Previously on Community: Course Listing Unavailable
Similar to Paradigms Of Human Memory, this episode served as one of those end-of-season filler clip shows without all the stink and boring repetitiveness of an actual clip show. Assuming what we even watched this evening was really Community and not some ‘mentally compatible alternative to the grim reality’ of all the other lame shows we’ve been avoiding all season. For the sake of time and sanity, we’ll just assume Community is real and that this episode serves as yet another deconstruction of the show, characters and subsequently the viewing experience we all share week after week. It’ll be a little hard to pull my favorite moments when ‘Curriculum Unavailable’ offered so many, so bear with me if the structure is a little Crazy Town Banana Pants:
- Troy’s casserole was a lovely mix of Bagel Bites in a deconstructed Hot Pocket, glazed with Doritos. The good folks at Epic Meal Time would be proud.
- John Hodgman as Dr. Heidi. ‘Nuff said.
- Mork (of Mork and Mindy) is adorable weird, while Robin Williams (present day) is crazy weird.
- Abed’s Ramp of Weird (as I shall call it):
-Fear of daylight savings time
-Calling Shirley a ‘bad person’ for calling Brad Ratner the ‘new Spielberg’
-Narrating Pierce’s sandwich eating
-Taping Annie at 4:30 in the morning…but who wouldn’t?!
- The Group’s Journey to Crazy Town Banana Pants (again, as I shall call it, partial credit to Pierce):
-Britta on Peyote, which oddly reminded me of an extra from some forgotten Tim Burton movie
-Annie incorporating herself into ‘Troy and Abed in the morning’…without Troy or Abed actually present
-Jeff’s OCD with his coat at the Wiggin Out Dance
-Troy bringing his new 4-wheeler to school and completely misunderstanding what ‘off terrain’ means
-Shirley stealing her boy’s toys as a punishment/Troy thinking the 2nd place karate trophy somehow makes him unstoppable
- Miss Adventures? Take that back, their adventures are very manly!
- Abed’s Don Draper still makes Annie swoon.
- Star Wars and Space Treks?! Really Shirley?
- The Messedup-ness of Greendale (you get the point by now):
-Baby Talk Class (How to make the ‘wuh’ sound poster included)
-Human chess is used to determine parking for the job fair
-Advanced Breath Holding Class
-There is a celebration for 10,000 Flushes
-Can I Fry That? Class…just don’t say ‘fries’
-Rufus the junkyard dog in the study room
- The Good (aka Dean) Parts of Greendale:
-Personalized fire alarm warnings (“Dean-a-ling”)
-The Dean sent Darcy home for stealing Annie’s look
-The Dean rescued six slices of pizza to avoid any depression on the missed chance to enjoy Pizza Day
-The Dean’s personalized song for the group, which reminded me of the Dunder Mifflin Ad song
-Winning at paintball means free tickets to see Chicago, starring George Wendt and Stefanie Powers, at the Greendale Civic Center
- We got to see the group in an asylum…again. We got to see Annie and Abed makeout…again. But most importantly, we got to hear Troy, Abed and Pierce sing Baby Boomer Santa.
- Garrett was the mastermind behind the missing pen? Perfect.
- Troy’s face when Jeff slaps him. I need this .gif and I need it NOW. (Update: Thank you Internet!)
- The Oddities of Chang:
-Chang snorts Cheez-Its, or whatever faux-cheese snack product that was he was snorting
-Chang uses Neil to act out Minority Report
-Chang tasers himself….again…and again
- Wait if the group isn’t playing paintball anymore, does that mean…more paintball episodes?!
“Yeah, good thing I came up with this idea for potluck dinners.” – Pierce
“Pierce, all you said is ‘I’m hungry’.” – Shirley
“Well, all Henry Ford said is ‘I need a ride’.” – Pierce
“You think a guy becomes a cop because his prom night was a dream? If this were Comic-Con I’d take a bullet for that kid, but here in the real world, trespassing is a crime.” – Cop
“60 dollars?! Hello? Rich people? Troy is joining you. Yes, I’ll hold.” – Troy
“My hunger is fireman suspenders.” – Pierce
Quotes (Troy and Abed in the Morning edition)
“Talk to us lonely hearts.”
“Hey Jeff, what’s your question?”
“Who is this?”
“Great question, we’re us.”
