Community Sexy Santa

Community – “Regional Holiday Music (The musical episode)” Review

I’m scared to go into the study room. There are too many top hats in there.” -Shirley

Before I being this Community review, we should all take moment and reflect on what was the last Community for a very long while. Community is going on the dreaded “hiatus.” The rest of season three has been shot and is ready to go, but we just don’t know when we’ll see it. I still think Whitney eventually fails and Community will claim its spot back on Thursday night. We lose Community for a while but we do pick up 30 Rock which always has the potential to be great. Anyways, E. Pluribus Anus!

This episode of Community was relatively simple despite being a musical episode. The plot was quite simple. Abed wants to hang with gang on Christmas and the Glee club opening is just the vehicle he needs to get all the gang together.

I definitely liked that the music sort of came from a place of plot but also from a place of whimsy. In Scrubs’s musical episode it was all explained by a condition of the patient. Here it was meant to take on a silly musical feel. I think we all appreciated the moments in which they broke into song. And the songs they all broke into were about joining the Glee club. The songs were almost like siren calls.

Of course we’re supposed to avoid siren calls as they lead us into temptation but in a moment of sheer brilliance Abed gives the lead performance of the musical to Britta because he realizes it’s not about “being good” but “hanging out.” That’s one take on all the “glee” stuff but I think we can read a little bit further into it all.

The episode was not short on jabs at Fox’s TV smash hit Glee. The constant questioning of what “regionals” are. The weird piano player. The commentary on the camera angles and even some of those weird hummy outro voices. Basically, Harmon is saying his show isn’t “Glee” and it never will be. It doesn’t do what Glee does and it never will. However, isn’t a TV show better when it’s about making great TV instead of making weird spectacle. It would be sort of ironic if this episode of Community was the highest rated yet. I guess you just have to sing in order to get ratings.

Abed sort of broke my heart when he was talking about the semester ending on a dark note. The semester ends on a dark note for all of us Abed. I’m not sure if Harmon knew his show was destined for hiatus when he filmed this episode but it sure felt like it. Oh well, even if we only get three seasons of this great show, NBC could have cancelled it after the first half of the first season and been justified. I want to write so much more but you’ve heard it all before. So let’s enjoy it all. We’ll always have Annie as Sexy Santa.

Community Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism Jeff and Shirley Anime

Community – “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism” Review

What’s the point of reviewing frozen pizza?” -Shirley

The entire time I watched this episode of Community I felt as if I was watching something different than what the show has ever done. Community usually can be separated into two categories: “normal” episodes and “outside the box” episodes. Basically, some episodes you get the study group just hanging out and others you get them doing crazy things and parodying some famous something or other. But this episode did some things that felt pretty new.

The first is that it was truly two separate stories that didn’t link at all. There was Jeff and Shirley’s foosball story and Abed, Troy and Annie’s Dark Knight DVD angle. I know it’s stated right there in the title of the episode but they didn’t even try to blend the stories. And I don’t think they needed to.

The episodes were bookended with whole group scenes and that worked. It was simple and effective. Essentially the group asked, “What are you doing this weekend?” And then when the episode was over it was “How did your weekend go?” Aside from those moments it was just those five characters playing and that was nice to see.

I noticed three times when I felt like Dan Harmon was breaking the fourth wall and speaking right to the audience or sort of referring to his own show. The first is the quote that starts this review. Community has been removed from the midseason schedule on NBC despite lots of critical love and internet chatter. I felt like when Shirley asked why Leonard would waste his time reviewing frozen pizza she was speaking right to us here at ApeDonkey. We know that there aren’t millions of hits per article, but we feel like people should be talking about these things that we love. So I’ll continue to write about these shows until the website is taken down. Leonard had it right. He did the review because it got people talking about his review.

The second gag was soccer ball bit with Nick Kroll and his German gang of foosball thugs. The way Jeff kept carrying on about how it was ridiculous that they would spend so much money just for the sake of the bit reminded me of why Community is so great. Community will spend so much time and effort just to make certain bits work. That clip show they did was their most expensive episode ever and it was all just one elaborate joke. The chaos theory episode this season apparently took six times as long to make, but it was worth it. I thought the soccer ball bit was funny, just like I think Community itself is brilliant.

The third time was when Annie and Troy were first trying to figure out how to deal with Abed’s special edition DVD. Troy says, “Do you know how many sitcoms have tried the replace the irreplaceable item without the person knowing gag? Because Abed does!” Abed is sort of Dan Harmon in real life. He created a character that knows and loves TV just as much as he does. So despite Troy saying that so many other shows have done it, they did it anyway. Why? Because those other shows don’t have Danny Pudi, Donald Glover and Alison Brie. Community can take trite story vehicles and make them seem fresh because of the creative force behind the show.

I was really happy to see Shirley get a lot more to do this episode. She often is the forgotten cast member in this series. They struggle with finding things for her to do because they’ve written her to be unrelatable to the other members of the group. So the show smartly used her past to get her to connect with Jeff. Shirley and Jeff isn’t a pairing we see often on this show and I think it really worked this time. There energy during the foosball fight allowed for the anime break to really work. It could have felt like a flashy gimmick but I think it was well executed.

