Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Community" Recap, Episode 2.4

It's been a while since I've recapped a Community, but I think we can jump right back in.  Actually, I had planned on writing up something for last week's, but after watching it, I was so disappointed I couldn't bring myself to do it.  That whole thing with Pierce's dead mother and the examination of mortality--deepish, maybe, but not funny.  It was actually a good reminder of just how young the show still is, really, and in some ways still finding its rhythm.  But after a very solid season premiere and then a very good second episode (Pop-and-Locktoberfest!  Word, ja?), it was disheartening.

And now, Community goes and does something like this week's episode...and totally redeems itself. 

Last season the show struck absolute gold with a high-concept parody of action movies with the paintball episode that is now part of TV legend.  Everyone was just waiting for the show's creators to head back to that mine this season, and the wait turns out to be only four weeks.  It actually took me a little while to realize that it was an Apollo 13 homage, since at first it seemed like a Dean Pelton-centric storyline with the introduction of rival school City College.  But the slo-mo walk sequence to the launch simulator ("Only twenty more yards," says super-intense Abed) brought it into focus, and then it rolled.  The "simulator" is actually a 30 year-old space attraction from a local museum, sponsored by KFC in a not-subtle-at-all product placement, known as the "Eleven Herbs and Space" mission.

Our intrepid heroes have been assigned cleaning detail on the converted Winnebago as punishment for their anonymous winning entry into the Greendale flag competition (motto:  "E Pluribus Anus").  Without delay, they end up locked in the mobile simulator...just at it is being towed to an unknown location.  The group is immediately confronted by the claustrophobic Pierce going apeshit and arguing with the HAL9000-style computer running the simulation (the acronym is S.A.N.D.E.R.S., but don't ask me to remember what the letters stand for).  Since the only window is sealed, and the 1980's era RV is apparently cell-proof, the team communicates via short-wave radio with Abed, regrettably left behind, Gary Sinise-style.  Luckily, Abed has memorized the entire simulation via the internet, since his father's inherent distrust of fast-food restaurants precluded him from experiencing it in person as a kid.  Abed's expertise and Dean Pelton's curiously annotated map of the area ("Looks like you circled...public restrooms, and truck stops") eventually leads to the team solving the simulation and discovering they've been dumped in the middle of nowhere.  Newly minted villain City College is behind it, with potential transfer Annie's assistance.  She sees how much she truly loves Greendale when the team comes together to get the simulator back in time for the press conference.  Day saved!  Fruit stand destroyed, but day saved!

Not a ton of enormous laughs in this one, unfortunately, but the parody is done with the same reverent touch as the paintball episode--these people love the movies they are lampooning.  I felt redeemed by this one, but I think I'd like to see a nice episode back around the study table, with rapid fire jokes at the expense of Annie's boobs and Pierce's general old manliness.  And for God's sakes turn up the Chang!

Grade:  B-

Quotes and Random Observations:

-"E Pluribus Anus"  I'm truly sorry I don't have a picture of the flag...or I would use that as the lead pic.
-"It was the 80's.  Everybody that made this was on cocaine."
-Abed keeps a full space suit in his dorm room.  Standard orange.
-God, The Biggest Loser is never ending, isn't it?
-"That's an iPOD, and you're listening to Wesley Snipes' audio book."
-So handicapped spots count on Saturdays?
-"Those aren't thumbs."
-"How many schools would let you make a butt flag, and then actually fly it."

1 comment:

  1. As a side note, searching for butt flag community in google images is not recommended...