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Tuesday, 2 of March of 2021

Tag » Community

Community – “Remedial Chaos Theory”

This is the darkest, most terrible timeline.

Community Title CardI feel like I’ve written this review before, as my immediate thought was to discuss, once again, how the show can deploy genre homages/high concept episodes and do them well: a strong character core is needed for the episode to work, otherwise, while it can be entertaining, it just becomes some postmodern pastiche. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but when you have a group of characters such as these, and when you tell stories about how their actions impact one another, homages without the core result in hollowness.

“Remedial Chaos Theory”, like “Modern Warfare” in season 1, gets this. I think the show dodged this to some extent through season 2, resulting in probably why I wasn’t as in love with as much as others. But not only does “Remedial Chaos Theory” understand the need for those characters beats, but its character-driven nature of the episode (or, rather, its “character-less”-driven nature) actually blends the kooky ambition strength of “Modern Warfare” with the emotional elegance of “Mixology Certification” and the result is one of the show’s best episodes so far. Read more »

Community – “Competitive Ecology”

Your love is weird and toxic and it destroys everything it touches!

Community Title CardThis episode isn’t going to help folks who feel that Community needs to move beyond exploring what it means for these seven people to be a group, family, whatever they are.

I haven’t had a problem with this so far. Being funny gets you a long way, and if you’re not grooving on the plot of an episode, you can at least enjoy the episode’s jokes and humor (2001 references, parallel Earths in an absurd model U.N.-off). But even without humor, I think that the group exploring what they are to each other and as a whole, after the events of last season, is valuable.

But it needs to be better than this, fresher and more illuminating.  Read more »

Community – “Geography Of Global Conflict”

How progressive of you to have a multi-cultural evil twin.”

Community Title Card“Geography Of Global Conflict” is a fun, enjoyable episodes that I doubt many folks will remember on down the line, except for me since it serves up a delicious dish of Greendale insanity that I have been missing. Model UN-off! Britta being the worst! Chang abusing his power! Twinning! It was all very season 1-esque, and I really appreciate that.

That said, the episode is a little too busy to give itself the time to do some stronger character work that it’s interested in doing (particularly with Jeff and Annie). And it’s not even really that interested in doing it though, either, since much of it, like Jeff’s beats last week, are focused on relatively familiar ground. Read more »

Community – “Biology 101”

Hey, Sean Penn called. He said to dial it back.

Community Title CardBusy, busy, busy.

“Biology 101” is something of a reset button as the show attempts to, in fact dial itself back from the larger, more parody/homage/theme-based episodes. I’m personally okay with this as their more high-concept episodes last season were beginning to distract or were struggling to feel consequential, both at their time of airing or in hindsight. The study group got lost a little bit, as did Greendale as an environment (Did anyone really care about anthropology, or any of their other classes?!).

So I, for one, welcome a return to a more season 1 structure. And I’m glad they went ahead and got that musical number out of the way.  Read more »

Podcast 14: “FOX Hurts Nick’s Feelings”

“I bet that was the first time Human Target has ever trended on Twitter … those seven people were really upset about it.”

Where’s podcast 13, you ask? Well, think of it like how buildings don’t have thirteenth floors because it’s bad luck. That should distract you from the real reason: Nick got lazy and didn’t cut the last recording. When the Monsters of Television album drops, I’ll make Podcast 13 (and all the others resigned to a similar fate) the secret track for you.

Another secret track on that album? Some of the stuff that was left on the cutting room floor for this podcast. So much to talk about and so little time to do it in. FOX hacked its schedule to shreds this week, canceling just about everything, even putting House on notice for a final season. We stare down the barrel of the upfronts and tell you about what we’ll miss, what we’re looking forward to, and what we’re already cringing about. We also talk a lot of television from the past week, mostly the usual suspects. So go ahead and indulge yourself with this week’s podcast. Learn something. And try to forget about ol’ scary number thirteen.

Running time: 72 minutes

  • FOX Bloodbath
    • Chicago Code: 0:00:22
    • Breaking In:0:04:33
  • Chuck: 0:10:02
  • Wonder Woman: 0:11:42
  • Charlie’s Angels: 0:12:58
  • FOX Bloodbath – Sepinwall Post: 0:15:24
  • NBC PIckups: 0:17:32
  • Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea: 0:18:19
  • Ashton Kutcher and Two and a Half Men: 0:19:15
  • S#*! My Dad Says Cancelled: 0:22:10
  • ABC Pickups: 0:22:28
  • Damon Wayans, Jr and Happy Endings: 0:26:11
  • CW Renewals: 0:27:49
  • Smallville: 0:28:15
  • Ringer: 0:31:06
  • Gossip Girl: 0:33:25
  • Game of Thrones: 0:40:20
  • The Office: 0:53:40
  • Community: 0:55:41
  • This Week’s Finales: 1:08:10

Community – “A Fist Full of Paintballs” & “For a Few Paintballs More”

Ah! My study group! How long has it been?

