S2E13: Community had a very important lesson for us this week: drugs are bad, mmk? Yep, you betcha. Annie’s heading up Greendale’s anti-drug presentation for “at-risk pre-teens” and she’s got the whole study group involved. At first I was a little put off that she somehow managed to get them all to participate, but they are good friends and they love her, so it makes sense they’d sacrifice their dignity to give her a hand.
Overall, this episode was a bit predictable, pulling from the first few worn out pages of the sitcom playbook, but it worked and it kept the funny going, so I can forgive them for this one. Plus, Abed subtly makes sure to punctuate, not necessarily call out, the moments when the plot starts to dive into sitcom prescriptions and I think half the reason he was so silent this episode is because he felt like he was sitting on his couch watching an old episode of Friends or Who’s The Boss. Even when it’s being predictable, Community doesn’t forget who it is.
“Does marijuana make people work faster? I thought it helped people custom paint their vans and solve mysteries.” –Abed
And just like that, Abed roasts Scooby Doo in the first 15 seconds of the episode. Gotta love that kid. The cold open was nothing spectacular, but it did give us the chance to see Shirley say “tripping balls” while wearing a green crayon costume, Jeff and Britta literally dressed as the “cool cats” they are, the dean interrupting with the creepily suggestive pun “dean-dong!” and one of the best punch-lines we’ve had in a while.
“What are you doing in an apartment above Dildopolis? And when did they open a second location?” –Pierce
So here it is, the reason they’ve been carefully dropping hints about how crappy Annie’s little apartment is. Her parents cut her off after rehab and she’s running out of the money she saved from allowance and something called The Period Fairy. (Genius!) Once again, you’ve got to love the contrast that’s constantly within Annie. She’s always completely put together, prim and proper, but if she’s not going crazy, lying on the floor in the hall giving up on language or creating insane plots to straighten out her fellow study group members, she’s living in a dump above a sex shop, collecting cans like a hobo and driving around a rusty old bucket o’ bolts. And this is where things get going.
Pierce follows Annie home after she won’t give him more lines in her anti-drug play, but when he finds out where she lives, he takes her under his wing almost like a father and helps her pay her rent. Thank goodness the writers didn’t let this good feeling last too long (I was starting to actually LIKE Pierce), switching to a scene where Pierce is watching a reel of his father’s commercial for Hawthorne Wipes, wherein his dad hired an actor to play him because little Pierce failed his audition. Because it’s Community, and not some other show, this played out like Pierce was a typical serial killer from a horror movie. Secretly lying in wait, obsessing over past wrongs and vowing to somehow make them right. You have got to admit, even if you never liked Chevy Chase before, this is the one show where he fits absolutely perfectly.
“I don’t like flirting in text.” –Britta
“That’s like saying you don’t work by electric light.” –Jeff
In one of the secondary plots, we find the most textbook sitcom plot I can remember seeing on this show. Britta doesn’t want to text flirt with some dude, and because she’s suddenly and uncharacteristically an idiot and leaves her phone with Jeff Winger MULTIPLE times, he decides to help her out by sending flirty texts. Abed says it, but we’re all thinking it, asking how this could not be a bad idea. EXACTLY. But it’s the fact that the writers call it out through Abed that allows me to forgive them. It’s like they’re saying, “Yeah, we know. Just go with it.”
Plus, it’s worth it when Jeff pretends to be Britta’s boyfriend to keep her unnecessarily excited nephew who received the suggestive texts to keep quiet by delivering Britta’s bra to him as hush money. It was dastardly and awful and totally Jeff Winger.
“Are you ignoring because I’m Korean?” –Chang
“You’re Chinese.” –Shirley
“Oh, there’s a difference?” –Chang
Involving Chang in a pregnancy scandal is the only way I would accept this kind of drama on Community. By now, everyone knows about the Chang experience Shirley had on Halloween, but true to her character, she’s too embarrassed to deal with it. Chang is the perfect blend of creepy and lovable (but always managing to ruin that with something disgusting or disconcerting), even making Shirley a mix tape, but on an actual tape so she can’t play it, but don’t worry he made a list of tape players on Craig’s List. The writers are allowing Chang to take part in this humanizing storyline without stripping him of those bits that make him the character we all love to spit on.
Even when he saves the day at the end of the episode, he does it with overwhelming Chang-ness and finishes up by responding to Shirley’s apology with something that ensures we continue to think of him as the total nut-job that he is.