Dean Pelton Mourning Community

Community – “Documentary in Filmmaking: Redux” Review

Except for you, Jeffrey. You have locked into something here and the only thing your character needs is more screen time.” -Dean Pelton

Can I get a “Hell yes!” for a Dean-centric episode?! I wonder if that will be a polarizing point of view, but I don’t care. Jim Rash has long been a favorite member of the cast for me and I was so happy to see him get an episode where he just let go.

We’ve done the documentary episode before, so it wasn’t original, but it felt original. The idea of filming a new commercial felt like a simple and great idea. The old video was hilarious and getting Luis Guzman was money. Each character had a job and they were basically asked to just be funny, which all of the characters can do. They all had moments to shine.

Jeff’s Dean impression was spot on and let us see the comedic side of Jeff. The Dean’s reaction to Jeff’s impression was also great. Britta and Troy’s hug troubles were genuinely great. The tortured hug scene was well done and I liked the final hug moment so long as it doesn’t result in the show trying to ship a romance to us. Annie losing her mind was perfect as usual. Plus, it let us see Alison Brie look like a sexy librarian. They also did a smart thing with Pierce. They got him out of the way and out of the action by making that a joke in and of itself. Abed and Shirley didn’t get to do a whole lot, but they were solid when called upon.

This episode also gave us one of the most bizarre scenes ever in Community. The Dean stripping off his clothing and spreading ashes on himself in mourning was just so bizarre. It was almost haunting. But since we don’t get to see a lot of the Dean, I’m glad we got to see that whole range.

It’s episodes like this that make me so happy the show exists. I know Community was pulled from the midseason lineup, but we’ll get to see the rest of season three at some point. This episode also probably would turn a casual fan off. Which is why three seasons of this show is also a minor miracle. Just enjoy every second we have left with this show.

Troy and Abed Annie's Move

Community – “Studies in Modern Movement” Review

Just because we’re awesome doesn’t mean we’re not adults!” -Troy

I’ll start this review out by saying it was my favorite episode of Community so far this season. For some reason, I haven’t been that impressed with Community this year. However, this episode wasn’t so much impressive as it was simple in its effectiveness.

Community has always been about these characters that we’ve grown to love. Sometimes these characters annoy us, but for better or for worse, we care about them. The relationships amongst themselves aren’t too complex, but we enjoy them. This episode felt like a celebration of the characters and relationships we love.

Troy and Abed’s relationship is probably the strongest on the show. It was lacking at the beginning of the season, but this episode, it was at the heart of the show. Right when the Dreamatorium was introduced I felt like the relationship got a bit too cartoonish, but as soon as Annie left, they realized it too. The best part was that not only did they give Annie their room, but that they decided that the Dreamatorium was too important, so they moved the bunk bed into the blanket fort.

Sometimes Community can struggle with connecting its secondary story lines, but I felt they did a great job with Britta and Shirley and the dean and Jeff. They’re relationships that have an inherent conflict in them, but it’s not one of hatred, just annoyance. It’s not like any new ground was broken with these relationships, but usually the contention is only a line or two in an episode. In this episode we got full scenes.

I especially enjoyed Britta and Shirley arguing over religion and being nice. The hitchhiker they picked up really helped with the give and take of the conflict. He just kept escalating and escalating until he finally tried to sing a song about the dangers of race mixing. Shirley and Britta both were against that, so they reached a point of mutual respect.

Jeff and the dean had some great gags. For me personally, “Kiss From a Rose” is a go to joke song I like to blast on juke boxes at bars so watching them and the hilarious cut aways during their performance was comic gold for me. Jeff’s gag about covering for the hospital was also done pretty well. Jeff has softened some since joining the group so it’s nice to see him get back to his selfish ways at certain points.

And Pierce? Well I really liked Pierce in this episode. I didn’t find him obnoxious or annoying at all. In fact, I laughed several times at his gags. The painting of the floor and huffing the fumes to the point of doing paint angels in the ground was well done.

Annie of course was spectacular. Alison Brie doesn’t always get to showcase her range as an actress, but in this episode we got to see her play all sorts of emotions. We had her normal uptight self, the “loosey goosey” Annie and the Annie that gets real on Troy and Abed. If Alison Brie could ever secure an Emmy nomination, this would be my pick for her submission episode so far.

As for the social media aspect of the episode, I didn’t feel like it was trite like I do on most shows. The League and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia did a social media episode recently and it felt forced. This felt natural.

Overall a very solid episode of Community for me.

COMMUNITY-Advanced-Gay-Season-3-Episode-6

Community – “Advanced Gay” Review

I’m gonna eat spaceman paninis with black Hitler and there’s nothing you can do about it!” -Troy

Now listen here, Community. I ask such precious little from you. You’ve given me so many good half hours of television against all odds. Despite criminally low ratings you held firm to your core ideals of comedy and structure. For that, I respect you. But the one thing I ask is for you to never do a Pierce-centric episode again.

