Thursday, September 23, 2010

Community Recap, Episode 2.1 "Anthropology 101"

Yay!  Community’s back!  I’m not going to try and be objective and journalism-y here--why the hell would I?  It’s my blog…it’s not like I have an editor to please.  In my opinion this show was the best new comedy last year, narrowly edging out Modern Family, and soundly beating most everything else that debuted in the sitcom genre.  Tonight’s premiere was, well, a premiere.  Season premieres are often dragged a bit by exposition and general refreshening exercises to bring us all back up to speed (see there?  I just made up a word, and nobody’s telling me I can’t…), and the episode’s impact on the whole sometimes suffers for it.  Anyway, this should go without saying, but if you haven’t yet seen the episode, SPOILERS FOLLOW.  Consider yourself warned.
 The episode opens with the gang eagerly returning to Greendale for the “fresh start” of the fall semester.  Eagerly except for Brita, who is still feeling awkward after the whole professing-her-love-for-Jeff thing in front of the entire student body in the season one finale.  She soon realizes that the barely-disguised whispers she’s noticing from most of the girls on campus are actually idol-worship of her for “being fearless” and “speaking from the heart,” a fame she quickly learns to enjoy. 
Jeff is dealing with his own fallout from the sordid affair, including the parking lot kiss he shared with Annie, an act that, if made public, would result in his being “tarred, feathered, and put on one of those websites you check when you’re buying a house.”  Which I don’t really get…Annie’s like 19, right?  It’s creepy, but legal.  But, yeah, creepy.  That’s exactly the word I used for it when we saw the kiss last year.
But let’s be honest, none of us really care about the romantic connections in this show.  No, we watch this show specifically to see Betty White shoot a blow dart into the middle of Starburns’ cheek.  The supporting cast, if they can even be called that in such an ensemble show, is always the source of the most gleeful laughs.  So we revel in the Twitter feed Troy has begun writing, “Old White Man Says” (example:  “we’re like Batman and Shaft!”).  Abed explores many different ways to improve their stories using all the most popular sitcom tropes to move away from the soapy-realationshippy stuff.  He even asks Shirley to spin off with him (“Abed, is this you being meta?”).  And of course, the guest star of the week, Betty White, as the new Anthropology professor.  Respect is why you fail.  I will say nothing more about that.
The episode had the usual issues of having to condense 3 months of character time down to 22 minutes, and still manage to form a decent story arc and set a course for the rest of the season.  It succeeded in those goals (the Chang-as-Gollum scene at the end may be a clue), but still didn’t seem to have the rapid-fire timing I’ve come to expect from the cast.  Still getting their feet, though, so they get the benefit of the doubt.  Here’s to avoiding the sophomore slump!
Quotes and Random Observations:
  • You will also have to make a diorama”
  • Dirt-roaded…Chang’s uuusing iiiiiit…
  • Starburns has grown reliant on his star-shaped sideburns, so he’s added a top hat
  • “Is there any room in this pocket for a little spare Chang?”
  • “But fair warning, it’s my penis”
  • The epilogue, usually a favorite point in any episode, featured a Troy-Abed-Betty White rendition  of Toto’s “Africa” that frankly gave me goosebumps.
Grade:  B-

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