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Community – Competitive Ecology

Although Community’s
narrative continues to be slightly broken by its irreverent moments,
those moments remain the saving grace of the show, as showcased in
this pretty damn hysterical episode.

What makes a comedy
show’s episode a success? For most genres, the success or failure of an episode is determined by criteria such as plot, acting and directing. But in
comedy, these things don’t matter nearly as much. Isn’t the success
of a comedy measured foremost in the amount of times it makes the
audience laugh? True, the quality of humor is perhaps even more
subjective than the quality of a plot, but it’s hard to deny that
Community continues to be very funny at most levels.

Queue
a scene with Professor Kane talking about how Lego has
changed since he went to prison, with a subtly sad tune building as
he bemoans how complicated
Lego Harry Potter
is.

When did legos become so complicated? 

But what about the
show’s story? Community has often been hailed as the “new Scrubs”,
in that its humor is often quite similar, and its dialog is equally
snappy and quick. But Scrubs wasn’t just about the laughs; it
was about life, from the good to the bad, and it had a lot of heart
to go with those laughs. Community is lacking that heart. It could
definitely capitalize on adding in some more serious stories which
tackle social issues in a heartfelt way, and would benefit from it.
Some comedies manage to be funniest when they mix in the emotional
and meaningful with the
silly, and come out funnier because of it.

However,
while Community’s irreverent and completely unexpected moments
disjoint the flow of the plot, the show remains brilliantly unique
because of it, and is more consistently laugh-out-loud funny than
most of the comedies I can think of. The show has a slightly “and
now for something completely different” feel to it, with its
Pythonesque mish-mash of weirdness mixed in with clever satire and
sharp, witty dialogue. This episode was the best example of this.

“My
own words rang in my head … like a bell inside a head!” Chang
was the star this week, by a million miles. While his plot might have
been a little too ridiculous for some, to those people I would
ask, “What the hell were you expecting? This is
Community!
Seriously, what show have you
been watching for the past two years? Because if you’re scared by a
little bit of weirdness, you should go back to sitcoms.”

Why does this guy keep staring at me? 

I’m
not sure what kind of person
doesn’t laugh
at Ken Jeong spiraling into madness and paranoia, complete with
talking to himself while noire-style music plays, and lines like “Let
it go … like a lobster claw letting go of a small balloon… for
lobsters.” Or the random, pointed exclamation of “Stapler!”
right smack in the middle of a detective inner-monologue, with an
insane cut away to a shot of a stapler. I was caught somewhere
between “doubleya-tee-eff” and “ell-em-eff-ay-oh!” Community is, without a doubt, the most insane show on
the air right now, and there was much more of this insanity. Chang’s
expressions were priceless as he stared off into a mirror, with his
voice echoing in his head, and … “Why does this guy keep
staring at me?” Random, guys. Just random! But oh so funny.

These
priceless scenes of crazy were offset by the seriousness of
Greendale’s head of security, whose deadpan, exasperated expression
was equally genius, as was the actor’s delivery of “Very much
so. Yes,” in response to Chang’s accusation that he’d like him to
take some time off. I hope this character returns.

So
let’s talk about those
other characters
for a while. You know, those main ones.

As the episode began, the
main plot was less than brilliant, but had some very funny
moments, particularly those involving Todd, the random nice-guy who
got constantly picked on by the entire group for just being there.
The lines were so fast that I’m certain I missed more than a few
jokes in there, but overall it was very amusing once the group
started to get annoyed at not being picked first on each other’s
popularity lists. Jeff, in particular, was very funny, as the
agitated frustration returned when he wasn’t picked as number one most
popular, and got stuck with Todd, who’s only redeeming quality was,
apparently, that he came with his own turtle.

Sad Todd,  

The
whole episode can be summed up with a line from Todd, where he loses
his temper and rants at the group for being terrible friends: “YOUR
LOVE IS WEEEIRD!”

It
was oddly satisfying to watch the characters discover that they
were not as popular as they thought they were (particularly Jeff, who,
let’s face it, isn’t a nice guy). But it got me thinking… who
would I most like to work with on a science project, if I had to pick
from the “mean clique”?

7)
Jeff – Come on, the guy is a jerk. Plus, I couldn’t hang out with somebody better looking than me.
6)
Shirley – “Comprehensive” collection of baby snapshots? Run for
the hills!
5)
Pierce – Even racist and crabby is better than Jeff or Shirley!
4)
Troy – I would hang out with Troy, but I’d be thinking of Abed.
3)
Annie – Okay, so I admit it, I have the hots for Annie.
2)
Abed – Who
doesn’t want
to watch
Kick Puncher
with Abed?
1)
Britta – I can’t help but love Britta, she’s equally funny and
interesting.

What
about yours? Who is your favorite character from the study group?
Who would you like to hang out with?

Rating
8.7

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