Community Season 6, Episode 9 “Grifting 101” Review
Usually, in any given episode of “Community,” there are a lot of things to chew on, dissect, and talk about.
Instead, this week was rote, ordinary, and horribly predictable. “Grifting 101” was about as basic as episodes of the show get, and that’s saying something, since it was somewhat of a themed episode.
There was hope from the early moments of the show. The artwork intro and “The Entertainer” intro were both keys into this being a slightly different episode of the show, and the first time we’ve seen a modified opening this season. And there’s nothing like some self awareness right off the bat: “This is one of those things where Jeff gets jealous of something dumb.”
A lot of other critics have been talking about the Jeff-inizing of the show, and that’s really come into focus this season, and especially the last few episodes. Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) are starting to become the dominating characters in the group, and Abed (Danny Pudi) and Annie (Alison Brie) are being pushed more and more into the fringes.
It’s the first time the group has taken a class together in some time, in Professor DeSalvo’s (Matt Berry) Grifting 101 class. Of course the course was a rip off. Of course Jeff was going to be right (his reaction to being right though was partially entertaining)
The show needed Jeff and DeSalvo to not get along, so things escalated quite quickly, with two men who are in a lot of ways alike just kind of bickering and deciding they didn’t like each other because….plot. The episode is never really clear why Jeff “needs” this win so much, but just like the episode predicted, it does end up being all about Jeff in the end.
“Community” has done the whole twist-for-the-sake-of-shock song and dance before (OK, I do like the dancing and jumping shots of the group, especially when the rest of the cafeteria was looking at them in disdain, but did we need it a few times?) way back in “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design,” and it didn’t do it any better (or have an awesome fort Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed b-story) here.
And, was anybody really surprised when Britta had planned it all along? I was half expecting it to end there, with it really being a Britta coming to Jeff’s rescue story, and that would have had some meat on it. Of course it didn’t end there, and of course it was all a big plan by the group to win in the end.
Predictable. But predictability doesn’t equal greatness. And if there’s one thing that “Community” doesn’t need, it’s to become predictable and normal within itself, and lose the spark that made it so great in the first place.
Notes & Quotes:
-More quotes this week than I expected.
-“The candy has lost its appeal now that I work at the store.”
-“This is one of those things where Jeff gets jealous of something dumb”
-“Pass them like your sister’s dying.”
-“I’m God’s paintbrush.”
“Well it was homework.”
-“You don’t have to go teach a class but you can’t stay here.”
-I do like the running gag with Britta borrowing money and people just getting it from her parents
-“You hit me…with a woman’s hand!”
-“I lived in New York!”
-“Someone taste it.”
-“Are you counting the amount of money or the number of stacks?”
“Three more and she’ll have her two year degree.”
-“You can’t expel her with four week-asodes left in the season-mester.”
“That usage may fly in the UK, but not in the states.”
–Points for Leonard (Richard Erdman) and the briefcase parade.
-Guy from Jeff’s Gym was a pretty funny closer
-Looking ahead, and being honest, I’m really hesitant about doing paintball again…and about Kooglar.