“Well Jacks and Jills, that’s about all the time we have tonight.”
“Until next time, may your dreams be sweet and your nightmares be spooky monster scary and not grandma died scary”
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.
Previously on Community: Contemporary Impressionists
Remember that time Community went on a hiatus and we weren’t quite sure when, or even if, the show would be returning? We all panicked and thought how that would indeed be the darkest timeline imaginable. Well, that was nothing compared to how far my heart sank last night when Troy and Abed went from fantastic duo to two men on different sides of a war (blanket fort vs. pillow fort). It hurt, but after last week, I suppose it’s not all that surprising.
Maybe if the group wasn’t so splintered this week, they’d have noticed the the divide between the BFFs. Shirley and Pierce were too busy concocting a plan to have Britta seduce Subway in order to get Subway out of the cafeteria (sounds strange, right?). Jeff and Annie were off on their a quest to find the person who would dare dislike Jeff enough to send him hate mail.
I was torn between loving this episode from a storytelling standpoint and hating this episode for further shattering the childlike innocence of Troy and Abed’s friendship. In typical Community fashion there were so many awesome parts of this episode, but here are just a few of my favorites:
- Subway clearly has an appreciation for unappreciated NBC shows. Sorry Shirley and Pierce, but unless your sandwich shop would result in advertising dollars, I’m rooting for the franchise.
- “Another pillow fort, kind of repeating yourselves aren’t you?” -Britta, but more importantly, the self-awareness of the show’s writers.
- “All difficult things are better, like carrying a disease or holding in a fart right now.” -Troy, in better pre-war times.
- Is Pierce going senile? I think Jeff’s “uh-oh” denoted that this will get increasingly worse, which could mean it will get increasingly hilarious.
- Of course Greendale even has a Pre-Menopausal Post Feminist Experiential Marketing class and OF COURSE Britta is taking it this semester.
- Slowly raise your hand if you’d be willing to go through corpo-humanization for a brand. That has to be an awesome job for the right company!
- “Did you know that technically, Greendale students are in the Army reserves? Let’s say a little prayer for peace.” -Dean, who is not even remotely casual with his crush on Jeff at this point.
- Annie’s kangaroo Ruthie, which hides Nathan in the pouch, felt a little like season one Annie. It was cute.
- Who else would pay money to read Britta Unfiltered?
- It’s the little things that make Community great. For example, Troy and Abed had on the same outfits from Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design. Also, another Bed, Bath and Beyond reference. Viva la continuity.
- I loved Vice Dean’s ponytail so very much, but if his only contribution to the next few episodes is to use Inspector Spacetime to further distance Troy and Abed from one another, I will be glad to see him go.
- “Sorry to drop that on you and run, but there’s a rally for Garrett.” -Kim, who is a guy
“But we saved him.” -Annie
“Did we?” -Kim, still a guy
- Subway, the forbidden lover of Britta, was played by Travis Schuldt. If you’re familiar with Scrubs (Keith Dudemesiter) and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Ben Smith) you’ll notice that this guy has a penchant for playing the romantic interest to feisty blonds.
- The 1984 symmetry was amazing and to be a mindless corporate tool, Subway was such a romantic. The quote he started from the book (and the passage he circled) goes like this: “She had become a physical necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt that he had a right to.”
- Troy humming “Abed’s song“. The continuity continues.
- “I’m not even your sidekick. I’m your underkick.” -Troy
- Did anyone else slowly begin to despise Abed mid-way through the episode? I didn’t want to but I’m definitely Team Troy on this one.
- “Apologies are opportunities to admit your own mistakes.” -Annie, who thought she was speaking on behalf of all the women that Jeff had loved and left.
- “Who do you think I am, I lived in New York!” -Britta
“You never lived anywhere. You’re a weapon designed for sex. You only think you lived in New York because I implanted your memories.” -Pierce, right before doing a “shot” of ink
- “Yeah, I’ll remember that when I’m being given a key to the secret Guinness Record Holders Club House where I’ll be hanging with those two fats guys on the motorcycles and being fitted for a beard of bees.” -Troy, at the start of the war
- Great to see Magnitude, along with Meggie McFadden and Dominic Dierkes, albeit briefly.
