Community Season 6, Episode 8 “Intro To Recycled Cinema” Review
“Community” is flirting with its previous greatness.
Like a love struck teen, it has slowly moved from sitting across the lunch room, to sitting the table over, and now is finally just a few seats away from its crush, trying to do everything it can to say just the right word to make its crush laugh and get back to the good ol’ days.
And its close, but still not quite there.
Only “Community” could pull off a bit where Chang (Ken Jeong) goes to Hollywood due to his success with a catch phrase in a commercial for ham (Hammmmmm Girl). It’s something that just makes so much sense, it’s almost surprising the show hasn’t done it before, given Jeong’s success from “The Hangover.”
The bit worked so well it almost seemed like an actual exit of the show for Jeong. (It wasn’t).
Now, with Chang’s fame, Frankie (Paget Brewster) brings in one of her Hollywood friends, Maury (Steven Guttenberg), to help turn some of Abed’s (Danny Pudi) old footage of Chang into a get- rich-quick scheme for Greendale.
As much time as the show spent setting up the whole concept, it didn’t really manage to explain how the footage was the school’s property…and not Abed’s. Abed doesn’t usually give up control easily, and the idea that he just handed over control to the Dean — or anybody —lacked explanation. If there’s going to be that much screen time devoted to selling the premise, then it should actually sell the premise.
The show is also getting in the not-so-great habit of spending way too much time setting up each episode instead of letting them just start. This week distinctly felt like three individual pieces instead of one cohesive whole.
Case in point, the movie within the show within the show: Chief Starr and the Raiders of the Galaxy. The episode may have worked better if it just started here (the show’s done this before) and backed its way into the premise, or really trimmed down the opening set up. Instead, seven minutes of screen time were already used up before the bit even started.
It was funny seeing how the show was able to make use of the same footage of Chang over and over again, (like when he shot Magnitude (Luke Youngblood) by putting the phone down or him walking into the space station) and somewhat ironic that the show is poking fun at the fact that it found the best use for Chang by not actually having Chang be there.
The special effects were also pretty good, considering the “low budget” effect that they were going for. Stylistically, all that stuff worked.
In the the past, Dan Harmon has talked about not doing a straight “Star Wars” riff, even though paintball part dos did take a few notes from the saga, but here the show went right for the jugular in a galaxy not that far away. The Catina scene? We get it. You are doing “Star Wars.”
But, credit where credit is due, and the trash compactor scene was quite funny (We’re gonna get crushed…is there a monster?”) and played up the tropes that the audience was expecting by even having the characters in the show expect the same thing.
Act three tried to bring about some resolution, with Jeff not wanting his footage to get cut, after spending most of the filming deriding the whole idea (and the cut to Garret (Erik Charles Nielsen) with his Glip Glop shirt was great). It was nice seeing the whole affair turn it into a story with a heart and a center, with Jeff starting to worry that he will be the last person in the group left, and he’ll be stuck at Greendale forever watching his friends outgrow him.
But, that realization was undercut by Abed, essentially, resolving everything because of Annie’s boobs. It, as usual this season, seemed out of character for Abed (Jeff, sure, but Abed?) and a writing cop-out. What’s the moral of the week? Boobs? Ok. Sure. Annie’s boobs happened! It was all OK in the end! Let’s go with it.
(Not complaining, but there are better resolutions to hang a story arc on than Annie’s boobs, even if it was a metaphor)
That being said, there’s also something simplistic, saccharine, and honest in what Abed said. Here are two guys who are just trying to make the best of everyday life, as their friends pass them by. And who, unless everybody else had left, would never be friends like this. Maybe it does take something like Annie’s boobs to bring them together, if even for a moment.
But, the episode still suffered from pacing, and the third act dragged too long. It was also light on the hard hitting laughs, especially after last week. This is an episode that just reeked of “it was more fun to shoot than watch,” (that’s not to say it wasn’t a fun episode), and had many of the pieces of what could have been a classic “Community” episode, just not the laughs or the execution.
Notes and Quotes
-Take note: The main opening scene this week was at the bar, not at the study room. Slowly but surely, the show is shifting.
-“Britta, pay your rent”
-“It’s my only chance at the main stream success I need before I can make weird stuff for money.”
-“People like dinosaurs and aliens and anything Chris Pratt can join forces with.”
-“Why am I wearing a blouse? It’s sci-fi, it doesn’t matter.”
-lol, steel drums came back
-“Space version of the Wild West!”
-“Pay your rent or shut up.”
-“I feel Dracula Force”
-“Somewhere, every once in awhile…Annie reaches down her shirt.”
-Little heavy on the Chris Pratt jokes, guys.
-“Tell Steven Spielberg to lick my butt.”