Community ends its fantastic second season with the conclusion to last week’s Spaghetti Western. Full Review after the jump…
Season 2 of Community is ove and what a season it has been. Tonight’s episode was the conclusion to last week’s paintball episode and I think it did exactly what it needed to do. While last week’s episode was a focused piece of respectful Western parody tonight’s episode was much more broad in its parody, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Yeah, there was plenty of straight up Star Wars parody, especially in the first act, but it became a broader send up of action/war movies in the way last year’s “Modern Warfare” was. It completely worked for me, I loved the Star Wars stuff, especially Abed as Han, but I also loved attack on the machine gun in the ice cream truck, and finally with that really great third act in the study room dealing with the Pierce season long arc. Great stuff all around.
As I look at last week’s and this week’s episodes as a single whole piece I think they work really well together. I could see how many people are going to have a problem with these two being so connected in their plot but so contrasting in their tone and themes. I think these two episodes were a perfect showcase of all the colors of Community. You get your straight up parody in last week’s episode*, you get the looser reference humor this week, then there’s the genuine heart that Community has no problem putting on display, and in the midst of all that there is the vast and ever-expanding universe of Greendale Community College. I just love episodes like these, and this show in general, because it gives room for genuine character building moments. A lesser comedy could have devoted their entire run time to the paintball gag, but Community gives you two action-packed acts of paintball madness followed by a emotional weighty third act that feels genuine and well earned. That ending serviced a season long arc about Pierce and made some of those more problematic Pierce moments look better in retrospect.
*I think the claymation Christmas episode is the one that is most similar to last week’s-one single parody carried all the way through the episode.
I mentioned briefly the ever-expanding universe of Greendale and I don’t think it has ever been on such full display as it was here tonight. Over the past two seasons we’ve met dozens of other characters and Greendale students and what I love about this show and this team of writers is that each and everyone one of those characters feels like a fully developed character that could be at the center of a show. Any other sitcom would introduce these wacky and crazy characters in a single episode, use them for a joke, and be done with them. I think back to the first time we met Pierce’s election nemesis Vicki, I never thought we’d see her again, but instead she got the biggest laugh of the night from me. Then there’s someone like that really strange janitor who encouraged Troy to be a plumber, he was back tonight and so were Troy’s “super plumbing skills.” Magnitude, Starburns, Leonard, Quendra, Fat Neil, nerdy Garrett, and even the Bully from last season appeared in these last two episodes. Community is brilliantly creating a fully formed universe with callbacks and gags that never feel cheap or overused. This deep and rich world make episodes like this even better because the writers have to rely less on the reference humor and parody gags and just let us watch the familiar recurring characters exist in these crazy circumstances.
Community is a show that, at its core, is about building a group, a community, from nothing. Our little study group is a community that has been growing and building for two seasons, but beyond that this show and all that characters in it are part of this awesome little community that has been getting bigger and bigger for two years. I cannot wait to see what Vicki and Leonard and Magnitude are up to next season just as I cannot wait to see what Jeff and Annie and Britta and the rest of them will be doing next year. I cannot wait for next season.
Community is a show that dares like few others on television. I start watching new episodes never knowing what to expect or what I’m going to get. One week they’re going to space in a KFC simulator, the next week they’ve turned into zombies, and the week after that they sit in a room and look for a pen. There have certainly been episodes that didn’t quite work for me (“Celebrity Pharmacology” comes to mind) but those are few and far between. I could sit here and name my favorite episodes of the season but that list might include 2o of 24 episodes. Community at its worst is still funnier than most anything on tv, and Community reaching for its best is some of the funniest, most daring TV ever. Tonight was Community doing exactly what it does best, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
And because there were so many and they were so funny; Favorite Quotes and Favorite Moments:
- “In 5…4…3…2…-” “VICKIIII!!!!!”
- “Sequels are almost always disappointing.”
- For some reason Dean Pelton is never NOT funny to me. Tonight’s good Dean quotes include (but are not limited to): “Jeffrey! It’s your friend, the Dean. I’m safe!” and “Those guys are ballers, yo. I hope you like getting balled.”
- Leonard would be banned at a Denny’s.
- The Abed/Annie kiss was awesome and beautifully shot.
- “I’m calling dibs on the Han Solo role before Jeff slouches into it by default.”
- “‘POP’ WHAT?!?!?!”
- “Everyone look alive. Leonard, good enough.”
- “You haven’t seen how mean this dean can be…eeenn.”
That’s all I’ve got tonight. What di you think?