Community Season 6, Episode 8: “Intro to Recycled Cinema”

I know that it’s impossible now that Parks and Recreation is over, but I really wanted them to have a crossover episode with Community. Just think how great it would have been to let Britta Perry and Ron Swanson try and bring down the government. That’s pretty much my dream sitcom combination there. But now, thanks to “Intro to Recycled Cinema”, that dream is dead – all because Jeff Winger doesn’t understand why the world loves Chris Pratt more than they love him. Actually, that’s not his main issue, but we’ll get to that later. In a rare move for Community, there was only storyline this week, and it was all because of Chang’s newfound fame.

I’ve had issues with Chang over the years, but it’s never had anything to do with Ken Jeong’s performance. I think the writers wrote themselves into a corner at the end of the first season and then had no idea how to get out of it. The rest of the ensemble worked well together so quickly, and Chang was in a position of power in that first season, so bringing him down to everyone else’s level or even below it (he was really desperate to join the study group) didn’t work. The writers have cottoned onto their problem, so Chang is often doing broad bits, and his newfound fame in a ham commercial is great. The seeds of Chang’s acting skills were sown in “Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing” so this makes sense from a character perspective, as much as anything makes sense when Chang is the central character. Anyway, the gang are slightly depressed now that Chang’s famous, before Frankie and Abed realise that they can get Greendale money out of the one scene Abed has shot of his cop show, because he made Chang sign a release agreement.

Frankie, of course, has a friend who is a movie producer, played by Steve Guttenberg, who is always fantastic. He tells them that he can get them half a million dollars if Abed turns one scene into a feature length film. Because ‘no one likes cops any more,’ Abed’s film is now a space Western, in which Jeff plays Chris Pratt, the Dean stands in for the ‘back of the head’ shots of Chang, Elroy does the CGI and Leonard is the bad guy. We only saw pieces of the film, and the fact that it made no sense doesn’t matter. Abed learns that he needs to let go of his work (even though Jeff was working an ulterior motive the whole time), and Jeff finally expresses his fear that he’ll be the last one at Greendale now that Chang is famous in Hollywood. Abed tells Jeff that it doesn’t matter because Annie reached down her top for a laser bomb, and here’s my major complaint with the episode.

I really want to like Annie as a character, but then she does things like wear the ‘sexy’ outfit and reach into her cleavage for a laser bomb. I feel the same way Britta does – even though everyone says Britta’s the worst, it should be obvious that she’s my favourite character on the show. She has been since the pilot. I get that Alison Brie is attractive, and the constant putting her in skimpy outfits and reaching into her cleavage just feels like fan service. It’s consistent with Annie’s character in the show, but Annie is a smart girl and Brie has proven herself a capable comedic actress. Let her show it. Gillian Jacobs is also quite an attractive woman, but Britta is a more consistent character; back in the first season she said she hated it when women use Halloween as an excuse to dress sexy, and she’s not going to back down on her principles. Annie is a capable woman, the only reason she lost her scholarship to a four year college is because she became addicted to Adderal. Have her be more like Leslie Knope or Liz Lemon or something. Annie’s main character trait since the end of the first season has been that she’s pretty and she’s into Jeff. I’d really like something more from her by now.

Other thoughts:

  • I can’t really criticise this episode too much, because we also got Jeff shirtless, so there was equal opportunity ogling.
  • Steve Guttenberg is a great actor, if you like good comedy and for some reason haven’t seen Party Down, it’s available on streaming, and the second season episode “Steve Guttenberg’s Birthday” is a series highlight in which he plays himself. He’s also in the second season of Veronica Mars.
  • I think my favourite thing about this episode of Community is that I watched Cecily Strong’s remarks and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner yesterday. The whole thing is pretty great, so I’m just going to embed the video.
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