Community Season 6, Episode 7 “Advance Safety Features” Review
If “Community” needs quotes for any upcoming article sponsorship deals, here’s some hand mined gems:
“The hardest I’ve laughed at Community in a long time.”
“The best episode yet this season.”
This was the funniest episode of “Community” in a long time. It may even be one of the funniest episodes since season three (which feels so long ago at this point). Just take a look at the quotes section this week! Line after line, laugh after laugh, this is the “Community” that fans fell in love with.
The show opened with a great study room scene (which the show has been nailing of late), including hilarious commentary on Elroy’s (Keith David) role in the group, Abed (Danny Pudi) self-realizing how boring he (and the rest of the group) has been since Troy (Donald Glover) left, and even Jeff (Joel McHale) stepped into the game with a payoff joke about steel drums. Even gags like Chang’s (Ken Jeong) PowerPoint intro, which normally probably would have fallen flat, got big laughs.
The bigger question is where this fire and wit was at the start at the season. Where was this commentary a few episodes ago? It’s been sprinkled here and there, but this was a return to form for a show that is almost as much about itself as it is about pop culture.
Britta (Gillian Jacobs) old flame Rick (Travis Schuldt) returned, with a beard, this time as a guerrilla campus marketer for Honda. (It’s the same story all over again!). The double irony is that, of course, it is essentially the same story again, and the ghost of “Community” episodes past haunted this otherwise great episode.
It almost seems that “Community” is out to top itself this season, but it’s hard to top yourself when you are dancing in fields already plowed. The Subway stint was a great use of product placement, but the show turned everything up a notch with Honda, (and it was equally funny to see how the show managed to continually avoid ever mentioning Subway by name), but just like last week’s episode being the third in a trilogy, there’s an unsettling feeling that we’ve been here and done this and see it before, and even the show commenting on that very idea isn’t enough to make it go away.
And that’s the unsettling thought that kept plaguing me between finishing the episode and finishing this review. There was so much great stuff here: The Dean (Jim Rash) and Frankie (Paget Brewster), as she tried to stay positive and not make fun of the Dean but just couldn’t. There was Britta’s “Avatar is puke.” Rick apologizing to the car after hitting it. Britta telling him to stop the awesome and amazing and fully detailed breaks of the vehicle. Very funny stuff all around.
There was even heart, with Elroy coming clean to Britta about having dated the Natalie is Freezing singer, and Britta’s own “level 7” realization, that just tugged at the heartstrings.
It was a bit of a stretch that Elroy was keeping Jeff at arm’s length because of an old flame 20 years ago, but at least everything built to something and connected. It was neat and tidy in a way the show hasn’t been yet this season, and also was the first to feel really planned out and like the well oiled machine “Community” can be.
But it still feels a bit empty, because the show has done this before. “Community” can’t keep looking back, and when some of the best jokes of an episode are based around characters that aren’t there anymore and seasons long gone, there’s a bit of fear that even if the show takes old ideas and turns them up to a thousand, it’s still overly reliant on looking back, instead of forward.
Cue steel drum solo.
Notes and Quotes
-The episode was written by Carol Kolb (from the Onion) who hasn’t had a writing credit yet this season. Hopefully there’s a lot more where this came from. It was almost night and day above anything else we’ve see n this year.
“They can’t send you to prison unless they know you’re poor.”
“Do you believe half your own politics?” “Yeahhhhhhh. Yeah.”
-“By which I mean figure out what makes a DJ good, or bad. Or different from a phone or laptop.”
-“Sounds like brain Windexing.”
-“Is he black Pierce? Or old Troy? Shirley without a giant purse?”
“You guys have been boring too.”
-“That’s won’t pay off immediately. But it’s gonna pay off.”
-“Don’t ever say that name without compensation.”
“..wait for them to notice your cool.”
“-We weren’t supposed to leave the rec center.”
-Did anybody else have Subway commercials air during the show? OH THE LEVELS OF META.
“That’s moon man talk.”
-“I’ve been saying that since the invention of the shuffle button.”
-“if you need anything reached, I’ve been practicing.”
-“We like Avatar?”
-Yup, the bar IS becoming a staple of the show it seems.
-“Play the game.”