25
Sep
2009
Community: Season 1, Episode 2
Spanish 101
Jordan
Last week's pilot did a good job at establishing the characters in Community, and gave me plenty of incentive to come back this week. Thank god for that because this week's "Spanish 101" is easily the funniest episode yet in this still young television season (even beating out How I Met Your Mother's premiere for sheer laughs). This week finds the gang paired off to write a Spanish Conversation for their class. Their teacher Senor Chang (the always hilarious Ken Jeong) is hilariously aware of how his heritage might not mix with his chosen profession (though he manages to milk the classes suspected racism for all its worth, suggesting that perhaps he should teach photography or martial arts), and of course Jeff spends the class trying to get Abed to switch cards with him when he discovers that Abed is partnered with his beloved (or be-sort-of-liked) Britta. Abed agrees in exchange for Jeff's shirt, which provides a hilarious sight gag.

Unfortunately, Britta has also switched cards, anticipating Jeff's move and leaving Jeff teamed with Pierce, who has some seriously epic ideas and plans on spending the evening with his good friend Jeff and a bottle of booze (which he calls "Hemingway's lemonade"). Meanwhile, Britta has unwittingly given rise to two new "socially aware" protesters in the form of Shirley and Annie who want to bake brownie's and get out the word about censorship and the murder of Guatemalan journalists (with such idea as a banner that reads "340 Guatemalan Murders!" and a pinata of one of the victims, inspired by the fact that he was beaten to death). This also gave rise to some nice character development for Britta, who realizes she may care deeply about many causes, but she doesn't actually do much to improve them, which may make her an even more perfect match for Jeff, who does a lot of things and manages to care about none of them (case in point, his departure from Pierce's planning session by saying, "The woman that I kind of like is out there in the moonlight caring about something stupid. And I need to show her that I care enough to pretend to care about it too.").

Most of the episodes heart, and a good portion of its hilarity, lies with Pierce, however. He is clearly a man who has spent his whole life selfishly building wealth, only to discover what he really wants is a family. He hopes to ingratiate himself with Jeff to gain acceptance among the rest of the group, but his epic Spanish idea only results in him alienating Jeff and (in a funny turn) setting himself on fire in the middle of the protest. However, when push comes to shove, Jeff is willing to take one for the team and stand up next to Pierce to deliver their patently ridiculous presentation. Seen in montage while Aimee Mann's "Wise up" plays, their presentation is one of the most uproarious scenes in recent memory, involving mini sombrero's, flag waving, robots, afro wigs, and sparklers. Sure they fail the assignment, but Jeff has proven that he can on occasion be selfless and Pierce has found a way into the group. Plus, as Abed, our resident meta commentator points out, "Its conflicts like these that will help us to form an unlikely family."


Grade: A-

Notes:

-"What we have so far. Well, we have something incredibly long and very confusing and a little homophobic and really, really specifically, surprisingly and gratuitously critical of Israel. It's called "˜Two Conquistadors.' It should probably be "˜Dos', I mean, it is a Spanish class."

-Jeff's entrance at the opening was a great meta joke on the beloved character entrance.

-I like that Abed comments on everything in a very meta sense, but I wonder if it will get old. For now, lines like "Its moments like this that make me feel like we're on TV, but then someone always comes along and says "˜they would never say that on TV and the moment is ruined" still make me laugh.

-"You're bailing on our first sausage fest?" I think Pierce's ignorance can be mined for years to come, on the other hand.

-Ken Jeong was Fantastic. "My knowledge will bite her face off!"

-"Defy oppression. Have a brownie."

-Jeff's attempts to make unrelated cards relevant, including, "If you think of grandsons as metaphors for friendship, I think you'll agree with this transformer here that its time for ours to become a man. By reading the Torah."

-"We can have a candlelight vigil like those lesbians on the news!"

-Though I didn't find this relevant to the review, I think the show needs to expand beyond a romance between Britta and Jeff, as this is a pretty predictable will they won't they that is below the show's ever growing potential.
Tags: Community
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