks and Recreation (NBC) Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Ty Burrell - Modern Family (ABC) Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Julie Bowen - Modern Family (ABC) Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series Paul Rudd - Parks and Recreation (NBC) Best Animated Series Archer (FX) Best Movie/Miniseries Sherlock (PBS) Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock (PBS) Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries Julianne Moore - Game Change (HBO) [Image Credit: NBC] More: 'Community' Season Finale: #SixSeasonsAndAMovie 'Community': Why It's Okay that Dan Harmon's Show Is Over John Oliver: The Internet is 'Killing' 'Community' Community
June 18, 2012 6:42am EST
You love them, we love them, and it's high time Emmy recognized them. We're talking about the TV actors and actresses who have yet to be recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, despite drawing us in week in and week out with their awe-inspiring ability to make us laugh, cry, or a weird combination of both. So every day here at Hollywood.com, we're going to be saluting those on the small screen who deserve an Emmy nomination, longshot status be damned. To kick off the series: Danny Pudi, who plays Community fan favorite, Abed Nadir.
In the 1950s, a CBS-employed sound engineer named Charles Douglass invented and unleashed onto the world the American institution we know as the laugh track. For over half a century, recorded audience reactions have maintained a consistent home in network television, proving with its durability that people prefer to be told how to feel about their TV shows. The practice of spelling out desired emotions for viewing audiences has become the norm, taking form in other ways — characters “feel” quite strongly. They laugh heartily, weep openly, and shout out their rage with passion. In turn, these are the characters that make us laugh and cry. These are the characters that win their actors Emmys, because they make us feel. So imagine the plight it must be for an actor to achieve the same result — inspiring the same heartfelt laughter and diabolical eye-misting — without so much as changing his facial expression or altering his vocal tone an iota over the course of three seasons on television. That’s no fluke; what you’re dealing with there is a masterful performer handling one of the most challenging TV characters with unabashed gravitas. What you’re dealing with is Community’s Danny Pudi, the man behind the NBC comedy’s breakout star, Abed.
In the first few minutes of Community’s pilot, Pudi was introduced amid a rapid-fire rattling off of an inordinate amount of mundane details about himself and co-Greendale Community College student, Britta Perry (the also remarkably adept Gillian Jacobs). From this episode, you’d think of Abed solely as comic relief. He’s a weirdo: He speaks oddly, thinks strangely, and obviously doesn’t quite meld well with the world around him. And considering the fact that this is a sitcom, you’d be wise to expect nothing but great gags rooted in the character’s idiosyncrasies. But if that’s all you’ve gotten as of the finale of Season 3 (and, as far as many are concerned, the series altogether), you were sourly shortchanged.
The program’s intention with Abed was made clear as early as the third episode, when fans got a heartbreaking insight into how much difficulty the character has expressing himself, and how his “abnormality” contributed to his mother’s leaving the family. Ever since, Community has scattered Abed-centric episodes evenly throughout its seasons, gradually giving us more and more insight into the young man’s ostensibly nonexistent pain and suffering. And Season 3 really kicked this into high gear.
Pudi was charged with some of his most demanding maneuvers to date. He experienced his first fight with best friend Troy (Donald Glover, who also shone in Season 3… but I’ll stop complimenting Community’s entire cast now); this was an arc that showcased the best and worst aspects of both Greendale students. Abed battled through his own emotional conflicts by playing off an imagined evil version of himself and Pudi handled both roles immaculately. In the unforgettable Dreamatorium episode, Pudi managed to unravel, deconstruct, and then reconstruct Abed so artistically that even the most diehard fans learned a few new things about their favorite Community character.
But Pudi doesn’t have to go grandiose to sell emotion. In fact, when he decides to “go normal” for Shirley’s (Yvette Nicole Brown) wedding, attempting to assimilate by talking at length about hors d’oeuvres to a relative stranger, it’s hysterical. When he commits (and then some) to his Law & Order-inspired detective role during a mission to find out who sabotaged his science project, you’ll be overcome with laughter. But not even these gems top Pudi’s delivery of the over-the-top hokey shtick as a bawdy plumber pulling a ruse on Greendale Community College security in the
June 05, 2012 10:15am EST
Hit U.S. comedy Community will be leading the way at the upcoming Critics' Choice Television Awards after landing six nominations.
The show will compete against Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory and New Girl for Best Comedy Series, while its stars Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Jim Rash, Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs have all earned nods in the comedy acting categories.
