Community: Season 1, Episode 16
Communication Studies
Ah, the obligatory Valentine's Day episode. As Sam discussed in his review of Modern Family (and triumphant return to the blog!) this is the sort of episode that all TV shows must attempt at least once, and there are only a limited number of plotlines that can be used. More likely than not someone hates Valentine's day, someone is sad that they are alone, and someone almost, but not quite screws up their fledgling relationship, only to save it in some romantic way by the episode's conclusion. This is pretty much the formula that "Communication Studies" adopts, but it does so with a lot less of the metatextualism and self-referentiality that generally makes their coopting of sitcom tropes one of the more enjoyable things to watch currently.

The A-plot focuses on another sitcom cliche, a slight riff on the "one character sees another naked" plotline that involves restoring the balance to a friendship. Britta drunk calls Jeff in a pretty obvious admission that she has a thing for him, and to avoid embarassment, Jeff must return the favor. He thinks he is great at playing drunk, but Abed proves quickly that Jeff's performance is subpar, so the two decide to get drunk together, resorting in another one of the show's excellent run of montages. They wake up with only fleeting memories of the night before (TV characters black out like its nobody's business) and discover that Jeff not only called Britta, but also his current girlfriend Michelle. Also, Abed has lost his ability to make pop culture references due to his hangover, and humorously tells Jeff, "You broke me."

The other plotline is a vague non-starter, as Pierce and Troy bring on the wrath of Senor Chang and are forced to wear pantsuits to the Valentine's Day dance as retribution. It does provide for the cute moment where the boys realize that their predicament was caused by Shirley and Annie, but further intuit that this means they do have women who care about them, but for the most part this seemed like a flimsy excuse to get Pierce and Troy to dress in drag and dance with Chang. It didn't really work, but it was a harmless sort of failure and there were enough laughs to make it passable.

This episode was filled with all sorts of nice Jeff and Britta moments, which is great for those who love the idea of those two coupling, but as a fervent (and often re-affirmed) fan of a Jeff-Annie pairing, I was left disappointed by this evening. I know that sitcom law dictates that Jeff and Britta end up together, as she was the first person the show set him up to be with, but deep down in my heart of hearts (this is a Valentine's Day review after all) I hope that this show is better than that, and will surprise me by allowing these characters to grow out of their standard assigned pairings and into a more organic group unit...that would allow Jeff and Annie to bang. Call me a romantic, but I think this show might just prove to be that good.

Grade: B


-The Greendale Human Being is still terrifying and hilarious.

-"Oh it has arrows! That's safe."

-Can I get you anything? Water? Pills? An alibi for Cobain's suicide?"

-"You have to tip the balance like in that sitcom trope where one character sees another naked."

-"This kid's going to be a star. He's a young the asian guy from Lost."

-"She's passionate, which I find entertaining."

-"I feel like that person in that TV show."

-"Movie reference."

-"Chubby hubby? Could you pick a scarier flavor?"

-"We were the ones that sent the letter to Chang!" "You work at Princeton?"

-Jeff left a 40 minute message.
Tags: Community
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