- “Hey, you are really mean!” -Kim
“Put it in a letter Jane Austen!” -Annie with the literary burn
- “Don’t do what you always do Abed. Don’t corrupt the host to pacify the parasites.”-Vice Dean. Seriously, go away. Unless you’re going to do a Kelvin and the Zeroes performance.
- “Corporate America has destroyed love.” -Britta
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.
Britta found out, from a psychological test, that one member of the group might be insane! She tells Jeff they need to figure out who it is. She decides to keep everyone in the study room and have them tell “scary” stories to figure out who is the most sadistic – I love when they give individual perspectives but I hated that Troy and Abed didn’t do their signature handshake when given the chance.
Britta and Jeff are in a car in the woods making out – cue the horrible acting from your favorite straight to DVD movie – when a report comes in over the radio. A killer with a hook for a hand is on the loose in the area. Jeff gets out of the car to survey the area when he gets attacked by the killer all the while commentating on his own demise.
Abed doesn’t like Britta’s depiction because he feels the characters make decisions that a normal person wouldn’t make. He begins his story with himself and Britta in a cabin. They kiss – because he just brushed his teeth so that’s obvious – briefly talk about fertility then listen to some SWEET ass elevator music on the radio. After hearing about the killer on the radio, Abed decides to call the police “on (his) fully charged cell phone” and stand back-to-back in the center of the room holding knives. I thought it was a good plan honestly…
Annie cut Abed’s story off. She wanted some more action. She began her story with Jeff carrying her into a cabin. She is a damsel in distress and Jeff has come to her rescue. We find out that Jeff is a vampire and he has Britta in the closet to “feed” on. When Annie gets ready to run away Jeff pleads that she stay and…teach him how to read? He learns how to pick up advanced vocabulary relatively quick. As Annie gets ready to leave Jeff tells her he is still going to still feed on her. She then reveals that she is a werewolf that feeds on vampires and gives a ridiculously descriptive account of what she did to Jeff…and his innards.
Troy wasn’t pleased with Annie’s story and promises to deliver a “real legit scary story”. Troy carries Abed into Pierce’s cabin. He and Abed’s plane crashed in the woods. Pierce gives them something to drink that knocks them out instantly. When they wake up Pierce tells them he is a doctor that does “weird experiments on people”. The two have been sewed together. But “Trobed” (<–just made that awesome name up) figures out they have ESP and “mind powers” to destroy Pierce. They knock Pierce out and sew his butt to his chest and switch the position of his feet and hands so he can’t touch his new breasts. TORTURE!!!
Pierce doesn’t like his role in Troy’s story. So Pierce begins his own story. “Magnum” (aka Pierce) is enjoying his “post-coital brandy” when (gangster) Troy and Abed break into his cabin demanding brandy and hubcaps of course. Pierce..uh…Magnum takes out the assailants; Troy may or may not have even been hit with a Magnum P in his eye (<–Awesome wordplay). Afterwards, Magnum is headed back to his bedroom for more coitus presumably.
The group as a whole is confused because Pierce’s story wasn’t scary at all. Shirley asks what happened to stories about good versus evil then she begins with her story. The group (minus Shirley) is having a debauchery party (wish I was there!) when they hear over the radio that all the Christians have gone to Heaven and everyone else is Hell-bound. “Devil” Dean Pelton bursts into the party and tells the group how they are going to be tortured. Shirley appears as an angelic vision and tells the group she has come to tell her former persecutors that she forgives them but isn’t taking them to Heaven with her. When she disappears Devil Pelton returns screaming “Gay marriage” (aka a Republican’s worst nightmare) with a chainsaw in hand.
Troy feels that Shirley turned the stories into a sermon. The group begins to leave but Britta and Jeff cut them off. Britta tells the group about the test scores. She tells them what might happen if they leave the room with a homicidal killer amongst them. Afterwards they all turn on each other. Until Jeff tells his story…
The whole group is enjoying warm drinks and horrible sweaters – except Annie’s ;) -when the masked killer bursts through the door. Everyone begins to panic until Jeff steps in and asks the killer “Why do you kill people?”. Chang reveals himself and says he kills because he is scared. They all give him a group hug and scene!
The group then turns on Jeff and questions his motives. He tells them that he randomly filled out his test so the “insane” results could have been his the whole time. Annie notices that Britta ran the test through the grading machine upside down so she needs to do it again. The revised tests show that only one person is actually sane. They decided they don’t want to know who that one person is and they will just take solace in the fact that one of them is sane.
