Review: 'Community' - 'G.I. Jeff': Knowing is half the battle
A quick review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I suppressive fire at you...
I am almost exactly the age Jeff Winger is revealed to be in "G.I. Jeff," and like him, I poured an enormous amount of time, energy and my parents' money into the '80s "G.I. Joe" cartoon and its associated action figures (and, on occasion, the Larry Hama-written Marvel comic, which was genuinely good). I dreamed of one day owning the hovercraft, wondered how useful specialized Joes like Snow Job and Shipwreck were on traditional missions and could sing a few bars of "Cold Slither" on command. I was a nerd of many stripes, and a "G.I. Joe" nerd was one of those.(*)
(*) If you need further proof of my obsessiveness, note the recent podcast where I derailed our "From Dusk Till Dawn" discussion to note that DJ Cotrona and Adrianne Palicki had both appeared in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," while Don Johnson had voice Lt. Falcon in 1987's immortal "G.I. Joe: The Movie."
I was, in other words, the perfect audience for an episode like "G.I. Jeff." It was a rehash of a kind of episode the show's done before, and "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" — which Abed tried to bring up before the others shut him down — was more ambitious and emotionally complex, but this was fun, and Jeff's fear of aging gave it just enough of a genuine character arc to justify turning the show into a half-hour homage to — and parody of — all things Joe.
So we got commentary on the cheap, repetitive animation, on Cobra Commander's erratic hiss, on how most of the Joes tended to be defined entirely by their gimmick (note how often Shirley had to remind people of her three kids), and on the completely non-lethal nature of the Joe/Cobra combat. (The most memorable part of the aforementioned "G.I. Joe: The Movie" came when Duke appears to be lying dead on the ground and a tearful Scarlett deduces that he's "gone into a coma.") And before the gag got too tired, we arrived in the animated version of Greendale, where of course nothing worked right and the Chang, Duncan and Buzz versions of Cobra villains were all easily defeated. (Duncan's twin experiencing his brother's pain while waiting tables was my favorite joke of the episode, followed closely by Deep Dish realizing all he had suffered in his escape plan after the battle blew open a much bigger hole in the wall.)
Not an incredibly deep episode, but a fun one, though I wonder how many of the jokes landed for those with little to no investment in this cheesy '80s toy commercial disguised as a cartoon.
What did everybody else think?