Study Group: Community, Season Premiere

lauren stern cracks open her books for a new school year…

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Pop-Break’s Study Group is a weekly review series of Community that will feature rotating reviews from Lauren Stern, Daniel Cohen and Logan J. Fowler.

I must admit, hours before Community premiered tonight on NBC, I was reading through reviews and semi-spoilers that were popping up my Twitter feed. I know that’s probably the lamest thing to do as a fan – but I can’t help it. I follow a lot of great writers that are fortunate enough to get an advanced copy of this episode and I can’t control my urge to click on their articles when I see them. In this instance, I really don’t regret doing this because (thankfully) nothing really important was given away to me. The only thing I got out of the very few reviews that I read was the notion that Season 4 is off to a very different start and many viewers tonight may not like the tone or the direction of the episode.

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Now, I know it’s been over six months, since I’ve seen a Community episode but I just don’t see what these writers and even now some of my friends are saying. Sure the episode wasn’t as fantastic as some of the more classic episodes (See: “Claymation Christmas,” “Modern Warefare,” “Dungeons and Dragons,” etc) but it wasn’t at all terrible. It wasn’t an overwhelmingly great start, but I didn’t feel like something was missing or that it was too conventional.

So, since I did enjoy this episode, let’s look at some of the highlights…

The Hunger Deans
Yes, this was supposed to be a play on Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games but was I the only one who didn’t see the connection? I mean granted, they aren’t going to start killing each other off, but the gang fighting for a class in the most obscure way is a typical day at Greendale. I felt like making it a Hunger Games-esque battle was supposed to set it apart from the fights from previous seasons and the writers failed to incorporate the reference. I felt like there was supposed to be a “Haha Oh my god, this is so the Hunger Games” moment and it totally wasn’t there. This is one of the few moments in the premiere that I thought fell short.

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ABED TV
I really love when Abed goes into an alternate universe because it reminds me so much of the sixth season of LOST and LOST is so Abed, so it’s perfect. Minus the annoying laugh tracks, I dug the fact that Abed got caught up in his happy place. Even more so, I’m glad Britta was the one who put him there because she’s the only one who is supposed to. Yes, there may be new writers, but there are some things in this show you just cannot change EVER.

Troy and Britta
A lot of reviews I read were disappointed that the episode had some development in Troy and Britta’s relationship but I think that’s severely over-reacting. Just because there was rarely emotional development present in Community before, doesn’t mean that aspect should be absent forever. Plus wasn’t everyone routing for Troy and Britta since the moment they started batting eyelashes at each other? Or was that just me?

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The Dean and Jeff’s Dance Off/ “Room Mates”
I could not stop laughing during the dance scene between Jeff and the Dean. Yes, they’ve had awkward moments like this in the past, but I think this really topped all of them. I mean – as soon as the Dean ripped off his red dress to show his green “tango dress” it became my favorite scene tonight. It also makes me admire Jim Rash (who plays the Dean) even more for being able to pull his character off. He never fails to do an an amazing job each and every time.

The idea of the Dean and Jeff living next to each other was brilliant too. That’s something I really didn’t ever expect to happen and I’m so excited to see how that works out. It’s also going to be interesting to see it in action compared to Jeff’s previous roommate, Chang. I wonder, which one is going to be the least favorable living situation?

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Greendale Babies & Jeff’s Speech
I had a feeling that Abed was going to go into his “happy place” tonight but I didn’t expect him to go into his happy place in his happy place. I feel like if there were any “edge” in this episode it would have been the Greendale Babies alternate universe. It was just too unexpected and it totally threw me off in the best way possible.

Also, I loved how something so typical-Community as a speech from Jeff was used in all of the different realities. If there was anything we learned from LOST is that there has to be something that brings everyone together. Jeff’s speech is essentially Desmond.

Changnesia
If there is one thing I’m excited for this season on Community, it’s the revitalization of Chang. So much so that I’m pretty sure (and correct me if I’m wrong) there was no one on this planet screaming like an idiot the moment Ken Jeong popped up on screen. Him naked handing that note to the postman couldn’t have been a more perfect scene. This may be my obsession with Chang/Jeong talking, but this is the one plot line I’m anticipating – and even more now that we’ve gotten a small glimpse of it.

I really hope that all Community fans that were upset with this premiere give the rest of the season a chance. Who knows, it may surprise you!

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