‘Community’ Recap: Accounting For Lawyers

S2: E2 Any show that has the balls to start off an episode with the phrase “Gutentag, homies!” gets my undivided attention, and last night’s episode of Community did just that. Since it’s October, but not quite time for Halloween yet, Greendale Community College is celebrating Oktoberfest, except instead of beer steins and bratwursts, they’re celebrating with a break dancing competition – a “Pop and Loktoberfest.”

As the gang decides on their pop and lock team name (because of course they’re participating) Jeff decides he’s too cool for these silly Greendale games and storms off. He runs into a lawyer from his old firm, Alan (played by hilarious Daily Show vet Rob Cordry), who’s on campus attending his Narcotics Anonymous meeting – a lawyer with a coke habit? No way. Jeff and Alan are just shy of bumping chests as they catch up, opting instead for a big, manly tickle-fight, and here comes the theme of the episode. Jeff is too cool (their word choice, not mine) for his community college friends – he ditches class and his buds to hang out with Cordry’s uber douchey lawyer instead. Cordy is a welcome guest, bringing all that spastic humor we enjoyed so much back when he was a lowly Daily Show correspondent.

Chang makes his first appearance of the episode, popping and locking his way into the study room and insisting he takes Jeff’s place on their Loktoberfest team – rumor has it, Jeff ditched them for his lawyer friend. They shrug off the ludicrous suggestion as Chang struts out of the library like some sort of chorus line dancer and Jeff returns with Alan. Shirley pulls the mom card (as she always does) and sweetly tells Jeff to be more respectful of the group’s time, and that’s all the ammunition old Jeff needs to come out of hibernation. (Remember last season’s introduction to Jeff’s despicable lawyer side?) As deplorable as old Jeff can be, I’ve got to admit his wordsmithing is tight. I don’t think I could describe it any better than Alan so aptly, and crassly put it: the award for mind games should be “a statue of Jeff Winger doin’ it to a brain.” After deeming Jeff the “best lawyer ever,” Alan invites him to a big soiree at their old law firm, which is conveniently scheduled during Pop and Loktoberfest.

Of course, the group feels jilted. They’re all putting on their best pouts – and Pierce is breaking out his “best” homophobic jokes about Alan and Jeff – when Annie remembers that she knew Alan when she was in NA for her Adderall addiction (they’re really depending on us knowing a lot about last season this episode). It turns out Alan used NA meeting to brag about being the one who got Jeff disbarred, which was what landed him in Community College back in Season 1. Annie tries to tell Jeff, but his ego has grown to colossal proportions and it crushes her feeble attempt. Troy breaks the tension with a very important question, “Did you know that gogurt is just yogurt?!” (His empty-headed one-liners are the best.) Jeff is indignant, insisting that the group is dependent on him and that they don’t want him to be happy – what a big baby. Britta calls him out, apparently his college friends aren’t cool enough for him (once again, their words, not mine). With Jeff out, Chang is in, demanding that if he helps them win the dance competition, they let him the group. Abed takes this chance to do that reality versus fantasy thing he’s so fond of, putting on a voice that resembles Christian Bale’s Batman tone and announcing, “The stakes have never been higher.” Duh, duh, duh.

It’s time for the big fancy lawyer party, and who should play Ted, the head of the firm, but Drew Carey. Carey shows off his suddenly slim physique, but ceases to bring the laughs. What a waste of a guest star. Seriously, guys? Get it together. Meanwhile, Alan has invited Jeff’s study group to the party and they run a sting operation to prove that Alan betrayed Jeff. A heist movie wannabe? That’s more like it; this is the Community I know and love.

Abed is stoked, taking advantage of the opportunity to pretend he’s in a heist movie. He breaks out the Batman voice again, brandishing a slew of ridiculous supplies they’ll never need including suction grips and chloroform.

Downstairs at the party, Jeff finds out that Ted thinks he was one of the best liars he ever hired (no that’s not a typo) and asks him to recommend Alan. Jeff wordsmiths away, convincing Ted to make Alan partner, and prompting Ted to offer him a position as a consultant. Britta, Pierce, and Shirley enter just in time to burst his hot air balloon, showing how the pool of deviant lawyers is rubbing off on them – Shirley even calls someone a bitch, albeit in the most sugary sweet manner I’ve ever heard used for the word.

Upstairs Abed and Troy find the email, but get caught at the last minute by the janitor. Annie runs in and chloroforms the guy (guess Abed’s tools weren’t so useless after all). Realizing what they’ve done, they all start freaking out and Troy prances around like a little unicorn-boy yelling, “I don’t know what to do! My brain is crying!” This kid’s lines are pure gold. They attempt to trick the janitor by pretending they all got chloroformed but he calls their bluff and they chloroform him again. (Who need brain cells, anyway?)

Annie, Abed, and Troy give Jeff the letter, but he sends the whole gang away, telling them he’s a good lawyer so he doesn’t care. (Eh, I guess that makes sense.) They’re all worried they’ve lost him, but Annie’s got an idea. She pulls out the chloroform again – no so hard to believe that the little sociopath had a problem with addiction, is it?

Back at the dance competition, Chang has attempted the entire five hours on his own and is about to pass out when the study group comes just in time to save him. Troy starts dancing, but just can’t get into the groove when Jeff bursts in and joins him in what looks like a rip-off of a double mint twin dance routine. He’s had a change of heart – as usual – and declares “You guys are so cool, you care.” This show goes so far with cheesiness that it somehow managed to wrap back around to hilariousness.

They’re so busy having a heart to heart that they lose the competition, meaning Chang is out of the group. He lies on the dance floor wailing in the last and best moment of the entire episode as his evil laugh crescendos into ultimate creepiness.

Of course, Troy and Abed’s sign-off is delightful as always. This time, Abed’s convinced Troy that he’s made it into a cartoon world. Troy’s childlike wonder should be obnoxious, but it never ceases to be hilarious.