The critically-acclaimed Mad Men has scored five nominations - it is up for Best Drama Series, alongside Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad, while its lead actor Jon Hamm will battle it out for the Best Actor in a Drama Series award with the likes of Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Kelsey Grammer (Boss).
Amy Pohler's comedy Parks and Recreation ties with five nods, while Julianna Margulies' hit legal drama The Good Wife, Modern Family, New Girl, Breaking Bad and Girls all landed four.
The winners will be unveiled at a ceremony in Los Angeles on 18 June (12).
June 05, 2012 8:03am EST
Community's complicated relationship with television has found another silver lining. The beloved cult favorite, which was granted an abbreviated fourth season despite low ratings (before being bumped to television graveyard's Friday night lineup and losing its showrunner and arguable guts of the show, Dan Harmon, in the process) is now leading the pack for the 2nd Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards.
The comedy earned six nods, more than any other show (pop! pop!) including Best Comedy Series (vying for the title with The Big Bang Theory, Girls, New Girl, Parks and Recreation, and last year's champ Modern Family) and nominations for some of its stars, including Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi, Jim Rash, and Gillian Jacobs. Interestingly enough, Community's network NBC, which has seen its own share of struggles in the television landscape, had more nominations than any other network with 14 nods total. Sans Community, NBC would have fallen behind ABC, HBO, FX, and AMC, which earned 13, 12, and 11 CCTA nods, respectively.
While Community has always been something of a critical darling, it's never quite earned the same accolades as fellow cult gem Arrested Development did during its run. With awareness of Community arguably at its highest (propelled, in part, by those headline-grabbing feuds between Harmon and star Chevy Chase) six seasons and a movie doesn't seem as implausible a feat as once feared, especially if Emmy follows the CCTA's lead this year.
Emmy waited a little too long to rightfully reward another fan favorite, Friday Night Lights (which had its own complicated relationship with NBC) but with Community still around, for now, it may be time for them to strike while the iron is hot. Depending on how Community fares at the CCTAs, the crazy little show that could may get another boost of confidence.
Among the other big nominees for the 2012 CCTAs include last year's winner for Best Drama Mad Men, which will compete with Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, and Homeland. Check out the complete list of nominees in all the major acting categories (whose notable names include Louis C.K., Lena Dunham, Max Greenfield, Cat Deeley, Kevin Costner, Casey Wilson, and Benedict Cumberbatch, among the varied lot), as well as Best Reality Series, Best Animated Series and Best Talk Show, here.
Is 'Community' Emmy bound?
[Photo credit: NBC]
Community Hires New Showrunner; Dan Harmon Blindsided Community: Why It's Okay That Dan Harmon's Show is Over Community Renewed for Season 4
May 18, 2012 9:04pm EST
UPDATE: Former showrunner Dan Harmon has taken to his blog to talk to friends about the change, claiming he was fired from his post. Harmon writes, "Why'd Sony want me gone? I can't answer that because I've been in as much contact with them as you have. They literally haven't called me since the season four pickup, so their reasons for replacing me are clearly none of my business. Community is their property, I only own ten percent of it, and I kind of don't want to hear what their complaints are because I'm sure it would hurt my feelings even more now that I'd be listening for free."
And perhaps Community fans should worry about his role as "consulting producer" on the series. Harmon says in his blog that he has yet to be contacted about continuing work on the series. "You may have read that I am technically 'signed on,' by default, to be an executive consulting something or other — which is relatively standard protective clause for a creator in my position," Harmon writes. "Guys like me can't actually just be shot and left in a ditch by Skynet, we're still allowed to have a title on the things we create and 'help out,' like, I guess sharpening pencils and stuff."
Should Harmon attempt to help, he says, he'd simply be "offering" suggestions, not enforcing creative changes: "I'm not saying you can't make a good version of Community without me, but I am definitely saying that you can't make my version of it unless I have the option of saying 'It has to be like this or I quit' roughly 8 times a day."
Harmon also says he saw the replacement coming. "I had my assistant start packing my office days ago. I'm sorry. I'm not saying seasons 1, 2 and 3 were my definition of perfect television, I'm just saying that whatever they[re going to do for season 4, they're aiming to do without my help," he writes. "So do not believe anyone that tells you on Monday that I quit or diminished my role so I could spend more time with my loved ones, or that I negotiated and we couldn't come to an agreement, etc. It couldn't be less true because, just to make this clear, literally nobody called me."
