Community, Season 6 Episode 13: “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television”

TV defeats its own purpose when it’s pushing an agenda, or trying to defeat other TV, or being proud or embarrassed of itself for existing. It’s TV. It’s comfort. -Abed

I’d like to thank Alan Sepinwall for transcribing that quotation, which was also at the top of his fantastic review of Community‘s sixth season, and possibly series, finale. “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” is a meta commentary on Community, but also television and life in general. I’ve been really tough on this season of Community, but that’s because it’s set itself such a high bar to clear, and I love those first two seasons. Earlier today on Twitter, Alan and Todd VanDerWerff were ranking seasons, paintball episodes, guest professors and recurring students at Greendale, and it was something special, because Community is special.

Continue reading

Community, Season 6 Episode 12: “Wedding Videography”

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.

Community, Season 6 Episode 11: “Modern Espionage”

This isn’t going to be a long review, because I wrote over 1500 words on the Mad Men series finale. Admittedly, this approximately 2000 words shorter in length than the average piece on Mad Men, but this is my blog, so I can write what I want (within my self-imposed guidelines). I’ve been struggling with Community for most of this season, and my complaints about the episodes are pretty much the same: what’s new about this? The feeling that Community’s writers have run out of stories to tell was at its peak when I found out they were doing a fourth paintball story (five episodes in total if you count the two part second season finale). Maybe Harmon and his team have a good reason for doing this – it’s perfectly reasonable to suggest that after the disastrous fourth season finale (when Harmon wasn’t working on the show), they want to make Community fans look on paintball with fondness. “Modern Espionage” is fine, but it’s no “Modern Warfare”

Continue reading

Community, Season 6 Episode 10: “Basic RV Repair and Palmistry”

I’m finding it really hard to write reviews of Community because I don’t have much to say. Do you know what my favourite part of tonight’s episode was? The tag. Other shows wouldn’t bother with the situation of the guy who was willing to buy a giant hand from the Dean, just as they wouldn’t bother acknowledging the Japanese kid that pretended to be Jeff. Somehow the people that end up in these tags are connected to Dean Pelton and that’s great. But the rest of the episode was fine. It was nice, and there was some good character stuff in there, even if I found that the show tipped over the “too meta” line.

Continue reading

Community, Season 6 Episode 9: “Grifting 101”

This is going to be a short review, because I don’t have that much to say about “Grifting 101”. Community has settled into a nice sixth season groove, and while it’s a half step up from last week, there’s something lacking about “Grifting 101”. One of the reasons that Community became a cult hit was because Dan Harmon was able to manipulate the structure of the episode so that the show became a different genre for a week. We got the Law & Order episode, the many paintball episode, the documentary episodes and so much more. They were never my favourite episodes of Community though. My favourite episode of Community is still season two’s “Mixology Certification” which is a more character-based piece, and also satisfies my Jeff/Britta shipping requirements. Like last week’s space movie episode, “Grifting 101” is a take on a con artist movie.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Community Season 6, Episode 7: “Advanced Safety Features”

“Advanced Safety Features” might be the best episode of Community‘s sixth season so far. It’s not breaking ground or anything, but it’s a solid, funny episode of Community with good character development, and that’s all I ask of this show. There were no love triangles, there was a game about ears, and the A-story featured both Britta and the Dean. The writers have also figured out how to use Frankie and Elroy to their best capacity. Not to mention that some of Community’s best recurring characters in Deb, George and Rick/Subway/Honda came back.

Continue reading