Never start something you can’t finish. It’s an age-old adage we all learned as children, usually while staring at the pizza-sized cookie we swore we could finish. The writers at Community have learned that lesson well, but they’ve coupled it with one extra step: we’ll get to the finish line, we just have to blow everything else up first.
Despite its tendency to stay as far off the wall as possible, the latest episode of the NBC comedy finds our characters falling victim to common television tropes: forbidden love, compromised morals, betrayals, jealousy, and broken brotherhood bonds. It’s somehow an episode of Game of Thrones, Days of Our Lives and Community, all at once.
Troy and Abed are the bromantic couple we only thought existed in a dream. (Or a Dreamitorium.) They’re the perfect duo, complementing each other in every possible way. But like any sitcom couple, they were bound to hit a rough spot at some point. It just so happens that Troy and Abed’s rough spot is almost three years in the making.
The results of Troy’s dalliance with Vice Dean Robert Laybourne (John Goodman) and his Sith-like temptation to join the Dark Side – of skilled labor jobs in the air conditioning repair business – comes to a head when Laybourne returns with body issues and a ponytail braid with only one goal: turning Troy against Abed.
Using their own favorite series, Inspector Space Time
, against them, Laybourne paints Troy as the useless sidekick and Abed as the domineering hero.
It’s a bit of an issue when the duo sets out to build a pillow fort and the dean conveniently reveals his mission to break the Guinness Record for largest blanket fort. When Troy refuses to back down, the spark from Celebrity Impersonator crisis fallout becomes an absurd, colorful fire. And of course Abed can’t resist saying it himself: “To be continued.”
Meanwhile, Shirley and Pierce’s sandwich shop venture is crushed by the Dean’s plan to replace their small business idea with a Subway, which seems like a clever way to disguise some serious product placement. Because a Greendale student must own a share of all companies on campus, Subway hires a man to become the human incarnate of the sandwich chain. And yes, he changes his legal name to Subway. And when Pierce and Shirley enlist her to take down the man-company, Britta lives her worst nightmare and falls “in love” with the personification of a corporation. It’s only a matter of time before the Subway rep has Subway the man dragged away, but not before we get to hear Britta cry “Subway, I love you!” a few more times.
And as melodrama and war are consuming the rest of the study group’s lives, Jeff is facing a little reality. Sort of. Well not really. He almost faces reality. When he discovers there were lockers at Greendale this whole time, Jeff finds an avalanche of communications, one of which is from a very miffed Kim. Kim, is actually a man who Jeff hung out with but couldn’t remember, but he tells Jeff “Kim” died just to torture him. Annie makes him apologize until she finds out that Kim is a man and becomes just as selfish as Jeff: she just wanted this situation to make him regret “making out with her and forgetting her.”
Community hasn’t lost its touch, but it might have lost its edge. The series began as an almost deconstructive criticism of the sitcom genre, but now it’s a comedy that relies on its wealth of absurdity to pay homage to and parody other aspects of television. It’s still wildly entertaining and hilarious, but its lacking its original bite.
Annie uses her kangaroo stuffed animal to hide her miniature stuffed frog. Sometimes we forget Annie’s still under the age of 21. Thanks for reminding us so adorably.
Shirley’s fantastic euphemism for “slut”: “you’re a progressive woman of a more liberated looseness”
Dean Pelton’s subtly creepy line of the week: “Look, I was just googling record lengths of stuff.”
John Goodman’s 12 year-old girl braid. It was amazing. That is all.
“At this point in time, we’re not able to keep them from having hearts.” Did you catch that? Heartless corporations can’t be represented by truly heartless human representations…yet.
The moment the epic pillow fight starts, note how Jeff, who’s texting yet again, merely steps back disinterestedly as the pillow versus blanket war rages on.
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