daniel cohen goes to school …
Plot: When Britta (Gillian Jacobs) gets offended at the upcoming Sadie Hawkins Dance where girls ask guys, she vows to plan her own party in an effort to prove she won’t ‘Britta’ it. Meanwhile, Abed (Danny Pudi) gets excited at doing the classic sitcom trope of taking two dates to the dance.
In watching tonight’s episode of Community, I was finally able to pin-point what the problem has been all season. This season, the writers are going out of their way to give everyone growth. Abed even makes reference to it in this episode. And while the character development has been working more times than not, the show simply isn’t funny anymore. Tonight’s episode had too serious a feel for me. Yeah, Abed is doing classic hijinks, but there was just something about the tone that made it seem not fun anymore. I enjoyed the episode a few weeks back when Jeff (Joel McHale) confronted his father, and I’m fine with stuff like that once in a while, but this episode was overkill.
‘Herstory of Dance’ had character development galore — Jeff, Britta, Pierce (Chevy Chase), but especially Abed. Abed becomes infatuated with a girl while doing a classic sitcom trope. This storyline worked okay, but it didn’t have that Community charm. In the past, they were able to do these deep Abed character moments, but they still did them in hilarious and clever ways. In the second season, ‘Critical Film Studies,’ Abed parodies My Dinner with Andre, and by the end of the episode, Abed learns an important lesson from Jeff and develops…but it was funny. In the third season’s ‘Virtual Systems Analysis,’ Abed goes through a major character arc, but it was done in an imaginary Dreamatorium where Annie even pretended to be Abed. And that’s why Community just isn’t what it used it be. We were being thrust into these emotional character journeys, but in this season, we aren’t laughing … it’s too serious.
I could go on all day about this. Pierce has a true growth moment as well by the end of this episode, but it was boring and just kind of happened. But when you look at Season 2, Pierce goes through a huge realization, but it’s during a game of Dungeons & Dragons, arguably one of the greatest episodes in the history of the show.
The other problem is that when the show tries to be funny, it misses every mark imaginable. I never chuckled once during this entire episode. All the classic Community stuff just feels so damn forced. Even the Dean (Jim Rash) and his crazy costumes come off as awkward. It’s ironic that Troy (Donald Glover) tries to force hijinks throughout the episode, because that’s exactly what the writers have been doing all season. Even with next week’s puppet episode (a classic Community idea) feels forced, and we haven’t even seen it yet. The fact that they had to preview it at the end of tonight’s episode, it’s like the writers are saying, ‘Hey, look how Community this episode is … oh, your going to love it.’ We never needed previews of the video game episode from last year, or the claymation Christmas from Season 2.
The worst jokes tonight were with Chang (Ken Jeong) though. We get it, he’s not a good DJ because he has ‘Changnesia.’ Haha. How many times are you going to make that reference! This was absolutely pathetic writing. Chang is the easiest character to make funny, but this was a complete train wreck.
The way I feel about Community this season is the way I feel about the Godfather Part III. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just no where near the level we’re used to. I didn’t hate tonight’s episode, and because I love these characters so much, I enjoyed watching them grow up. Britta’s will especially put a smile on my face, and it’s hard to shrug your shoulders at the way that story ended. I just wish the show was still funny. Also, where are Annie (Alison Brie) and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown)? I haven’t seen them all season … weird.
Rating: 6 out of 10 (‘meh’)