S2E20: For once, I’m not going to take 1000 words to tell you how amazing Community is. I know right? That’s weird. Don’t worry, I haven’t been taken by a cult. I’m not on drugs. Everything’s okay. It’s just that last night’s episode was perfectly adequate. It was okay. I laughed. I really have no complaints, I just won’t be interrupting my coworkers’ busy days to lead half-hour discussions on my favorite scene or present a well-crafted plea for why Abed and I should be friends in real life. (See what I did there? If you don’t, you need to watch more of this show.)
“Don’t preach to me about romance, Annie. I had a three-way in a hot air balloon.” –Jeff
The A plot this week was by no means surprising or different, but like I said up top, it’s okay. It was funny and that’s fine. That’s all we really need. I’ve only had three episodes out of the 20 we’ve seen this season that I didn’t rave about, but I still enjoyed them. It’s fine.
I’m not really sure if this whole mid-semester brand-new electives thing is just a community college thing or if it’s just a plot device, but this is Greendale so I guess it doesn’t really matter. Everyone’s picking their last minute electives and of course Jeff picks the douchiest of them all: Italian Wine Tasting. Groan. He would. Of course, Pierce is taking the same class (no one is surprised). Chang shows up momentarily as a coat-stealing gremlin which is a little disappointing because this episode could certainly have used more of his creepy presence, but alas they needed room for Jeff and Pierce to meet an Asian hottie.
Here comes the predictable part: Jeff asks her out, she turns him down and ends up suddenly engaged to Pierce. Because Jeff is a jealous douche (see: above quote), he sets out to prove that Pierce’s new lady friend just wants his money or a green card. When it turns out she’s rich and has dual citizenship, Jeff does the Jeff thing and gets all maniacal about it and eventually finds that the girl is a spy from a rival wetwipe company (kudos on the Veronica Mars reference, writers). Sure, it’s entertaining to see Jeff get so worked up, but it’s nothing to rejoice over. The best part of all of this was the last bit when Jeff brings Wu Mei back and it turns out she just as much of a dick as Pierce is. The comment about Thai people being “like Chinese Mexicans” killed me.
“My uncle never stuck his finger in my plop plop. I know. I’m bummed about it too.” –Troy
One thing that won’t change in this recap is my annoying ability to always lay stupid amounts of praise on Donald Glover. Sorry, but I have to give credit where it’s due and the dude has earned a hell of a lot of credit. This B plot wherein Troy develops an adorable crush on Britta was cute and very true to the show, but it would not have been as entertaining were it not for Glover. Yes, I love the twist that in joining the acting class to impress Britta he makes up a terrible story so he can have emotional depth like everyone else, but of course it’s not something a little tame like seeing your dog get run over by a car, nope. He goes straight for the jugular with the “my uncle tried to touch me” story. If almost any other sitcom attempted this storyline, they’d be run off television, but Community pulls it off and somehow makes it endearing. Magic? Nope. Donald Glover.
Besides his delivery, which is amazing (“My emotions, MY EMOTIONS!”), Glover has the ability to take Troy’s ridiculous, obtuse, and sometimes accidentally offensive bits and lace them with this hilarious, adorable and somewhat childish quality that just makes you want hug him. I’m not sure if this is a storyline they’ll continue to pursue, but I could get into the Troy and Britta thing. They actually complement each other so perfectly in an incredibly comedic way. I’d actually prefer more of them and less of the Jeff/Annie dilemma. Troy and Britta just seem to work better. If, however, this was just a device for this week, I won’t be losing any sleep over it.
“I’d like to start with a simple question: who was the boss?” – Professor Sheffield
Duh, it was Angela. Now, I sort of wish that this storyline hadn’t made it onto the internet long before it actually aired, because I think it would have been a little funnier, but it still worked. I especially loved that they used Stephen Tobolowsky as the all-knowing pop culture professor upon whom Abed delivers the television smackdown. He was great on Glee as a similarly trod-upon character with an alarming amount of undeserved confidence in his abilities. It works and once again, he was entertaining in that sort of role.
The real beauty of this plot was the conclusion in which Abed teaches a lesson in the Who’s the Boss? class because he doesn’t catch the professor’s angry sarcasm during their private conference. Of course we don’t hear the full argument, but the board is littered with analysis and empirical evidence all leading back to the answer: Angela. Now, of course we were happy that the douchebag who laughed at Abed for his “simple” answer to the “profound” question really got it thrown back in his face, but what I really loved is that they took the usual story – the amateur expert steps into a college class and learns that he has so much more to learn – and Abed-ed it. Of course Abed wasn’t wrong. He can’t be wrong, he’s ABED. He’s a walking encyclopedia of television.
There’s also the element of taking a dig at those (probably folks in my profession, to be honest) who try too hard to root out the greater meaning of a show whose main purpose is to be entertaining – not to connect Tony Micelli’s genealogy back to Caesar. The simple answer is the right answer because it’s television. It’s meant to be enjoyed and if anyone gets that, it’s Abed.
“It’s called Fiddler, Please!” –Troy
This is probably the first tag ever on Community that actually made me roll my eyes. That line was great, we didn’t need to see it in action. The only thing that saves this last 30 seconds, is Glover. (Yes, again. I’m sorry, the dude rules. I can’t help it.) In the last couple of seconds he flashes this look beneath his synthetic beard that screams, “Really? Am I really doing this right now?” and it makes the other 25 painful seconds work…kind of.