S2E17: Last night’s Community was just alright, but let’s put this into proper context. It’s one of the best shows on television, so I’ll gladly take an average episode of Greendale antics over even the best episode of some other mediocre show. Besides, we can't expect them to put two amazing episodes back to back – anything would have a hard time following last week’s fantastic display.
As we hinted yesterday, Greendale is all abuzz about Vice President Joe Biden’s impending visit to the Greendale campus. Naturally, the Dean decides that they need to hold a last-minute election so that the VP doesn’t find them student government-less. Naturally, this pits Jeff and Annie against each other and gives Britta an opportunity to see just how unpopular her overt anarchist views are on campus ("EVERYONE WANTS YOU TO SHUT UP"). They managed a concise political satire, but it’s obvious that their forte is pop (POP!) culture and not politics. The episode felt a little broader than Community episodes characteristically do, but it was still a good time because when is this show ever not enjoyable? Oh that’s right, never.
“I wanna go to rehab and compare penises with famous people.” –Troy
I would go into another little diatribe about how much I love Troy, but I think I’ve run out my allowance for those sorts of things. I love that as soon as the episode opened and we found that everything is back to normal – Pierce is back, everyone’s fine, it’s time to study – but the group was just as unwilling to acknowledge that normalcy. It was a little meta moment, because last year we would have been perfectly fine with them getting back to normal school antics, but this year they’ve colored so far outside the lines that we were just as excited to see the Dean burst in with his conundrum as they were.
“Anyone who wants to be president line up by the ice cream machine.” –the Dean
This is where things started getting a little too obtuse for my tastes. The nominations begin and it seems that any idiot with a sprinkle of interest is considered for the nomination – including supernerd Garett who literally lined up because he thought he might get ice cream. Yes, we get it, many political candidates seem to be chosen as arbitrarily as Garett. Moving on.
Annie, being the studious youngster that she is, wants to run for school president so she can make some idealistic changes on campus. Jeff swoops in, desperate to prove his notion that popularity is what wins elections, not solid platforms and promises. Cue the broad strokes reenactment of the last three presidential elections. I’m pretty sure Jeff’s speech about how “beer should be cold, boots should be dusty, 9-11 was bad and I think freedom is a little better” could probably be held up against one of President George W. Bush’s old speeches with only a few slight differences.
Of course Annie’s speeches are all hope and change, with actual issues attached, but no one wants to listen until she borrows the President George Bush Sr-ism “Read My Lips” and boils her platform down to one issue. She and Jeff eventually realizes that they’re both behaving badly in order to win and that those behaviors are not fitting of leaders but not before Annie gets real down and dirty by showing JEFF WINGER’S REAL WORLD AUDITION TAPE. Yes, it’s a thing and it’s exactly what it should be. Thank you Community writers for that 40 seconds of awesomeness.
“Do you just constantly have your own side adventures?” –Troy
“Me too.” –Troy
This week, Abed is part of a more central plot – he and Troy are covering the elections for the college’s closed circuit television station – but he’s also got his own little side plot. While Abed is usually the only observer on campus, he’s noticed the Secret Service agents who are casing the joint for the VP are taking over his silent observer territory. This leads to something I don’t think any of us expected – Abed and a lady friend…a really HOT lady friend (guest star Eliza Coupe). After they are forced to search him because of suspicious behavior (come on, we love Abed, but in the real world, his quirks would totally be called suspicious), she takes a liking to him. Once the lovely agent realizes Abed’s not a threat, she continues leading the charge tearing through his room and belongings just so she can be nearer to him. Aw. They share this robotic interchange and eventually, Abed gives her a reason to come back by announcing the recipe for a homemade bomb on campus TV so that she can come back and observe him watching a movie. Yes, this was all very strange; but was it very Abed? You bet. Remember when they tried to change him to get him into the dating game and he turned all vampire weirdo? We don’t need that (as funny as it was). Abed needs to date the Abed way and I would never have guessed this would be it, but it’s oddly sweet and incredibly fitting.
“Pop, POP!” –Magnitude
First of all, who the fuck is Magnitude? They just threw him in at Jeff’s apartment during the party and now he’s one of the eight candidates at Greendale’s elections? WHAT? Anyway, after Pierce fiercely intimidates yellow-shirt girl out of the running over a borrowed pencil (clearly rehab and OD-ing taught him nothing, of course) they’re both out. Garett and Starburns both drop out – I did appreciate that Starburns’ reasoning was that his candidacy was bad for his drug dealing reputation. When Annie and Jeff – the only reasonable candidates -- are gone, we’re left with Magnitude and Leonard who just stick to exchanging the same phases back and forth: “Pop, POP!” and raspberry sounds. Neither wins when a slew of write-in votes places “South Park” as the new school president and nothing is accomplished. Once again, this seems like an overt stab at the issues with the system of debate and nomination we see every four years in our country. We get two candidates who aren’t that terribly different, sticking to the same phrases and debating the same issues over and again and it makes us all wonder if it even really matters which one we choose. It’s a dismal look at the world, but it’s understandable. I just hope that in the future Community sticks to pop culture; I think with this, they’ve got their political wiggles all worked out.