Though NBC is not issuing comment about Harmon's words, the Community cast has taken to Twitter to respond to the showrunner's ouster. Wrote star Joel McHale: "@danharmon you are a true genius. You gave me the role of a lifetime & three of the best years of my life."
Responded Gillian Jacobs, "I wholeheartedly agree with @joelmchale. I'm so grateful to @danharmon for my role, the show and everything else. Thank you, Dan. Thank you."
Yvette Nicole Brown tweeted, "@danharmon So many thoughts. So little room. I guess, 'I heart you' and 'Thank you to INFINITY' will have to do for now."
Finally, Alison Brie also spoke out about the Community shift: "I'm in creative debt to @danharmon who let us ride the coattails of his integrity, pushing boundaries & making f'ing awesome tv. Thanks Dan."
EARLIER: Community's community just got a bit bigger — despite the fact that beloved former showrunner Dan Harmon has taken a back seat. After news broke that Harmon would be stepping down as the series' showrunner, Deadline reports David Guarascio and Moses Port have stepped into the role for Season 4 of the NBC series. Über-fans of the series need not be worried — Harmon will still be involved to help keep Community a must-see, serving as a consulting producer. And it seems the network has left the show in good hands: Guarascio and Port have plenty of quirky sitcom experience in the industry, most recently as consulting producers on ABC rising star Happy Endings. The duo also executive produced Just Shoot Me! and Aliens in America. Would it be wishful thinking for us to hope the Chevy Chase-headed Community will now become a big, happy family? [Image Credit: NBC] More:10 'Community' Episodes That Couldn't Exist Without Dan HarmonCommunity React: #SixSeasonsandaMovieJohn Oliver: The Internet is 'Killing' 'Community'
April 10, 2012 1:09pm EST
Apparently, the infamous Community feud — contentious genius showrunner Dan Harmon vs. contentious genius performer Chevy Chase — dates back a bit longer than fans might have thought. Although the animosity between the pair only became public around the beginning of this month, Chase has had a problem with Community for some time now. Celebuzz has gotten hold of a phone conversation between Harmon and Chase, during which the latter rants on about his displeasure with the style of comedy presented on the NBC sitcom.
"There's a disconnect somewhere ... I don't know who is doing the editing, and making the choices that count the most. But ... obviously, you don't get my humor at all, or what it is I do that's funny, that actually makes people laugh," he said.
Chase goes on to refer specifically to the Season Two episode "Cooperative Calligraphy," with which he takes particular issue: "I don't appreciate a great joke, like the cast being ripped off my [legs], and pointing out all the funny things that are in my cast that I've tried to scratch [myself with] — and it's just cut. It's just cut out. There's just one line about some kind of thing I eat that was in my cast, when you had big laughs."
Although there is no confirmed date of this conversation, it seems to have taken place no later than Dec. 2, 2010, the air date of Community's Season Two episode "Mixology Certification." Chase refers to elements of the episode in the following remark: "Tonight, I'm doing s*** in that f**king place in a wheelchair that is cut down, down, down, down. So that what? So that people call follow the f***ing storyline between Joel [McHale] and Gillian [Jacobs]? And love affairs, and kissing? Come on, man, you're missing the f***ing point. This is not my kind of comedy. I thought you hired me for what I can do that's funny. You've got to give me some range."
Heated though his words may be, Chase has expressed an appreciation for his costars' talent, and even expresses a fondness for Harmon and his talents in this newly revealed call: "I really like you. I think your writing is great. I think everything you do is great." However, Chase does go on to pinpoint where he thinks the problem originates: "But the problem is, Dan, that you're not there when we shoot. And you're not there when they edit. And if you want me on this f***ing show again, I've got news for you: I don't want it. It's just a f***ing mediocre sitcom."
Considering the suspected date of the phone call, fans should not worry too much about Chase's threats to leave the show. He did eventually sign onto Season Three, and will hopefully do so again if a fourth season does come to be. Although Chase might not see what some others do in Community, he is an invaluable part of the cast makeup. Hopefully, the brunt of the Harmon-Chase feud is in the past, and fans can look forward to greener dales. Rather, pastures.
Community Season Finale: Eight Clues From Joel McHale's Day in the Life
Chevy Chase's Community Boss Apologizes for His "Unclassy Move"
Community Recap: Pillows and Blankets
April 10, 2012 10:35am EST
Now that NBC's metaphysical journey through the land of sitcom tropes has returned to us, let's talk about the end. Community finally returned from the cruel three month-long hiatus imposed upon us mere mortals to an audience of hungry, adoring fans. Naturally, the only thing to do now is to posit what the wondrous season finale may hold (other than another tortuous four months without a whiff of new Community).
