Review: 'Community' - 'Digital Exploration of Interior Design': The spy who loved Subway
A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I'm flown to Dubai to stay in an underwater hotel...
If "Celebrity Impressionists" had aired in its original production order — and/or if the show hadn't gone on hiatus and we got the usual mix of original episodes and repeats in January — I think "Digital Exploration of Interior Design" might have played better. The way it actually played out, we get back-to-back episodes featuring Troy and Abed each chafing against the limitations of their friendship — and we'll get a third of those next week when the pillow/blanket war continues — and featuring Jeff being confronted about the depths of his narcissism and selfishness. The stories weren't quite the same as last week (this week, for instance, the Troy/Abed friction is instigated by Vice-Dean Laybourne(*)) but the core emotional issues were close enough — and, more importantly, was the second episode in a row to feel lighter on overall laughs — that a lot of that material never really clicked. We seem to be in a good place for part two of this pillow/blanket conflict, but a lot of part one fell flat for me.
(*) Who is "going through some stuff now." It happens, big guy. John Goodman was definitely the highlight of that story.
On the other hand, Britta falling hard for "Subway"(**) was marvelous on several levels: as corporate satire, as loving "1984" homage (with various Cold War spy movie tropes worked in as well), and as the latest bit of evidence in Gillian Jacobs' campaign for season 3 MVP. Britta's as oblivious as ever (she didn't even realize the pun in her "Britta Unfiltered" newspaper column title) and yet she's willing to go with her heart and not her political self-image in falling for this person representing "the collective humanity" of a corporation. That was sweet, and silly, and excellent — and perverted — all around. Plus it managed to dust off a very old joke — the Subway executive being afraid to stand up after listening to the kinky sex tapes because of what might be tented in his pants — and tell it effectively. (The confusion of the pansexual Dean Pelton is what sold it, I think.)
(**) Played marvelously by Travis Schuldt, best known around these parts as Keith Dudemeister from "Scrubs."
The Jeff/Annie subplot was among this season's more forgettable — much like poor Kim himself — though at least it offered a good running gag in the question of whether or not they succeeded in saving Garrett.
Again, loved Britta/Subway, but the rest of it made this my least favorite post-hiatus episode. Hopefully part 2 will make up for it.
What did everybody else think?