logan j. fowler is the master of puppets …
I feel it only be fate that I get to review the recent episode of Community; I’ve reviewed most of the puppet related things for Pop-Break or at least mentioned them [Editor’s Note: This is factually correct]. This past Thursday’s episode had the gang opening up to each other using a crutch made entirely out of felt, and “Intro to Felt Surrogacy” split the time between the flesh and blood study group sitting at the table holding up their mini dopplegangers, along with larger versions of the Greendale seven moving around like it was a prime time episode of Sesame Study Street.
When the gang refuses to discuss an event that happened after a hot air balloon ride gone awry, Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) comes to the rescue, draped in a Pinocchio outfit ( which got a chuckle out of me, every time), complete with a elongated nose. Seems the Dean has been busy crafting puppets for the study group, with Jeff’s felt friend being the most ripped and having a questionable accessory. When the gang finally commits to this “talk it out” reveal of the moments leading up to the end game, Community breaks open the wall that hasn’t been really seen since the Harmon era; it fully embraces the pop culture riff on puppets offering us songs, a cheery attitude, and most importantly, the ideals of friendship that would make Jim Henson proud.
This episode wasn’t flawless; the final song spins a tale that has each member of the study group revealing a big secret, and some of them seem too outrageous or just trying too hard (Troy’s especially just seemed so farfetched, even for him) and Chang/Kevin getting a puppet when he wasn’t even a major part of this story seemed out of place. Also, this was Chevy Chase’s final episode, and it seemed that the gang just “left him” in the woods…that’s how he bows out? Seriously? I would’ve liked a bit more of impactful departure for Pierce’s character, something that I think Community would do well, even with this rocky fourth season. Add to the fact that the gang be so irresponsible that they ditched Pierce without remembering…but they weren’t “sober”, so maybe that’s forgivable.
However, the hits are better than the misses; the episode is fun and has moments that real set it aside from the rest of the season, and bias aside, I think it was my favorite one. Let’s be honest, you can’t deny the magic of puppets, and blend that with Community (when it’s on its game), well, you just have to understand that it seems like a match made in heaven. I felt that this episode definitely had something to it, it ultimately felt (no pun intended) like it could stand alongside previous seasons because of the basic Community formula; taking a thread of something that has a standard operating way in pop culture, this being something along the lines of Sesame Street, and completely engaging the audience in its ways without feeling cheap or too over the top. At the end of the day, “Intro to Felt Surrogacy” felt like a true window into the world of Community I think a lot of us are missing, and hopefully they can keep this characteristic strong until we graduate from Greendale.
Rating: 8 whips out of 10.