Luckily, Joel McHale let Morgan Spurlock waltz onto the set of his NBC series for an episode of the Hulu docu-series, A Day in the Life, and a few tiny finale spoilers came along as collateral damage. Here's what we learned from the accidental behind-the-scenes peek:
1. Greendale's Day in Court: We happen upon a big finale court-room scene set-up in the old Anthropology classroom. Unfortunately, it seems Betty White is still on probation and John Oliver is sleeping off a hangover on some distant sidewalk.
2. Jeff is "Attorneyizing": Actress Gillian Jacobs (Britta) won't dish about the circumstances of the case, but she did deliver that gem of intel. We can be sure Jeff will don an impeccable suit and exercise his ever-flapping, overly-articulate gums.
3. Rob Corddry is Back: Jeff's old law firm frenemy has returned. You know what that means: Prepare for lines and lines of cocaine jokes.
4. Dean Pelton Got Into the Drama Dept. Costumes Again: It's a brief glimpse, but that's definitely the dean in a white Queen's Counsel wig on a judge's bench. I wonder if they make traditional court robes in Dalmatian print?
5. Jeff is Shirley's Hero... Maybe: In the court room, we find Jeff sitting at a table with Shirley while Corddry defends Pierce. Did Subway tear the business partners asunder? Curse you, Subway!
6. Yep, That's Evil Timeline Abed: He's apparently escaped from the Dreamatorium and he's now threatening Jeff's loveliest asset: his face. "I'm going to cut off Jeff Winger's arm. I'm going to cut off Jeff Winger's face!" screams Danny Pudi.
7. The Return of Jeff's Superpower: Of course by superpower, we mean his long-windedness. Jeff Winger, master speechsmith, is at it again. And this one's going to be a doozie. Even Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) is driven to joyous applause for this one.
8. The Gang's All Here!: The courtroom scene is full of Greendale faces, including the study group and folks like Starburns and Leonard. And considering Community has yet to be renewed for a fourth season (we're quaking in our space boots with our fingers and toes crossed over here), getting the whole buncha losers together for the finale is only right should the worst news befall us come May.
To see the sneak peeks for yourself, enjoy this clip from A Day in the Life!
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
More: Community Recap: Of Forts and Friendships Chevy Chase's Community Boss Apologizes for "Unclassy" Move Community Recap: Troy and Abed Go To War
March 16, 2012 3:31am EST
S3E11: Welcome back, old friend.
Community has generally come out of hiatuses with some of its lower-concept episodes—the pilot, the introduction/dismissal of Buddy (which, although predating its high-concept run, was arguably the first truly meta piece of work Community gave us), the Jeff vs. Britta battle of spite kicking off Season 2. And although the high-concepts are the show’s claims to glory, this is always a pretty good idea. Before we start gallivanting off into paintball games and zombie attacks, we need to take some time to remember why these people are worth sticking with through these ridiculous adventures. This week’s “Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts” does just that. In spades.
The various smaller storylines revolve around one central event: Shirley’s wedding. At the beginning of the episode, Shirley’s ex-husband/boyfriend Andre (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) proposes to her, and quite musically I might add. Everyone is thrilled, save for Britta. The proposal comes just in time to overshadow Shirley’s plans to start a sandwich business with Pierce—a conflict that represents a character arc that has been following Shirley for a while now.
Back in a deleted scene from the Season 2 finale, Shirley admitted to Britta that now that she was reunited with Andre, she was considering giving up her plight for higher education and her own food-oriented business, much to Britta’s disapproval. I was disappointed that the show decided to remove this scene, because it highlighted a conflict in Shirley that had seemingly gone ignored otherwise. Her decision to get back together with Andre has infringed on her development as the character we met at the beginning of Community: the woman who admitted proudly in front of her entire accounting/seize-the-day class, “Now it’s time to get what’s mine.” Throughout Seasons 2 and 3, this abandonment of her original journey has gone primary unaddressed. But thankfully, “Urban Matrimony” tackles the issue head on.
