Previously on Community: Virtual Systems Analysis
I decided to stage a 1-person boycott against Law and Order: SVU at the end of season 12 after Christopher Meloni left the show. No matter how dreamy I find Mr. Harry Connick Jr., there was no way I wanted to enter a parallel universe that left Benson without Stabler. Basic Lupine Urology gave me the opportunity to revisit a show I once loved and enjoy a show I’m currently obsessed with, while holding steadfast to my outraged, yet silent boycott.
I avoided any potential spoilers because I didn’t want anything to ruin the perfection I was imagining when they first announced that this episode was in the works. However, I spend at least half my
days week on the Internet, so it was inevitable that I’d stumble upon some teaser from Community‘s homage to Law and Order. Fortunately, it was nothing more than a few stills from the opening theme. No biggie. Avid (and bored) fans set the stage for this months ago (Arrested Development and Buffy were my personal favorites). But I found myself wondering…would Steven Zirnkilton provide the opening narration (“In the criminal justice system…”)…could I depend on Troy and Abed to give me some Tutuola and Munch-style back and forth….and most importantly, are Annie and Jeff going to resurrect that Stabler/Benson sexual tension or did last week’s realization that she only loves love and not Jeff ruin any hopes of that?? The short answer(s): No, yes….kinda?
Typical Annie wants to save the group’s grade when their yam (Pam the Yam) experiment is destroyed, while typical Jeff wants to catch the culprit quickly, utilizing the least amount of morals possible. Shirley uses her familiarity with procedural crime dramas to send Troy and Abed on the hunt to catch the perpetrator. Pierce was…well, Pierce was absent (did anyone else think for a moment that this is what the show would be like without Chevy Chase?) and Britta was pretty much MIA as well.
In what has been consistent of the second half of a pretty amazing season, Community has yet again managed to be funny and attempt a themed episode that would be a complete fail for (most) other comedies. Without further delay, here are my favorite parts of tonight’s episode:
- Professor Kane is a fan of Mama’s Family. Vicki Lawrence was HI-LAR-IOUS.
- “We can’t both do the zinger” -Abed
- “Youth! Scatter!” -Leonard
- Given his last interaction with the group and Annie practically making him cry on the witness stand, is it safe to assume Todd will play a villain on the next paintball episode?
- Britta’s brief appearance portrayed her as the Instagram specialist; however, as a psych major she would have done quite well filling the “George Huang” role.
- Abed can’t tell time, but it’s fine because he’s gifted in other ways.
Magnitude cameos, while brief, are ALWAYS appreciated. Pop! Pop!
- When Troy was dressed in the cardigan and glasses during the “sting operation” was anyone else, just for a moment thinking he would mention pooping his pants and skateboarding? Just me then? Fine.
- I believe Shirley was Captain Don Cragen.
- Troy’s tie? Yet another lovely nod to ‘Donald Glover for Spiderman’.
- Were we all that shocked that Star-burns was building or had something to do with building a meth lab? He’s never really kept his side gig as a drug dealer a secret (See: Introduction to Statistics and Introduction to Political Science)
- The Miranda warning should now, and forever, end with a polite “please and thank you.”
- Did you ever think you would hear Omar Little utter the words, “I’m upholding the pinky swear”?
- The word ‘pedophile’ has now been used twice in the last three episodes. That’s not interesting, just something I noticed.
- Codette: The girl version of the man code….according to Jeff.
- Neil boiled the yams for Vicki, so they could have sex during the warm summer nights. However, Neil loses his keymaster position and has to go to summer school, which negates the whole point of the crime….still a better love story than Twilight (some might say).
- “I fell asleep in a sun beam” -Pierce
“Likely story” -Abed
“Actually it is. I used to live with him. It’s sort of adorable” -Troy
Star-burnsAlex is dead. There’s that “oh wow, didn’t see that coming!” ending Law and Order has perfected over the years.
- Where does the word ‘bunk’ come from? This could be the wrong answer, but it sounds pretty good.
Troy and Abed off to dreammm-land. Sweet Deans everyone!
Nicole is a TV junkie and TVDM helps her feed a lifelong addiction. She can be found here, providing biased commentary (sprinkled with a few Pop Up Video-esque insights) on her favorite shows, every week.
Chang is determined to become a detective of the security guards by day’s end and he begins to make a case to solve to prove himself. Living in a utility closet, “married” to a mannequin leg, and not understanding how mirrors and reflections work are concerns that should be higher on his list. Somehow during his “investigation” he manages to buy thousands of matches, burn down his living quarters, steal a saxophone and figure out that Larry Bird was behind his imaginary scheme. But with Dean Pelton not wanting to get the police involved when the fire breaks out, Chang gets the promotion he wanted when his boss quits. If there were any questions about the lengths Chang will go to to solidify his status as a total spaz I’m pretty sure this episode puts that to rest.
Professor Kane tells the study group that they have to split up and partner with “randoms” for the rest of the semester. Of course, they manage to talk their way out of it and partner up amongst themselves – with the exception of Pierce who gets partner with Todd. After the initial pairings (Troy/Abed, Annie/Jeff, Shirley/Britta), everyone realizes they would rather be paired with someone else. They have a vote and still no partners are decided…and they spent the WHOLE NIGHT at Greendale trying to figure it out. So they head straight to class unprepared, except Annie who somehow managed to do her work during the meeting while everyone was arguing – she’s good. Professor Kane decides that they will be group together all year and they will share one table, microscope, and final grade.
I can sense that the recurring theme of this season of Community is going to focus on how much the group is attached to one another and just the group as a whole. It has been the main theme every episode since the season began and I hope they veer from this path soon because it may get redundant soon.
Chang living at the school is sad. Chang loving a mannequin leg is sadder, but he fact that he’s mentally living out a film noir was the saddest part of all. Outside of Chang’s mini-story, most of the laughs from this episode came from “unknowns” (aka people not in the notorious study group).
Sure Jeff imitating Abed’s oddities was funny, but the whole popular/unpopular pairing thing just fell flat for me. But that’s the hard part about understanding the smart writing behind Community sometimes. I’m not sure if what was supposed to be funny just wasn’t or if they made group have an already overdone argument about their dynamics to illuminate other characters.
Regardless, Michael K. Williams’ Professor Kane was my favorite this week. Who else was going to ask the hard-hitting questions about the long gone simplicity of Legos?! And poor Todd, he originally took all of that insanity in stride and took “no offense” to practically every rude comment they directly or indirectly shot his way. I hope the single tear drop wasn’t the last we see of him.
“Did you know that sugar is like baby meth? That’s what my homeopath said.” – Britta
“Well maybe your gay friend should mind his own business?” – Shirley
“Why don’t they just make tires out of pavements so you can drive on anything?” – Chang
“You’re just a good grade in a tight sweater.” – Jeff
“You’re just a bad grade in a tight sweater! And who the hell are you always texting?! Everyone you know is here!” – Annie
“We had a name for people like you in prison; we called you the ‘mean clique’.” –Professor Kane
“There’s Ben dressed like a Dracula.” – Shirley
(Awww from the group)
“Here’s me and Abed dressed as Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy.” – Troy
(Awww from the group)
“Who’s Nick Nolte?” – Annie
(Awww from the group)