S2: E1 Last season, Greendale’s band of misfits left us with a surprisingly dramatic cliffhanger – Britta standing in front of the whole school like some romantic drama heroine professing her love to Jeff. And in true Jeff Winger style, he leaves her there, walks right outside and locks lips with Annie. What a douche (but could we expect anything different?)
Okay, that’s enough of that romantic cliffhanger crap – that’s not what we watch this show for, right? Last night’s premiere thankfully took the comedy high road, instead of taking the soupy soap opera route. The gang’s getting ready for their first day back at school and we get off campus pass to see their respective morning routines, including Abed jogging in place in tighty whities (there are some things you just can’t unsee), Troy waking up in a Spiderman onesie (Donald Glover really wants to play Spiderman, guys), and Pierce climbing out of his round waterbed in a 1970’s bachelor pad with a portrait of his younger self hanging over his head (I’m assuming they used Chevy Chase’s actual bedroom for this shot).
Back on campus, Troy and Pierce are buddy-buddy, fresh off a summer as the best roommate duo ever – and creating an opportunity for the birth of the Twitter sensation “OldWhiteManSays” and for some reason, Pierce’s jokes are funnier when Troy tweets them. (And far better than that overplayed Sh*t My Dad Says if you ask me; and nice way to take jab at CBS, guys but The Big Bang Theory is the one you’re competing with.) In their library lair the study group reconvenes, Annie awkwardly latches on to Jeff like a baby koala and just so you know, she checked her teen mag, and OMG, their last kiss was totally at make out level! (Danger, Will Robinson, danger). It also turns out Britta is being plagued by the school’s gaggles of gossip girls, but not because they think she’s pathetic. Apparently, she’s become a feminist hero after being rejected publicly – because as Abed astutely observes, she’s the “Jiltee, the Aniston.” Essentially, Jeff is totally screwed.
Then they get to the goods, the scene we’ve all been hearing about for months – Betty White as the new Anthropology professor. She comes in with a bang, shooting Starburns in the neck with a poison dart (thank God, I freaking hate that dude) before giving them their first assignment – choosing the best primitive tool for survival. After being persecuted on campus for ditching Britta and being constantly plagued be the Marsha Brady wannabe (Annie - guys, keep up), Jeff chooses his weapon for survival and “confesses” his cardboard “love” for Britta in front of the whole class. She’s not willing to back down, and they share the most awkward public open-mouthed tongue tangle I’ve ever seen. (At least they didn’t get all mushy on us.)
They continue on in their adversarial “relationship,” causing Annie to constantly wince in pain every three seconds. Britta sits awkwardly on Jeff’s lap giving him poison dart kisses as he blandly suggests they share a pair of head phones to listen to “a song I downloaded that reminds me of you.” (It works best if you read that last part in a robot voice.)
Finally, the shit hits the fan when Abed essentially dares Jeff and Britta to get married. When Britta proposes (yeah, that’s right; score one for the ladies), Annie wails like an injured hyena and Shirley is overjoyed that the pair won’t go to hell for their premarital sex on the study table (shit, how’d Shirley know?). It’s just the catalyst they need for a full-on goofy soap opera fight. “You kissed Annie?” “You slept with Britta and then kissed Annie?” Annie takes a swing at Jeff right before Abed returns to the library in a t-shirt tux, ready to call their bluff with a walking wedding – “It’s a wedding…episode.” Britta finally cuts the crap, announcing she never loved Jeff, he wins and everyone starts fighting. Pierce finds out that he is OldWhiteManSays and calls Troy out for being an idiot because he thinks all cats are girls and all dogs are boys (but to be fair to Troy, he’s right, I have never seen a cat penis). As everyone continues to fight like penis-less cats and boy dogs, Abed leaves announcing, “You’re cancelled,” and starts a mini monologue about how he can tell that this isn’t TV because TV is predictable and follows a formula. (We get it Abed; it’s all so meta. And way to pat yourselves on the back for being the most innovative comedy on television, dudes. Get back to showing us instead of beating us over the head with it.)
Jeff has the guts to show his bruised mug in Anthropology class the next day, and I guess the poison dart did something to jumpstart Starburns’ brain because he lays out the situation for Jeff – he’s a douche. Then, we get the show’s schmaltzy conclusion with Jeff’s apology to the group touting respect as the ultimate weapon. It needed to happen, but Betty White’s Professor Bauer soon swoops in for the kill, literally. She pulls out her super-weapon and tells Jeff to defend himself with respect and consequently kicks his ass, finishing what Annie started and landing him in the hospital. Don’t worry, Jeff’s fine. Professor Bauer is suspended and everyone gets an A – woo! (But I think Jeff was more excited that Annie now thinks he’s gross; he certainly dodged a bullet there.) Before they leave us, they take one final jab at CBS when Pierce suggests they make OldWhiteManSays a TV show and everyone collectively yells, “NO.” (Hey, it’s about time someone said something.)
I wait patiently every week for the Abed and Troy’s video at the end of the episode, and this week’s didn’t disappoint. I’ve got five words for you: Betty White Rapping About Anthropology. God, I’m glad this show is back.