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‘Community’ Recap: Aerodynamics Of Gender

S2: E7 Usually, Community is one of the best shows on television. It’s tight, everything fits together like a little complicated puzzle, and it’s also terribly funny. Then there are times when it bites off a little more than it can chew. This episode, while still funny and entertaining, is one of those episodes. It played off of three wholly different film-related themes: Mean Girls, The Secret Garden, and RoboCop. (I can sense your brow wrinkling in confusion, and that’s because yes, they don’t go together.) It was still a good episode and if anyone is fit to try such a thing, it’s Community; I’m just saying they could have done better. (But to be fair, it is the episode following an epic school-wide zombie fest from last week, so maybe the bar’s just a little too high right now.)

The cold open hit us with a little Mars versus Venus on the basketball courts. The ladies have signed up for a women’s studies course and as they sit idly by while the “men” play basketball, decide that they have it all figured out. After rattling off all the different butt-related threats that men yell at each other while playing sports, Britta concludes that men play sports to dull out their sensitive sides. (And you’re right, Annie; no one actually says “I’m gonna punch your butt.” That’s just weird.) The ladies are psyched to take a class with just girls, but no one’s more excited than Annie. (No one actually “brings it in for a boob bump” either, Annie. Sorry, sweetheart.) Pierce comes in with his “Dragonflier” complete with camera. He says he can’t control it, so Jeff throws the basketball at the ladies in an attempt to crash the flier, angering them and causing them to storm off to their women’s studies class. But Abed wants to join, and before they can deter him he rushes off to change out of his basketball clothes. Whoops.

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When they get to class, Abed’s already saved the ladies a few seats next to him, but they’re still trying to do their own thing so they grab three seats in the front. And here we go Mean Girls. Guest star Hilary Duff plays a resident mean girl, Megan, with two equally awful sidekicks and the trio kicks the study group ladies out of their seats with a select number of one liners about Britta’s roots and Annie’s mustache. Ouch. Britta, Annie, and Shirley reluctantly take their places back by Abed who’s ready with surprisingly bitchy comments to sling at the mean girls, like “Megan’s the one with crooked ears and no ankles?” Damn Abed. Damn. Of course, the ladies realize they’ve tapped the hidden resource of Abed’s uber-bitchiness. They instantly love him, but already things are starting to get out of control. Abed approaches Megan and her minions, landing zinger after zinger and fielding her “nerd” insults like they’re nothing. Of course, this gives the study group trio far too much confidence and Britta jumps up on the table calling the cafeteria a bitch-free zone. Things can only get worse from here.

In a bout of anger after Troy beats him at basketball (and does victory song and dance) Jeff kicks the basketball over a few campus buildings, forcing Troy to go searching for it. But he finds more than just a basketball. Enter the Secret Garden segment of the episode. Troy comes upon a hidden grove, complete with soft lighting and covered in lush greenery and blooms, and in the middle stands a huge trampoline. Jeff and Troy discover the wonders of bouncing on the secret trampoline (it’s illegal to have them on school campuses); it makes them feel light, “like the baby on the knee of a goddess.” Yes, mysterious groundskeeper man, that’s exactly what it’s like. The mysterious groundskeeper insists that if they are to keep enjoying the trampoline’s tranquil benefits, they must promise to keep it secret and they must commit to no double bouncies. That’s some serious shit, man. I’ll give them this, the creators of this show are damn good at doing comic recreations of pretty much any movie they want. Kudos, Dan Harmon and friends.

Now that they know what Abed’s capable of, they teach Abed the ways on insults. It’s okay to insult girls if they are bitches. They also make the mistake of comparing him to RoboCop; where have you been ladies? Don’t you know Abed has that whole meshing reality with movies thing? Big mistake. Suddenly we see the hallway through bitchy-insult-RoboCop’s eyes as he takes down another target and sends her running down the hall in tears. Not good. Of course, Abed’s success goes to the ladies’ heads and they’re on their way to becoming the exact dreaded trio that they originally sought to defeat.

Jeff and Troy return from the secret trampoline at complete peace, completely missing Pierce’s attempts at smack talk. (No Pierce, they don’t want to throw “the rock” around and you aren’t going “to slit their butts’ throats.” Is anyone else getting tired of the whole “Pierce is so old and doesn’t know anything” shtick?) As Jeff puts his feet up on the table (in Ugg boots, UGG BOOTS I TELL YOU) he and Troy are annoyingly at peace and Pierce assumes their stoned, so of course he wants some. (And if it will tone down the crazy, I’m all for it.) The girls and Abed come in, still high on their insult parade and Annie’s ready to take down “all the bitches.” (God I love her character.) Abed determines that Jeff is, in fact, a bitch and thus takes him down, ragging on his Uggs. “2008 and called and said that even in 2008 those boots were tacky.” Snap. (And are you listening, women of America? Seriously. Knock it off with the Uggs.) Jeff reacts with a Zen solution, boring the ladies and sending Pierce into a rage over wanting to know how to be so Zen. Yeah, good luck with that rage, old man.

After sending Pierce packing, Jeff and Troy run off to the secret trampoline, but Pierce’s robot dragonflier follows them and records video of them entering the secret place. Pierce discovers the secret grove and demands to be part of the trampoline fun, but threatens to tell everyone about the trampoline if Troy doesn’t double bounce him. (Remember the rule? NO DOUBLE BOUNCIES.) Troy bows to Pierce’s threat to tweet about the secret trampoline and double bounces him, sending Pierce flying out of the grove and into a dumpster just outside. Well crap. Bye-bye secret garden. The garden is torn down and the groundskeeper is fired. When Troy and Jeff try to apologize, the groundskeeper says it’s okay, it’s his fault, and “I guess that’s what I get for trusting some black guy.” Wait, what? WHAT? (I can use capital letters all I want, but nothing can top the way Donald Glover expresses shock and surprise. The kid is a comic genius. Seriously.) What a racist twist. But hey, they learn a lesson, so it’s cool. They realize that paradise that’s exclusive isn’t really paradise. Pierce approaches in a wheel chair with double leg casts and says “Paradise is right here” putting his hand on his heart (even though it looks more like he’s cupping his manboob, and it turns out that he’s actually cupping the bottle of pain killers in his pocket).

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Meanwhile, Abed finds that his study group ladies have become bitches too and when they tell him that they’re all bitches, Abed’s RoboCop brain goes into serious insult mode. Abed insults everyone, even his juicebox (which was a little lame), leaving him with a buffer of empty tables as he eats lunch in the cafeteria. He realizes he must be destroyed, so he gives Megan the destruct codes for his insult robot brain – a.k.a. flash cards with pointed insults. She calls out Abed in the cafeteria in front of everyone, enjoying the “aw snaps” from the one-man peanut gallery that Chang has been providing all episode. As the crowd gets on board and cheers on Megan’s insults, his RoboCop insult brain self destructs and the study group ladies apologize for being insecure and turning him into an insult monster. Of course, being the wonderful person he is, he’s already forgiven them. Awwww.

The tag gave us a return to “Troy and Abed in The Morning” and like the rest of the episode while it was entertaining and by no means awful, I was hoping for a little something more.

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