Review: 'Community' - 'Early 21st Century Romanticism': People who need people
Jeff accidentally hosts a party, Britta makes an assumption and Troy and Abed woo the same girl
A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I leap to defend the Barenaked Ladies aggressively...
As we've been discussing all season, there are many different flavors of "Community," but of late we usually only get one at a time, two at most. "Early 21st Century Romanticism," on the other hand, pretty successfully mixed several of the show's flavors into a single episode. We got (literal) kitchen-sink realism and emotion from the events at Jeff's apartment, bizarre and disturbing fantasy in Pierce's painkiller hallucinations, a comedy of manners in Britta's error about her friend Paige, and some shameless (but funny) fan service in Troy and Abed pursuing the same girl, only to realize that they're really meant for each other. No meta commentary and minimal pop culture homages(*), but better that they not try to cram too much into an episode than overreach and have nothing quite work.
(*) Yes, Abed talked for two hours about the "Saw" films, but that wasn't Abed comparing the plot he was in to those films, nor did we get a scene in which Troy and Abed found themselves trapped in some fiendish trap, with Chang playing the role of Jigsaw. Sometimes people just talk about movies they like. The only really blatant reference was when Leonard entered Jeff's apartment asking "Where are the white women at?," which is my favorite line from "Blazing Saddles."
Britta isn't a character you necessarily think of as capable of carrying an episode's comedy load, but darn it if most of the big laughs this week came out of her being hoisted on her own smug hipster patard. Sitcom stories built entirely around misunderstandings often bug me, but this one worked because it flowed so clearly from Britta's character. Of course she would be insufferably pleased with herself at having a lesbian friend, and of course she'd be so proud of her own sensitivity that she and Paige would never actually discuss it. Plus, it's been a running motif of the series that the study group has weird dopplegangers all around Greendale, whether the actors from Abed's films or Jack Black and Owen Wilson's evil study group, so it was fun to see Britta get dissed by her own counterpart, and also to see Annie and alt-Annie equally flustered about what to do beyond supporting their deluded pal.
In terms of the other subplots, Troy and Abed's friendly competition to woo Mariah the librarin was both sweet and funny - Troy's briefcase full of tacos, Donald Glover's ridiculous dance moves - even as it pandered to the Troy/Abed 'shippers out there.
Pierce's hallucinations were more problematic. The idea of casting Andy Dick was perfect, and I like that Annie was also as perceptive and supportive in this story as she was in Britta's, but it was just so weird in an episode that was otherwise so low-key and human that I'm not sure it worked. Add to that whatever residual issues the group should have with Pierce after his behavior in the two previous episodes - which I suppose will now be written off as side effects of his addiction - being ignored, and it felt off. But Pierce's decline did tie in nicely to Jeff's overall message to the group, and we didn't spend too much time on it, so I can deal.
Also, I like Barenaked Ladies a lot, but the group's overprotectiveness and Jeff's incredulity at that was very random and very funny.
What did everybody else think?
News From Our Partners
- Weekly Ketchup: Will Smith to Star in Wild Bunch Remake? Critics Consensus: Star Trek Into Darkness is Certified Fresh Red Carpet Roundup: Star Trek Into Darkness Edition
- What to Watch This Weekend: The Season Finales of Nikita, Doctor Who, The Simpsons, and Family Guy The Office Series Finale Review: That'll Do, Show. That'll Do. Syfy Renews Warehouse 13 for a Fifth and Final Season
- Kendall Schmidt of Big Time Rush Loses $7,000 Worth of Gifts for Fans [Video] Kanye West to Drop New Album 'Yeezus' on June 18 Justin Bieber + Selena Gomez Will Sit Together at 2013 Billboard Music Awards
- The Telefile - The Most Heinous Person on Reality TV This Week The Telefile - Modern Family: The Best Lines of the Night The Telefile - Fall TV 2013: What's On When
- Cannes Film Festival: Cannes 2013, Day Three: Cheers for the young stars of The Selfish Giant, jeers for the new films by Hirokazu Kore-eda and Arnaud Desplechin Hear This: Destroy This Place shows how press releases can get it right Watch This: With Beavis And Butt-head Do America, Mike Judge skewered the idiocy of cinematic adventures
- The Wrap Up: Remember 'The Office' With the Ultimate Blooper Reel The Sims 3: Island Paradise's Producer Walkthrough Shows Us the Finer Points of Tropical Life 'Man of Steel' Featurette: Reinventing Superman
- Beyonce Pregnant Again? Sources Confirm 'Epic' Star Is Carrying Baby No. 2 'Hangover 3' Red Band Trailer: Take a Walk Down a NSFW Memory Lane (VIDEO) Why 'Man of Steel' Didn't Use 'Superman' in the Title
- The 'Doctors' Unite 'We Are Men' In 4 Words MTV Legend Recalls Heavy Metal Frontman's Anti-Gay T-Shirt Controversy
The Doctor uncovers Clara's secret and comes face-to-face with a surprising figureSaturday, May 18, 2013
Dan and Alan also discuss the recent finales of 'Survivor' and 'The Amazing Race'Friday, May 17, 2013
Dwight gets married and the staff revisits the documentary in a lovely farewellThursday, May 16, 2013
Lecter becomes interested in a local killer, and Will begins hearing thingsThursday, May 16, 2013