P.S. Abed had the only “sane” test result.
“You fools! By sewing my butt to my chest you gave me breasts that I can touch all day!” -Crazy Old Racist Doctor (Pierce)
“Wait! Teach me how to read.” -Vampire Jeff (to damsel Annie)
“You probably just Britta’d the test results somehow.” -Jeff
“No,I double checked them. Wait! Are people using my name to mean ‘to make a small mistake?’” -Britta
“My drugs are wearing off. Who’s got more?” -Sinner Jeff
“I’m no sociopath. I always know what I’m doing is wrong. I’m just a guy who doesn’t like taking tests, doing work or getting yelled at. So when u think about it I’m probably the sanest guy here.” – Jeff
Best.Episode.of.the.Season. Any evening centered on Troy and Abed in adorable suits at their apartment is a win in my book, but when you throw in alternate timelines it makes for a genuine laugh-out-loud episode.
Annie getting the pizza: relatively boring, but we learn that she carries around a gun.
Shirley getting the pizza: also boring, but we learn Shirley is addicted to baking and we’re introduced to the (awesome) Norwegian troll doll.
Pierce getting the pizza: ok…now things are getting interesting. Britta’s toking it up in the bathroom and has a little flirt session with Troy while Jeff and Annie do some flirting of their own after Jeff’s head hits the fan.
Britta getting the pizza: a mash-up of Pierce and Shirley’s versions, except Britta becomes engaged to the pizza guy.
Troy getting the pizza: hands down the best version. The Raiders of the Lost Ark boulder is knocked over. Annie slips and her gun accidentally goes off, shooting Pierce in the leg. Fire starts and Troy returns, screaming once he sees the troll doll looking at him with its creepy little eyes.
Abed getting the pizza: all logic leaves. Britta gets high and accidentally breaks the “don’t eat Shirley’s pie” rule, Troy and Pierce talk it out, which makes Pierce change his mind about the troll doll (“I demand to be housewarmed!”). Jeff and Annie make out…until she tells him he reminds her of her dad. Fighting ensues. Oblivious to all of this, Abed returns and hopes that his version is the “real one”.
Jeff getting the pizza: classic Community version. Abed figures out that Jeff set it up so he never had to get the pizza. More sappy group talk. Jeff returns to the study group dancing and singing and building rainbows. Fun.
Best. Eppy. Of. The. SERIES!!! I can’t disagree with anything Nicole just wrote. I just can’t. But I did prefer Jeff’s trip to the pizza more so than Troy’s. Don’t get me wrong, Troy’s was devastatingly perfect and all but whenever I can get a chance to belt out the high-pitched perfection that is “Roxanne” – reliving my Rock Band glory days – just count me in. I know it goes against my, passive-aggressive, disdain for the group being so darn cute together and all but that looked like a party I would be more than eager (yes, eager) to attend.
We don’t know which parts of the story will carry out over the rest of the season, so I’m going to go over my favorite things/moments/jokes…in order of occurrence:
- Ketchup and cream cheese pizza makes the usually docile Abed extremely irritated, duly noted.
- Creating a fake invite to another party on the same evening of your party is a GENIUS way to keep your guests’ schedules open.
- Yahtzee = Puerto Rican chess
- Troy “smokes” candy cigarettes
- The Britta/Troy combo > The Annie/Jeff combo….but both pale in comparison to Troy/Abed
- Troy had the worst (BEST) “reality” and his dance moves remind me of Bill Cosby.
- Donald Glover makes the larynx voice box funny…surely not the message TheTruth.com wants getting out!
- Abed’s felt goatee is a necessary evil.
“Dr. Shirley says Mini-Pies are the best medicine.” -Shirley
“Then I would like to see your degree.” -Jeff
“(Jeff) is butting antlers with you know because you’re a threat now. You have your own place. You’ve got a future. You’ve got a bowl full of olives next to the toilet.” -Britta
“It’s a fancy party Britta.” -Troy
“I was not supposed to eat your stuff, we all made an agreement. Crap! I wasn’t supposed to say that out loud. Crap! Ok. Cards on the table; I’m REALLY high right now.” -Britta (to Shirley)
“Give it Pierce! It feels fun!” -Troy
“You are bad at gift-giving!” -Troy again
“I demand to be housewarmed!” -Troy trifecta!
