The show is done (barring a resurrection through Hulu or some other means). I'm never going to finish reviewing all the episodes in order. So instead I've decided to do a countdown of all episodes from worst to best. A (not quite) Top 100.
A note about this list: it's going to be fairly arbitrary, and had I compiled it another day certain episodes would no doubt be in a different order. I am not a season 4 hater by any means but I certainly find them the weakest for the most part so the first bunch on here will be mostly from that year. Also I have not yet rewatched any of season 5, so they have not had a chance to seep in as much as the others and possibly would be judged a little harsher than I will in a years time or so. So, here we go.
|4x09. Intro to Felt Surrogacy|
To be honest I think the one I am putting at position 96 is probably worse but I wanted to start on a slightly controversial note to kick off discussions, as this ep. seems liked out there by a few people. The whole thing strains too hard to hit the emotional beats (seasons 4 and to lesser extent 5, hit this problem a lot) whilst riffing off a much stronger episode. Even here though, there is stuff to like. It never relaxed into trying to appeal to more people. The gags aren't as strong, the heart is not as tugged but it's clearly trying, the cast are game and the puppets are lovely, if a bit pointless.
"The level to which we respect you as a political activist has definitely not changed."
|4x04 Alternative History of the German Invasion|
Because nobody demanded it - the Germans (well some) are back. Like some of the season 2 and 3 eps this positions the study group as having a horrible influence. Which can work as an idea but as ever with the fourth year it doesn't quite gel together.
"Don't worry. If there is one thing Germans don't do, it's hold a grudge."
|4x07 Economics of Marine Biology|
I might be a little harsh on this one, and suspect my 94 will be many peoples choice for worst but this one was more annoying by being generally bland. It has some fun ideas but I barely remember anything. Maybe the last time the show got anything out of the Pierce/Jeff dynamic
"get your damn hands off my Let’s,”
|4x03 Conventions of Space and Time|
Poor in a host of ways, it plays out in dull fashion the Jeff and Annie of it all and Troy and Abed torn asunder again. But i still like the setting and there's a few good gags in there. And I still like Inspector Spacetime no matter how played out it may have felt by this point.
"I love doughnuts."
|4x13 Advanced Introduction to Finality|
The problem with this episode is the character revelations are too insular and tied to one person. The show had already done sequels to fan loved ideas but the references here feel more shallow. Thankfully the show did not end on this slightly bum note.
"Congratulations, Jeffrey. You worked hard not to work hard to earn that degree."
|5x13 Basic Sandwich|
Unfortunately this one did. Feeling like a fourth season episode where the wackiness (involving hidden treasure and computer hermits) didn't feel earned and a major moment of character love leaves out one of the core remaining cast (though she does get a lovely bit Jonathan Banks to try and make up for it). It's still unlike anything else on teevee, and i will always applaud it for that but this is far from the show's best and sadly now sits as the last.
"Depends on what fails!"
|4x06 Advanced Documentary Filmmaking|
Ah, the Changnesia storyline. The show has often struggled with how to play Chang, frequently going to the grotesquely over the top. This manages some nice humanising in the third act but still feels both undercooked and over egged. It gets, like the documentary eps before this, a few good digs at the format.
“Science tells us that hitting his head could only cure him if hitting his head was the original cause,”
So there is the first instalment of my Community Countdown. The next run of ten episodes will include a bit more stuff that is not season 4. As we've almost run out, and a couple of them will be placed higher than 81. But which ones? We shall see.