2
Oct
2009
Community: Season 1, Episode 3
Introduction to Film
Jordan
This week's Community continues to play with the pairings between the primary cast"”last week we saw Annie and Shirley protest while Jeff and Pierce worked on a project, and this week we watch Abed and Britta with a C-plot from Troy and Pierce. While this episode did not measure up to the incredibly high standards set by last week's, it is promising how many permutations this cast seems to be able to work with. The main plot tonight focused on Britta's decision to pay for Abed to take a film class. Abed's father refuses to pay for any classes that do not directly relate to the running of the falafel business ("9/11 was pretty much the 9/11 of the falafel industry" and since then his father has needed more help) and in fact disowns his son when he discovers Abed is taking a film class. A distraught Abed looks to an unwilling Jeff and an unprepared Britta to fill the hole left by his parents.

Meanwhile, Jeff is taking an accounting class from a professor (played with vigor by John Michael Higgins) who seems to think he's in The Dead Poet's Society and wants every student to seize the day instead of doing homework or having tests (this leads to a hilarious parody when he forces the students to stand on their desks, exclaiming, "All of your life you've been told don't stand on your desk. Why?" Of course this is immediately followed by a desk collapsing and a girl falling to the floor). Jeff, unsurprisingly registers for the class as an easy A, but the professor is onto him and warns that is he doesn't seize the day by the end of the week, he will fail. This leads to a few inspired sight gags, including Jeff in rainbow suspenders and Jeff flying a kite to the amazement of some young girls he bribed to enjoy it (Higgins is not fooled, saying "Sloppy. And considering the age of these girls, unwittingly creepy.").Fortunately by episode's end, Britta kisses Jeff in front of the professor, convincing him that Jeff has seized the day when in fact Britta is simply doing it to even the score between herself and Jeff.

In a C-plot, Troy sneezes like a girl and, tired of being mocked by the group, allows Pierce to teach him how to sneeze in a more commanding fashion. The idea is ridiculous, but the chemistry between the two carries it nicely. The episode ends with a nice character moment as Abed screen his movie for Jeff, Britta and his father. Abed has filmed Jeff and Britta cruelly dismissing him and, superimposing his parents faces over theirs, has made a heartbreaking depiction of parental indifference. Abed believes his father blames him for his parents divorce, but when his father sees the video he is moved to tears and allows Abed to keep studying film. The scene is a surprisingly poignant moment in a series that never forgets it has a heart. Jeff may be a cynic, but everyone around him continuously shows him that a little optimism and faith can go a long way.

Grade: B

Notes:
-Higgins performance was great, and he had some incredible one-liners (more below) but I can't shake the feeling he drove home the show's "cynicism is self defeating" point a little harshly. However, he was so funny I barely cared.

-This episode was directed by Anthony Russo, who used to direct Arrested Development. That's a solid name to have on any show's roster.

-"That's right, I'm a woman with rights, and you can see my whole face!"

-Abed's dad is the principal on Glee!

-"I think you should play the role of my father." "I don't want to be your father." "That's perfect, you already know your lines."

-"I shall have"¦A birthday cake!"

-Pierce trying to eat the pizza was an excellent subtle visual gag.

-I love that Higgins runs off to climb a tree at the end.
Tags: Community
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