“Hey crayon, do you know where I can get some drugs?” –Troy
When it comes time for Annie’s little play, Pierce has put his helping hands to more diabolical use. Of course he does; he’s Pierce! It was predictable, but how could you not laugh (and feel the appropriate amount of remorse later) when we got to see Pierce dressed as a pot leaf with a rainbow fro, calling the bees and cool cats “nerds” and getting “50 at-risk pre-teens armed with baseballs” to chant “WE WANT DRUGS” just so that Chang could swoop in and make the perfect rescue, presenting his craziness as a metaphor for the aftermath of drug use. You have to admit, that was pretty perfect.
Plus, this whole plot forces Annie to finally get a job, which brings up a point I’ve been wondering about for a while. Why does no one have a job on this show? Britta’s endless supply of leather jackets can’t come out of thin air. I’m just glad they’re finally addressing it.
“Well. That answers my question. Jeff Winger is sexy even in a coffin.” –Dean
Okay, I don’t actually have a lot to say on this point other than how many creepy fetishes does the dean have? Necrophelia? Wow. At least they’re not letting his character grow stale, instead just letting him continue to fester like a petri dish in moist, warm room. Yuck…yet still hilarious.
“At Dildopolis, your privacy is our top concern. All store purchases will show up on your credit card as A.V.C. Dildos Incorporated.” – Announcement from Dildopolis
There was no Troy and Abed tag this week, but instead this incredibly uncomfortable, but funny scene with Annie as she attempts to sleep through the sex shop’s 2 a.m. announcement. I love that she stops pounding on the floor with a broom when they start talking about serving espresso and biscotti. Does anyone else think that Annie may be looking a little too close to home for that new job of hers? Wouldn’t that be the best possible job for her? Yes, yes it would. The only problem is that I have no idea how they could do that on network television, because I’m pretty sure you can’t show walls of sex toys on a Thursday night at 8 p.m., but if anyone can figure out a way, it’s this show.
In other words Prada--based on the bestselling novel by Lauren Weisberger--unfortunately plays upon the sitcom-y boss-from-hell scenario in which the young flunky manages to one up her superior in some valiant way. There are no surprises save for the fact that its set in the world of high fashion invoking all the fabulousness that entails and incorporates the amazing Streep as Miranda Priestly editor-in-chief of THE fashion magazine Runway. Oozing contempt and demanding perfection Miranda at first terrorizes her new assistant Andy (Anne Hathaway) an impressionable lass who wants to be a serious journalist and has no desire to be a “Clacker.” But that lasts for all of about 10 seconds. Andy is soon wearing those Jimmy Choo stilettos and clacking across the floor with the best of them--and the better she gets at her job the more her personal life falls apart. Naturally Andy wises up and realizes life isn’t about Dolce Gabbana and the rest of the gang. Still maybe she could keep one Prada handbag. You know just to remember the experience. Streep is having a nice little resurgence this year with two spectacular performances. In Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion she plays the sunny yet heartbroken half of a singing sister act--and in Prada she’s Satan incarnate. Quite a switch but in the ever-so-capable hands of the Oscar winner it’s a flawless transition. The best part of Streep’s Miranda is all the things she doesn’t say. It’s the searing looks the languid move of the hand--and the hushed tones. This isn’t Kevin Spacey’s screaming lunatic producer in Swimming with Sharks; this is about the threatening quiet and the sacrifices Miranda makes to be lonely at the top. Hathaway as a lovely Audrey Hepburn look-a-like manages to keep her head above water but still hasn’t quite gotten rid of her Princess Diaries gee whizzed-ness. But there’s potential. In supporting roles Stanley Tucci makes a memorable appearance as Miranda’s right-hand man at the magazine doling out snarky but sage advice to our heroine while Adrian Grenier (HBO’s Entourage) plays nice as Andy’s patient boyfriend. The only other real standout star of Prada is the clothes. And the shoes. Oh and the handbags hats belts scarves and other accessories. Director David Frankel--a HBO flunky himself having directed several episodes of Entourage Sex and the City and even HBO’s hit mini-series Band of Brothers--captures this high-powered world of trend and style succinctly giving all fashionista wannabes everywhere a brief but meaningful inside peek. But the real kudos go out to costume designer Patricia Field (an Emmy winner for her work on Sex and the City) who must have had a lot of fun with Prada. She magically produces designs from Valentino (who also makes a small cameo) Donna Karan Bill Blass Galliano and of course Prada. It must be like a painter being given permission to recreate a Picasso or a Monet. Prada is predictable it’s true--but with Streep’s streaked white Cruella De Vil and all the great fashion it’s worth its weight in Versace.