I’m done with whatever you call this.

Troy as the King of Clubs

Look how happy he is!

Oh, where to start? How to start?

First: I do wish I had done an individual review of “A Fist Full of Paintballs.” The two episodes are different enough that they practically stand alone, if only because “For a Few Paintballs More” drops the full on Western theme for something a little more rote, and in line with “Modern Warfare” (despite the Star Wars call to arms, the episode never approached the space western all that seriously beyond Abed being Han Solo (and being awesome at it)).

Second: The conclusion to the “Pierce is a jerk” arc is actually satisfying, and largely earned. I do kind of wonder how long the show will commit to the dynamics change they’ve put on  for season 3, or if they’ll even commit at all.

Third: Despite quibbles, both episodes are pretty fun, aren’t they?

Read more »

Community – “Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts”

We all came so close to having one class that wasn’t about them.

I kind of stopped writing about Community this season, after “Advance Dungeons & Dragons.” Part of this was a time constraint that developed on Thursday nights and into Fridays, and the other part was that I found myself with very little to say after each episode. Having this time to take a step back was useful in the long run as I’m finding myself a teensy bit frustrated with the program.

It became crystallized for me last week during the clip show episode. I enjoyed the episode, and laughed at large portions of it, but was left a little cold by it. Two things generally brought this about for me: the reveal and quick disavowal of the Jeff and Britta hook-ups and then the acknowledgement by the characters that Jeff’s speeches, while well-written and delivered, don’t have any point since the group is never going to break up.

What both of these examples point is the show’s unwillingness to create stakes for the characters. It’s been a problem for much of the season, as the potential of Chang going to jail or Troy’s lying about being abused or Pierce’s general arc this season have all be woefully side-stepped quickly, despite the potential for something darkly dramatic to come from each of these plots.

By ‘dramatic’ I don’t mean the high drama of tragedy or the melodramatic turns of a regular TV drama, but I mean having the characters push themselves, for beats to have a meaning both within the episode and, in some cases, beyond that. The reveal of Britta and Jeff having naked sexy fun times all season means nothing since the two decide to dispense with it so quickly. It’s not even a return to the status quo since the status quo never really changed.

All of this leads us to Shirley’s stakes this season, which started with the zombie episode and have continued to influence events around the series, but have never, to me, really made Shirley the focus of these struggles. And that this is her child presents a  real is a problem.

Read more »

Podcast 12 – “Nick Hates Love”

“Because I will Tritter tangent forever.”

After a brief hiatus (has it been two months already?), we have a brand new podcast. We talk about all kinds of stuff like the NBC Thursday Night lineup (natch), our varied interest in Game of Thrones, the return of Thirteen to House (and why she’s important even if people hate her character), and all veritable sundry of other items. It’s really pretty good. You should get on that. Also, notice how Nick hates it when anyone gets together on a show. Does he hate love? Is he a robot? Who are we to say? It’s half the fun. Enjoy our sing-song voices.

Community – “Competitive Wine Tasting”

I am not a fan. I am not a groupie. I am an academic.

I haven’t been writing much about Community lately, largely due to time constraints on my end. It’s been a little bit frustrating, but it is what it is. So I return, hopefully, for the rest of the season to keep writing about a show that I really really enjoy, even if it doesn’t always really work. Like tonight.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with “Competitive Wine Tasting” but the episode is kind of a mishmash of ideas and plots, each of which really needed room to breathe beyond their few scenes each. As a result, you can see potential for each plot kind of peek out, but since they’re just piled on top of each other, the potential is never realized, and we’re left with that, really, would’ve felt more at home in the early going of season 1 (before “Introduction to Statistics” or “Comparative Religion”).

Read more »

Podcast 11: The Sports Episode

“You’re an OG Hater.”

Mark it down, folks. 3/4 of the Monsters of Television (sorry, Matt) kick off a podcast with sports. This week saw the most watched television broadcast of all time, Super Bowl XLV. Nick muses about his (World Champion) Green Bay Packers and they all discuss pre-game, half-time, and post-game Glee, as well as a number of other shows from this week, including Being Human and the pilot for Chicago Code. Check it out. And while you listen to that, I’m going to check out Sarah Walker bellydancing again.

Also, in case you’ve never seen the Cosby Show clip Noel references during the Community segment, you really should check it out.

Topic: Place in the podcast

Running time: 71 minutes

  • Super Bowl XLV 0:00:51
  • Glee: 0:19:10
  • Chuck: 0:29:35
  • The Office: 0:33:58
  • Community: 0:40:16
  • The Good Wife: 0:49:39
  • Being Human: 0:58:28
  • Chicago Code: 1:03:02