I’m not writing an introduction today, I’m jumping right into this review. I like the twist of this week’s episode of Community better when they did it on 30 Rock. There were some good aspects to examining the group’s dynamics and how they make everyone else’s lives about themselves, but it fell flat amongst the revelation that Garrett and Stacey are not first cousins, but not far from that either. The reason it worked on 30 Rock is that Liz and the guy she dated were distant enough relatives that they wouldn’t know each other. The reason it doesn’t work in “Wedding Videography” is because Garret’s grandmother and Stacey’s great aunt are the same person. Their parents would have been first cousins and therefore surely they had met as children. One of the things I don’t like about Community is the way secondary characters are treated, and because Garret’s hopeless, of course he’d end up accidentally marrying his cousin. Why couldn’t he just have a nice wedding day. Also surely you’d know that your grandmother’s name is Polly. Community is better than this – anyone who has seen the first two seasons knows it is – and this just felt like too much of a hackey sitcom plot for me to like this episode, despite its positives.
Now, back to the premise: Abed is filming Garret and Stacey’s wedding, and we see the gang before and during the wedding – they’re all the worst, so they interrupt the ceremony during the vows and Jeff comes to a realisation during his “Best Man” speech. It’s so Jeff Winger to appoint himself Best Man. I liked the scene with Frankie and Annie, as Frankie is telling Annie that she needs to stop helping people all the time because she likes to feel needed. It doesn’t make her happy. Then Frankie makes a joke about Jeff’s ego and Annie starts daydreaming. Later Frankie tells Abed and the camera that she wanted to tell Annie that she needs to get away from Jeff, which is after Jeff describes the group’s codependence. What I really respect about this season of Community is that when they added Frankie and Elroy, they had them react to the group’s history as any sane person would: “This is a study group? You two dated?” Frankie may enjoy spending time with these people, even if she doesn’t know how to do small talk, but she realises that the group dynamic is messed up.
Something that Community visits every once in a while is the idea that the study group aren’t actually good for each other. They’ve nearly disbanded more than once, and as much as I’ve complained about the show being too meta this season, I do like it when other characters point out how much they need to make everything about themselves, such as when Shirley gave birth, or Todd joined the study group for the terrarium assignment. Todd was great this week: “Am I God? I could be God.” There’s a reason that Todd was invited to celebrate the wedding and not Jeff Winger: he’s actually friends with Garret, whereas in the study group’s mind, they’re everyone’s best friends. They’re actually not, they’re just really self involved people. I liked the discussion they had at the end when Britta points out that she’s only the worst when she’s around the rest of them – they call her the worst so they can feel better about themselves. It’s a very Jeff Winger thing to do. As a self-appointed Britta fan, I’m glad she stands up for herself here, because I know she’s not the worst. I really enjoyed these moments of examining the group’s codependence and self-centredness, it’s too bad they had to ruin it with a hackneyed wedding subplot.