Watch it Again: Community – Season 1, Episodes 3 and 4

20 Jul

A while I ago, I began a campaign of re-watching the first season of Community.  Episodes 3 and 4 of season 1 capsuled and commended on below.

Season 1, Episode 3:  Introduction to Film

Community as the Jeff and Britta show continues, now with some Abed.  The A story is about Abed taking a film class which Britta paid for, in opposition to his dad, who wants him to stay in the family falafel business.  Jeff counsels against Britta getting involved, and the two fight over the benefits of getting involved vs. staying out of it for the entire episode, often while being filmed by Abed, and getting into a fight with Abed’s dad.  Britta and Jeff take on a mom and dad role relative to Abed, and eventually Abed’s film moves his dad to understand.  We get a little bit more of Abed’s inability to relate with people, and his use of film as a medium to help him.  The B story involves Jeff taking a class, which he thinks is the ultimate blow-off class, taught by John Michael Higgins (lawyer from Arrested Development, Christopher Guest movie regular, saying “Owner of a Lonely Heart” a capella in those vaguely memorable commercials for The Break Up) whose only criteria for an A is “seizing the day.”  Jeff desperately tries to manufacture a day seized, failing to fool the professor until he kisses Britta, thinking she was into him, but she was only trying to help him ace the project.  The tiny C story involves Pierce trying to teach Troy how to sneeze manly, and converting Troy’s baby sneeze into a far more imposing sneeze (that is way too many times to use sneeze in a sentence).

The C story actually gets the best bang for the buck; Chevy Chase is at his finest when he’s demonstrated the different sneezes in his arsenal.  John Michael Higgins shows of his impulsiveness a couple of times, and he’s used just enough so that he’s not overused; the best scene is the episode may be when he chastises Jeff for ordering an ordinary coffee, and then tears up the coffee menu and asks for a birthday cake.

Rating 7.0 – it’s a good episode, but it’s not a great episode.

Season 1, Episode 4: Social Psychology

The episode starts with a relatively pointless encounter between Chang and Annie.  I’ve never liked Chang.  He’s always been my least favorite part of the show, primarily because Ken Jeong shows absolutely no restraint.  He’s more over the top than any character, ruthlessly so, with the possible exception of the Dean, but, well, the Dean is generally funnier and doesn’t get as big parts.

The A plot of this episode involves Shirley and Jeff learning the only thing they have in common is a love of gossip – Jeff can now stop timing his exit from one class to avoid having to awkwardly walk with Shirley to the next.  Their favorite gossip topic is Britta’s new boyfriend, hackey-sack loving hippie, Vaughn.  Vaughn is a ridiculous stereotype of course, but he gets some choice lines, such as “What makes Frisbee ultimate?  If I had a nickel for every time I wish someone asked me that”  Britta, learning to be friends with Jeff, trusts him with too much information, particularly considering he still has feelings for her.  Although he tries to be a good friend, when Britta shows him the awful poem Vaughn wrote for her, he cracks, and shows it to Shirley, who, incorrigible gossip that she is, shows it to the group.  Of course Vaughn catches them laughing about, and dumps Britta, making her not too pleased with Jeff.

The B plot involves Annie joining Professor Duncan, who is back, in order to help prove his “Duncan Principle,” which is that left waiting for something, in this case, a fake experiment, over time, even the calmest person will erupt in a fit of insane anger.  Annie recruits Abed and Troy to be test subjects for the Duncan principle, however, Abed ruins the principle altogether by sitting calmly in the room for hours upon hours, even when everyone else has broken, forcing Duncan to give up, and Annie to be mad at Abed.

The little C-plot involves Pierce’s use of ear-noculars, which are the equivalent of binoculars for your ears (kind of the same purpose as that awesome directional microphone in Metal Gear Solid, but a lot more dopey looking).  It’s small, but pretty funny.

Worth noting is that Matt L. Jones, better known as Badger from Breaking Bad shows up for just a second as a stoner-y friend of Vaughn’s.  Also, Abed makes an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull reference which probably was current at the time.

All right, I feel bad that these episode ratings keep going down, and I know they’ll be going up at least a couple times later in the season, but I guess that’s just the opening pattern.  Remember, all the ratings are simply relative to the first one, which I didn’t want to rate too high (I still rated it fairly high) lest I leave no room for improvement (not to mention, the farther I go in the season, the more ticky-tacky the ratings will naturally get).  There’s plenty of funny parts – John Oliver in particular – but it’s not top level.

Rating:  7.2 – I still don’t understand why John Oliver couldn’t have been shepherded into more episodes instead of Chang – one of Oliver’s best lines, out of context, was “Youre an eight, which si a British 10 – I’m angry.”

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