A review of last night's "Community" coming up just as soon as I know the distinction between Duck and Goose...
Because of the show's pop culture blender style, most episodes of "Community" feel familiar in some way, but "Intro to Political Science" felt a little too familiar - both to the outside culture and to the show itself. Some funny moments here and there, and a wonderful Abed subplot, but not one of the season's strongest overall.
The series hasn't dabbled in satirizing politics and/or political coverage yet, but I kept feeling like it had, in part because so many beats of the Jeff/Annie story echoed many similar plots involving those two, in part because so many of the specific ways in which it satirized the election and its coverage have been done in plenty of other shows and movies. Jeff trying to prove that voters just want to be pandered to by a charming guy who strokes everyone's ego, for instance, is a pretty old insight, on top of too closely echoing his opening statement from the debate episode.
The ways in which this was specifically a "Community" political satire were fun, like Magnitude and Leonard's final debate, Troy referring to himself as Troy "Butt Soup" Barnes on the closed-circuit show, or anything involving Dean Pelton wearing the Uncle Sam costume that belongs to his "sister," but overall the main story seemed a bit flat.
(And it also continued the Evil Pierce thing, albeit in a minor running joke as opposed to building another episode around it. Given the "South Park" punchline to the election, it's hard to resist those who've wanted to label Pierce as the Cartman of this show.)
But there were enough laughs in the debate storyline - including Jeff's humiliating "Real World" audition tape - to allow the episode to carry the sweet, unexpected, chaste romance between Abed and Secret Service Agent Vohlers, played by Eliza Coupe from the last two seasons of "Scrubs." The show sometimes has an elastic sense of just how much Abed understands other people's behavior, as well as his own, but here it worked because he and Vohlers were so obviously on each other's wavelength - and because the nature of her job, and the off-center personalities on-hand, meant that whatever kind of relationship they're going to have could be anything but typical. I know Coupe's now a regular on ABC's upcoming "Happy Endings," but hopefully there will be room in her schedule to allow her to come back again, because she and Danny Pudi were fantastic together.
What did everybody else think?
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