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Friday, 23 of April of 2021

Community – “Contemporary American Poultry”

“If God were edible, not that I’m Catholic, but if it were cool to eat God, He’d be a chicken finger.”

I really don’t like Goodfellas. Yes, that’s right. I don’t like Goodfellas. I know this amounts to sacrilege for a large number of people, so I apologize in advance for not swooning over Community‘s extended homage to what many consider the greatest gangster movie ever made (for the record, I don’t really like the gangster genre overall).

However, unlike How I Met Your Mother‘s painfully exclusionary baseball episode, Community provides an episode that can work without knowledge of the film that they’re relying on to frame the episode. The reason for this is that Community has established a universe where something like this feels organic and fun. And that’s precisely what this episode is: fun. (I doubt that the chicken fingers were organic.)

The episode is the first in a while that exploited the chemistry of the ensemble working together. By extension, it allows everyone to have small moments, like Annie doing the robot with her nifty new backpack, Pierce to coin a new (Dan Harmon owned) phrase, and Troy to name a monkey Annie’s Boobs (those jokes wrote themselves). Even though they get all these moments, the cast still is given the chance to shine as a collective. Their desperate plea to Jeff to dethrone Abed coupled with the brilliant, overlapping discussion of writing “You were right” on a mirror being wrong somehow put the show over the top.

Indeed, “over the top” is a phrase that could be used to describe Community in general. That the episode became increasingly absurd isn’t a meant as a criticism: the show excels at bringing their jokes to the absurdly logical conclusion and then grounding them in a moral or a character beat (as I’ve discussed before) is a way to soften the meta-irony the show so love to engage. As a result, Jeff and Abed’s discussion at the end of the episode both ties everything together and offers some potential character development.

And it’s that that idea that I’ll close with. Community, over the summer break, may want to decide exactly what kind of show it wants to be. These pokes at character development are nice but need to have a little bit of follow through (have they revisited Britta’s reawakened feelings since “Interpretive Dance?”) if they want to keep doing them. I don’t think that it’s necessary for them to do that because the show is incredibly funny and sentimental without maintaining character arcs. However, if they keep nudging toward development, they need to nudge a bit harder. I don’t expect it this season, but I would like to see them come down one way or the other when they come back in the fall.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • Apologies for the brief thoughts, but I have a fair amount of stuff to catch up on and write about.
  • While the newspaper headline (“”STAR-GATE! HEADLINE IN REFERENCE TO WATERGATE, NOT THE 1994 FILM”) was amazing, my favorite line was linked to my beloved Law & Order: “You got caught with a fake Bachelor’s degree. By the way, they started using that as a seasonal arc on Law & Order. Total rip-off.” Priceless.

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