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

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

Apparently all this season of “Community” needed was a big hand and an old, dilapidated RV.

But first: Three weeks earlier.

No study room opening. No study table. Hell, almost no Chang (Ken Jeong). “Basic RV Repair and Palmistry” was both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, a constant give and take between the show that people are used to, and the show that has been evolving and growing over the last season.

Bottle episodes aren’t new to “Community,” but unlike the other territory the show has retread this season, this time it decided to actually do something new and fresh with the idea. Abed’s (Danny Pudi) fourth wall commentary is nothing new, but having Jeff (Joel McHale) get fed up with it to the point of outright decrying it, is.

Jeff tends to take Harmon’s voice, and while it’s impossible to write this sentence without using the word show (or this review itself), Jeff’s frustration over Abed hit a new tipping point, and one that while probably won’t be an end to Abed’s character as we know it, it could be the mark or reasoning for the change (or toning down) to his wild side that we’ve seen this season.

The show (sorry!) has been struggling all season with what to do with Abed, but at least here he’s given a gimmick that works. It’s always great when the show breaks form and fiddles with itself, and the jumping back and forth gag was a great play on form.

This week was also the group bonding story this season has so desperately needed, and probably the best example yet of the whole group (including the newcomers) bonding together nicely and working off each other quite well. These are the stories that made the study group a true…well, community, and hopefully the types of stories that will knit this new group of vagabonds together.

Ultimately though, it was Abed, and his inability to connect with people, that helped him connect with the Dean and save the day. (It was also Abed who had to stop Annie (Alison Brie) and Frankie (Paget Brewster) from being crazy earlier in the episode as well). Abed pulled it out in the end(even if he needed Frankie’s help), with a speech about the power of holding and letting go. And it’s hard not to read that as an overall metaphor for this season: Fans have held on to “Community” so strongly, that even after it was cancelled, it wasn’t let go. Harmon wasn’t able to let the series go and came back after leaving, but eventually, at some point, the show will have to let go. Everybody will have to let go of “Community.”

It wasn’t a perfect episode, but it’s one of the better entries this season, and just had the feel-good resolution that’s hard to decry. There was a soft but sure heart here, with a “Community” twist, and that’s something worth holding on to.

Notes & Quotes

-Is this really how RV (or car) batteries work?

-“I’m pretty sure the answer is no.”

-“I wonder what they are talking about.” “God who knows, they are sealed off behind this soundproof vinyl.”

-“Darn it i want to hijack this RV but I’m foiled but its impenetrable post-2001 security measures.”

-“I’m yelling even louder so you have to stop.”

-“We’re all gonna die.”

-“I’d like to establish this moment…”

-“Insert dialog here about you dropping the 4th wall shtick.”

-“It’s just sitting there in Memorial’s Day’s Shadow like a military Hanukkah.”

-“Season two you mean?”

-“Can I ask that it not be a show about you saying its a show because…dumb.”

-“Most conventional weapons don’t require electricity”

-“Are you going to eat me first?”

-I’m an adult, and you can’t make me not cry>”

-I can’t cry anymore unless someone brings me a Pedialyte?

-lol, people chess

-“That’s a really stupid question Annie. Obviously something fell off the roof, the question is what.”

-“What’s wrong with me if that’s hot?”

-“And I had to Christopher Nolan it.”

-“I’m space elder Britta…what are you guys talking about?”

-I almost thought they killed off the Dean, and Rash tweeted that there was actually discussion about it.

-Up next: More paintball. I’m very, very hesitant to them returning to pinball again, but the spy thing just might work. Also interesting that there’s two episodes up after paintball. Curious…curious.

Community Season 6, Episode 9 “Grifting 101” Review

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.”

-“like gypsies”

-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.

Community Season 6, Episode 8 “Intro To Recycled Cinema” Review

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”

-#WhoIsGlipGlop

-“Somewhere, every once in awhile…Annie reaches down her shirt.”

-Little heavy on the Chris Pratt jokes, guys.

-“What’s YouTube?”

-“Tell Steven Spielberg to lick my butt.”