Thursday, 12 June 2014

Top 100 (97) Community Countdown. 80-71


3x03 Competitive Ecology
Really heading into a bunch of episodes that I love and could place in any order now. So letting my gut just pull an ep out, with weaknesses sure, but still wonderful, funny stuff.
Like many, many of the half hours Community put out this one has something to say about the form and tone sitcoms have. In this case a commentary on the way shows naturally group people together which in the real world could be cliquey and uninviting. Neither the first nor the last one to tackle this subject, it loses some points for being quite so mean to Todd and a silly Chang plot line but gains some for smartly dissecting tropes within both main stories and Michael K. Williams is great as Professor Kane.
"Well he is right about one thing: You're all terrible people."

3x12 Contemporary impressionists 

Can Abed grow up? Should he? Should I, or any of us? The show is never afraid to say Abed's enthusiasm and passions can be harmful, and occasionally intentionally so. Not so much the case here, where he is just a little thoughtless and play between Troy and Abed is nuanced and compelling. Which makes up for some of the other wackiness on display. The look-a-likes everyone becomes are fun and Jeff and Britta get a nice moment. 
"I don't know who told you pouting was an option for you, but all you're making me feel right now is hatred of Renee Zellweger."

1x12 Comparative Religion

Shirley episodes are better when not so focused on her religion and religious intolerance. Though I really enjoy everyone Boooing Jeff for being agnostic. Anthony Michael Hall is fun as a bully and Britta's reaction to the guys taking their shirts off is worthwhile alone. Solid ep but Christmas would be done better over the next two years.
"He meant we were figh ... ... ting. It IS hard to think of another word!"


1x22 The Art of Discourse

Another solid but unremarkable episode (compared to itself, it's still way better than most sitcom fare) with some lovely bits of business (Troy and Abed trying to fulfill a list of movie cliches) and a rare and perhaps underutilized dynamic between Shirley and Pierce that manages to be thoughtful and interesting whilst involving pantsing.
"We've lost our Cliff Clavin! Our George Costanza! Our Turtle ... or Johnny Drama ... or E. Man, that show is sloppy."

2x03 The Psychology of Letting Go
Jeff's fear of death gets an airing (and lays some very slight groundwork with another couple of episodes for the GI Jeff parody in season 5) and there's some nice play between Jeff and Pierce with a sweet moment in the car listening to the mother's last words on CD. Annie and Britta are given some fan service as they end up wrestling in oil, funny mostly for the brilliant John Oliver, and Patton Oswalt is always a welcome sight in any show. This is also the episode where one of the main characters gets a storyline which plays out entirely in the background of other scenes, which should perhaps have pushed this one up further on the list but it's just not as funny as most.
"Hold on a sec. I need to use my force field to prevent Chang from getting food."

2x04 Basic Rocket Science
An episode that didn't work aswell for me on first viewing as it does on rewatches. It felt a bit too silly, Annie's motivation seemed to fly in the face of previous episodes and perhaps it was a little too specific to a movie I find very dull - Apollo 13. But it's a fine, fast, funny piece of Community and the moment where Chang says he's found a way to reroute the power, Abed queries 'To what?' and he just backs away makes me laugh so hard. 
"I know that this isn't a symbol for the crossroads of ideas. I now know it's a butt."

3x01 Biology 101

Opening with a very silly, very funny song about trying to be less wacky it goes dark quite quickly (as Community so often does), poking at it's characters foibles, vanity, ego and place in the world. Community could be as melancholy as it is comedic and it makes for an interesting tone as it doesn't tie it's sadness to a war (like MASH) or illness/death (like Scrubs would sometimes do) so much as just feeling lost. It's theme has always been there right in the title (it's not called Community College after all) but it's cleverness can sometimes come from the way it questions how we form bonds and that it can be as unhealthy as they are needed and worthwhile. We also get the introduction to John Goodman's vice dean. He's great, as ever, but it's a shame the arc with him never really took hold in a particularly inspiring way. Oh and Cougarton Abbey. 
“I know who Sean Penn is! I’ve seen Milk!”

3x15 Origins of Vampire Mythology

A key piece in the Troy/Britta throughline (that unfortunately went nowhere in season 4 and got a little unfairly maligned in season 5), a sweet low key way of playing out the start of a will they won't they plot which can be deadly dull. The air conditioning school plot continues, and again doesn't really hit, but the Dean gets to have fun trying to be subtle and it was nice to see him have a purpose with the group that didn't involve fondling Jeff.
"None of us have to go to anyone, and the idea we do is a mental illness we contracted from breath-mint commercials and Sandra Bullock."

1x25 Pascal's Triangle Revisited

The episode before this was such a lovely, perfect way yo end the season that this one comes off as a little forced. I'm sure there are some people who think Jeff and Britta make for a great couple but for me, the wonderful thing is they don't. They have a great chemistry together but it feels more casual, and thankfully for the most part the show seems to agree with me. Slater was perhaps a bit too 'normal' to ever be a threat which is why the triangle just doesn't really work even while throwing out some great gags and giving Gillian Jacobs some beautiful moments. 
"You. Me and Jeff and Rainman and Big Boobs and Medium Boobs and Black Boobs. We're a family."

2x07 Aerodynamics of Gender

Contains one of my absolute favourites jokes ever ("it's going to be a maze") and some fun bits where they hinted at upcoming storylines (with Abed's Robocop vision - "Rowboat Cop" is also one of my favourite gags) but otherwise fairly slight.  The mean girls riff is funny but doesn't particularly make anyone look good and the secret garden shows Pierce once more to be a selfish, needy arse but doesn't really go any deeper.

Wow, took me an age to get to these. Hopefully not as long for the next batch. 

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