15
Oct
2009
Community: Season 1, Episode 5
Advanced Criminology
Jordan
Community already excels at pairing its characters off and exploiting the absurdity of the Community College at its center, and "Advanced Criminology" takes both to the next level of hilarity. This week Senor Chang is threatening to fail his entire Spanish class unless the person who cheated on the last test steps forward, Pierce is arrogantly accepting the challenge of writing the school a theme song, and Abed discovers that he has no conception of how to mess with a friend.

The first conflict is resolved early when Britta steps forward and admits she is the cheater. Jeff, in yet another attempt to win her heart (or at least help her avoid expulsion so he can live to woo another day) jumps in to represent her against a clearly biased tribunal made up of her accuser Senor Chang, Jeff's drinking buddy and psychology professor Dr. Duncan (the always excellent John Oliver), and the hysterically insecure Dean Pelton (Jim Rash, who has been criminally underused before tonight) who really just wants people to think he works at a real university. The best way he can show that is by saying things like "This sure feels like a real college to me" and holding the "tribunal" at a very expensive judges table he purchased for the school's diving team. This leads to several absurd exchanges as the group tries to get through a trial with any level of dignity, while people dive off of a diving board, walk soaking wet through the proceedings, or just skinny dip behind them. The scene is a perfect set piece, filled with hilarious actors exchanging brilliant dialogue with amazing sight gags throughout.

After the excellence of the A-plot, the other two stories could really just rest on its comedic laurels, but both fire on all cylinders. Pierce wants to prove he's a genius, so he agrees to write the school a theme song just like he wrote jingles for his company back in the day. Unfortunately, he forgets to mention to Annie that he stole every one of his jingles from incredibly well known children's song (and his newest idea is to crib from "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"). That Pierce ends up stealing yet another song while thinking he has composed an original masterpiece is just icing on the cake of a solid B-plot.

Abed continues to be endearingly naïve as he discovers he is inept at messing with people. Troy convinces him, in one class period that he is Obama's nephew and related to Danny Glover, so Abed sets out to get Troy back in a series of ill-conceived set ups that are as comically obvious as they are patently ridiculous. The further into its debut season we get, the more assured I am that Community is gearing up to be an excellent comedy for years to come.

Grade: A-

Notes:

-"Are you two an item and if so, is that item impervious to sabotage?"

-"Except you Toby." Senor Chang is very creepy, in all the right ways.

-"Well I may be a genius, but I'm not a lesbian."

-"It's not that easy to get human beings to turn on each other." "Turn on her!" I like that the class already has balled up paper to throw at Britta on command.

-"All dogs are blue now. Every single dog in the world is blue."

-"I'm no more of a songwriter than you or Billy Joel."
Tags: Community
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