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)
The episode began with Jeff flying and singing, it was like they read my heart and made an opening that reflected how I excited I was that Community had finally returned (and delivered the laughs I so sorely missed this summer). I loved that everyone thought Troy and Abed were announcing their man-love and not that they were just becoming roommates, as well as the Chevy Chase-less National Lampoon reference. I’m not biased (well maybe a little), but Donald Glover has the best comedic ad-libs of anyone.
We met Dr.
Omar Little Chalky White Marshall Kane, who kicked Jeff out of class after berating him for his phone constantly ringing, but in his defense, Jeff was kind of a douche about the whole thing. Regardless, this secluded him from the group and inspired a Supernatural-esque look, but he also got a taste of what it’s like to be Pierce. Outside of the Jeff drama, the group spent most of its time tending to Abed’s comatose state over the mid-season start date for Cougar Town and Dean Pelton dealt with Fred Flintstone Vice Dean Laybourne.
Was this the funniest Community? Hell no. But this show’s B game is the humor equivalent of everyone else’s A game anyway, so it was a solid season opener. I look forward to the school dealing with the major budget cuts that are surely around the corner and what class Jeff takes while the rest of the group is in Biology (assuming he doesn’t get back in, but it looks like he will thanks to Starburns).
I’m also convinced that:
- Inspector Spacetime is a Dr. Who spoof
- The Dean tells the group news before telling anyone else in the school
- Pierce is lovable again
- Britta is proof that people who study people are a little crazy
Although we were berated by the notion that things are going to be more normal at Greendale Community College this year/season during a campus-wide musical number (contradiction at it’s finest!) I don’t think I believe them all too much. Dean Pelton’s no-nonsense policy is doomed immediately when we find out that Chang is living in the venting units and “monkey knockout gas” is to be used to counter that issue, also Vice Dean Laybourne (John Goodman) of the Air Conditioning Repair School Annex is apparently much more successful than, and is funding, Dean Pelton and Greendale Community College.
Jeff is excited that Pierce is no longer in the study group because he didn’t take Biology 101 with everyone else. But Pierce, being the rich and conniving antagonist we’ve grown to (insert emotion of your choosing), bribes Professor Kane (Michael K. Williams) so he can get Jeff kicked out and replaced. Except, Pierce being the softhearted guy we never realized he could be only said he bribed the professor to help keep his “villain” role in the group intact. Jeff finds out that life away from the “magical” study group table is lonely and maddening – even if it has only been a few hours since he left. He even took a page from The Shining and went all fire axe on the table.
Abed finds out that his favorite show Cougar Town – he said it would get six seasons and a movie – got pushed back to midseason (true story :/ ) and he is desperate to find something to hold him over until then. Britta finds him the show that Cougar Town was “based” on from England, “Cougarton Abbey” (WARNING!!! NOT A REAL SHOW). But after the show comes to an abrupt end Abed shuts down until they find him another ridiculously fake show to reinvigorate him. All in all, everything is back to the way it’ll always be at Greendale.
Annie- “Are we really doing this without Pierce? So sad.”
Jeff- “Yeah. We have parted ways with our closest, oldest, craziest, most racist, oldest, elderly, crazy friend. And he’s not coming back.”
Professor Kane (to Jeff) – “Get out!”
Jeff – “Seriously?! Hey dude, Sean Penn called he says to dial it back…Sean Penn is an actor w-
Professor Kane – “I know who Sean Penn is. I seen Milk. Now get out!”
Troy – “Why did everyone on “Cougarton Abbey” just die?”
Britta – “They only ran six episodes. That’s the greatest thing about British TV, they give you closure.”
Abed (in a key Mariah Carey couldn’t hold) – “AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”
Troy – “We’ll find you a new favorite show, we’ll find you a new favorite show. C’mon buddy. (To Britta) You are human tennis elbow. You are a pizza burn on the roof of the world’s mouth. You are the opposite of Batman!”
Dean Pelton – “If I wanted to run a monkey hotel, I’d install a banana buffet.”
Vice Dean Robert Laybourne (to Dean Pelton) – “You look like a white Louis Gossett Jr.”
*Thank you to dudemann over at Reddit for pointing out the things we missed.