Pierce is already obnoxious as is. I don’t find him funny or charming. He’s genuinely just annoying. Now add to that his father, Cornelius Hawthorne, who’s even more annoying than Pierce is, and you get some aggravating TV. Nothing about anything involving Pierce was funny or clever. The only thing that might have been funny is the viral video involving his wipes. Nothing else. Jeff’s speech to his father was decent and I’m glad it led to his death so we’re never subjected to that character again. Thinly veiled racism is sometimes funny, but there’s nothing funny or clever about just blatant racism.

Ok, actually the funeral was a little funny. Pierce’s speech especially. Or maybe it was just when Troy said, “Dude just told his dead dad to suck it.” That’s hardcore.

The subplot didn’t fit at all with the Pierce story. I’m glad they’re going to give Troy something to do, but the whole A/C v Plumbing thing felt a little forced to me. First of all, Troy apparently has had some friendship with a plumber named Jerry for a while. I thought I had missed an episode or two. Nope, they just threw it in there.

Then we get the return of John Goodman. I liked him better in this episode than I did in his first one, but I’m still not a fan overall. It was all a bit too forced though. The show hasn’t given us any indication that Troy is capable whatsoever at being a mechanic and now all of a sudden he’s a rain man at it? I don’t buy it.

The best part of the episode was definitely Troy trying to talk to Abed about his decisions. Troy made Abed pretend to be himself and then tried to answer as Abed who was playing Harrison Ford. Yeah, it was confusing, but they made it seem so effortless. Their impressions were good and they popped in and out character very slickly. Glad to have that relationship back and clicking.

The on going joke about Britta being a terrible psych student, eh. The priest piling on was a bit funny, but overall the line of joking didn’t do much. Annie, Shirley and Chang were just there. Though I did chuckle when Chang was leaving with the drag queen.

Follow me on Twitter @bcstagg

Britta in a cage Community

Community – “Geography of Global Conflict” Review

She’s imprisoned by an oppressive regime halfway around the world and I’m what? In college? Where are my values?” -Britta

Due to my full time job, I don’t get to watch prime time TV until 11 o’clock at night. Because of this, I see passing comments on Twitter about certain things on TV. I try and skim over anything TV related, but I still see certain things. One of the things I kept seeing was that the end of Community tonight was sloppy. That the episode was fine up until the end. I don’t agree. I thought this was a great episode of Community. One in which the show just decided to be goofy and let the characters do what they do best.

I thought for a little bit in the middle that this episode could be in trouble because we’re only seeing these characters do things we’ve seen them do one hundred times. Annie gets high strung and freaks out. Jeff gives an impassioned speech and sticks up for the little guy. Pierce makes racist and sexist comments. Abed talks about wormholes and portals. Britta wants to be a protester. This is not ground Community hasn’t already covered, but there was something about the familiarity of it all that made me enjoy this episode.

Sometimes this show reaches for something way bigger and over a lot of people’s heads, and I love the show for that, but this was kind of a nice half hour of comedy. There were some great lines all throughout the episode. “Annie Stop! You’re acting like a school girl and not in a hot way!” “My my path is a war path that leads to the terror dome N-words!” “Don’t worry she’ll be bad at it.” “Boutros Boutros-Ghalil?!” Pierce calling Uruguay “Uru-gay.” Just really great gags.

The only thing that I didn’t really like was the whole farting gag. I think Community is smarter than fart jokes. However, I will say that when I was in college I was a part of an improv troupe. During rehearsals someone farted during me and my buddy’s scene and it caused us to break character. This angered our president. My buddy didn’t take too well to his lack of compassion and stormed off and quit the troupe. No lie. A fart caused us to lose a member. It was literally the grossest fart I’ve ever smelled. But I digress.

The Britta B-story was goofy and out of touch with the rest of the episode, but they did a great job of making it memorable by adding in all the slow motion shots to “Hello” by Lionel Richie. It may have been a bit silly, but I couldn’t stop laughing. It just kept escalating to the point where Chang put the taser on Britta. I will say that the fact that Sgt. Nunez had more lines than Abed is a problem. That’s too big of a role for a guest character.

However, the episode used Martin Starr really well. I totally bought him as the bizarre teacher who gets off on dueling model UNs. When he was fantasizing about having to come up with the rules that night, I laughed. When he quickly states that the science checks out. Great. I thought John Goodman was too heavy handed last week and looking back perhaps Michael K Williams didn’t fit the show tonally. However, Martin Starr, fit right in.

The only little bit of serialization we got was the progression (or regression) of Jeff and Annie’s relationship. I think the show is doing really well at making us like the journey of their relationship more than our want for them to be together. I’d much prefer the funny awkward moments between the two as they stumble around their weird sexual tension rather then see them be a couple.

I think Troy and Abed’s relationship has kind of taken a hit this season. They’re missing that spark they really had last season. It kind of made the Troy and Abed tag at the end of the episode feel a little forced. But hey, we’re two episodes in. A lot can change.

Let’s hope we get to see all of the season. The ratings aren’t good, but they haven’t been good the entire run. The third season seems like a gift so enjoy every moment of it while you can.

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