"I've loved you since there was a Cold War and only one Damon Wayans." - Andre
Britta convinces Shirley to allow her to plan the wedding (cue literally two full minutes of laughter on Shirley’s part) so that Shirley can have some free time to pursue getting her business off the ground with Pierce, who is passionately invested in this new project. He has secretly been fired from Hawthorne Wipes by the board of directors (they were waiting for Pierce’s father to die before giving him the boot). Shirley concedes, and the two make great headway in convincing Dean Pelton to allow them to open a sandwich stand in the Greendale cafeteria.
However, this business meeting makes Shirley late to her own wedding rehearsal (the whole engagement lasts about a day), which drives Andre furious. He lambasts her for her choosing business over him, and even spouts out some sexist commentary about how once they’re married, he’ll be the breadwinner and she’ll be the stay-at-home mom, just like they used to be.
This seems like a point of no return for Shirley and Andre—his behavior is pretty obscene. But that’s the thing about Shirley episodes: like their focal character, they’re loving, and forgiving, and although maybe a little bit in denial, generally good inside. Shirley and Andre make up quickly, with Andre vowing to be more open-minded and understanding. If you’re a Britta (guilty as charged) this may seem a little hack. But if you’re more of a Shirley, you’ll appreciate the good-natured turn for a sometimes dark and cynical series.
And even though Shirley’s and Pierce’s business does not take off—the Dean sold the cafeteria space to Subway out of spite over not being invited to Shirley’s wedding—it is understood that Shirley will continue her entrepreneurial endeavors. Let’s hope we do see more of that. I want Shirley to have it all.
"Shut up, Leonard! Those teenage girls you play ping-pong with are doing it ironically!" - Jeff
All the while, Britta finds she has an unexpected knack for wedding planning. And she couldn’t be more miserable about this. Britta hates the very idea of marriage, weddings, plans, conformity—you know the drill. But her bitter acceptance of her true nature as a “traditional” woman, destined for a stable marriage and a “conventional” family, drives her to drink.
She’s not alone in her drunken stupor. Jeff, plagued with the task of making the wedding speech, turns to alcohol. You’d think master speaker Jeff would have no problem with this, but there’s a key to his talents: B.S. Jeff can speak freely and convincingly about anything that means nothing to him. But as a child of a very messy divorce, the idea of marriage haunts and weakens Jeff.
In one of the episode’s funniest moments, the drunken pair of marriage-hating narcissists takes the altar at the wedding, pledging vows to one another in front of a minister and their friends, purely out of intoxicated sorrow, desperation and their unequivocal need for attention—stopped just in time by a furious Shirley. Above all, this is a great “welcome back” move for Community. There’s nothing like a good explosion of the Jeff/Britta psyche to remind us how complicated and valuable (not to mention just plain funny) these characters are.
“Troy and Abed being normal.” – Troy and Abed (not sung)
As one would expect, the key to the episode lies in the hands of everybody’s favorite duo: Troy and Abed. As ordered by Shirley, Troy and Abed have to promise not to be weird at the wedding. In order to ensure this, they spend an entire day in the Dreamatorium (that is the happiest half-a-sentence I have ever written) getting all of the weird out of their systems. When they emerge, Troy and Abed are what Troy and Abed consider to be “normal people.” Wearing normal clothing, making normal small-talk, and engaging in normal wedding activities, like dancing and recommending hors d'oeuvres to fighting fiancées. And believe it or not (if you’re a fan, you probably do), every single second of each of their performances is unabashed comic brilliance.
They eventually snap out of it after prolonged normalcy—Troy spots Annie’s Boobs crawling around the vents, reminding him instantly of who he really is. All it takes for him to win Abed back is to put a bowl on his head and pretend they’re playing Inspector Spacetime. They accept that they like who they are far better than they do their normal counterparts, and go on being the greatest members of human society in the history of the planet Earth.
The episode ends with Pierce yelling at his father’s grave, proclaiming himself the first Hawthorne to open a sandwich business (he has not yet heard the Subway news). The scene is cut off quite abruptly, which provokes a little discomfort and a lot of laughter…eventually.
It is so good to have you back, Community, and in such perfect form. While this episode is not likely to be in your Top 10 of the series’ best, it is an adept welcome back for the show we’ve missed and worried about since its hiatus was instituted. And if this spoilerific but way awesome trailer is any indication, there are nothing but even better things on the way, for the next six seasons and a movie.
Do you think this is a good way to get back into the swing of things? Would you like to see Shirley really make her dream of a cooking business come true? How about a drunk Winger/Perry wedding? Let us know in the comments section, or on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter. And rejoice! Greendale is back!