Episode 9: Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design

In this episode, Dean Pelton accuses Jeff of making up a fake class called Conspiracy Theories just to get a free credit taken by Professor Professorson. But for some reason a man who Jeff has never seen before claims to be Professor Professorson. Who is this Professor Professorson and why is he claiming to be Jeff’s teacher? Is it a grand conspiracy? In the “B” line plot Troy and Abed try to make the biggest fort ever!

Although not the funniest episode I’ve seen this season, it was still great. One of the things I love about this show is that although its plot lines are pretty bizarre, they are consistently bizarre and always work with the characters. For instance, Jeff didn’t care that a strange man who he never met corroborated his story of taking a night class called Conspiracy Theories, as long as he received a free credit. Annie on the other hand, wanted to get to the bottom of the mystery. And Troy and Abed building a fort town complete with ethnic sections is hilarious. However, there was one scene in which Annie starts to roll around on the floor in the middle of the hallway exclaiming all the things she would “blow off”. It doesn’t seem to me that the prim and proper Annie would ever roll around on the floor to be dramatic.

I got a little bit confused when everybody was “fake firing” at each other to teach the others a lesson.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

First, Annie shoots Professor Professorson/Professor Wooley/Professor Garrity. Then Dean Pelton shoots Annie. Then Jeff shoots Dean Pelton. Annie shoots Jeff. Police officer shoots Professor Professorson/Professor Wooley/Professor Garrity.

Watch this video. It may make this a little less confusing. (Ignore the Imogen Heap music, that is not in the episode.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxI3KHLDrp0

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Episode 8: COOPERATIVE CALLIGRAPHY

There’s nobody more obsessed with television and movies than Abed. (The following sentence was stolen by Wikipedia because I couldn’t figure out how to say it in my own words.) Throughout both seasons he “seems to glean certain insights on life by comparing his life to various television shows and movies. This talent translates into him usually meta referencing  their lives in relation to the show, by commenting on the dynamic of the characters together, their story lines, and can sometimes predict exactly what they will do at a given time.” This specific episode is one example Abed’s talent.

The plot is quite simple in this episode. The study gang is in the study finishing up an anthropology project. As everybody is beginning to leave, Annie complains that somebody took or stole her pen. The group tell her she’s being ridiculous and that it’s just a pen, but then Annie “freaks out”, claiming it’s not just a pen, it’s a principle. This was her 8th pen that she brought to school and somebody never returned to her.  She’s convinced that somebody in the group has it. Now the whole gang is offended and all want to know who took her pen. Jeff takes charge and decides that they’re not leaving the room until they find the pen.

Exactly what does this plot have to do with Abed and his “gift”?  During the very beginning of the episode he says, “Are we going to the puppy parade or not? Cuz it’s starting to feel like a bottle episode.” What exactly is a bottle episode? I wasn’t sure myself until I looked it up. Once again, I looked to the trusty Wikipedia. “The term bottle episode or bottleneck episode is used in episodic television to refer to episodes which are produced using the least money. The majority of a television series’ budget generally goes into producing episodes meant to pique audience interest, such as season openers and closers; bottle episodes are produced using whatever money is left over. Most bottle episodes are shot on sets already built for other episodes, frequently the main interior sets for a series, and they consist largely of dialogue or scenes for which no special preparations are needed.”

The whole entire episode is shot in the study room. Two more comments reinforce the fact that this is indeed a bottle episode. Abed goes on to clarify “It’s a bottle episode.” Act one ends with Jeff calling up his date and exclaiming, “Tell your disappointment to suck it. I’m doing a bottle episode!”.

Although this was a “bottle episode”, I still enjoyed it. I thought it was unique, and the fact that the characters in the show are meta referencing make it more hilarious!

Meta Reference: a situation in a work of fiction whereby fictional characters display an awareness that they are in such a work, such as a film, television show or book.

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Episode 7: AERODYNAMICS OF GENDER

In this episode the girls, Britta, Annie, and Shirley take a class Women’s Study class. Abed, decides that he wants to also take this class with them. The girls make it clear they don’t want him in there with them, until they see that he has the super ability to insult the popular, bitchy means girl played by Hilary Duff. In the sub plot, Jeff and Troy find a secret trampoline nestled in a secret garden on the school grounds.

Hilary Duff guest starred in Community.

I enjoyed this episode a lot, but it seemed to be different in a way from other episodes, specifically in the sub-plot. Joshua, the trampoline’s tells Jeff and Troy that garden where the trampoline is located is “a place of peace and balance, a place for nourishment, a place free from darkness.” As Jeff and Troy jump, they become so relaxed that they are no longer themselves. Jeff goes as far as to wear a pair of UGG boots because they are so comfortable. Jeff Winger would never be caught dead wearing UGG boots.

Jeff in peaceful ecstasy.

Once Britta and the girls discover that Abed can throw insults at every female that passes them, they decide to use him as revenge against all the females that were bitches them. But in doing so, they, and Abed, become the bitches. Britta’s character is pretty stereotypical liberal, feminist. I find it ironic that she would get caught up in becoming a “bitch and allowing Abed to insult people and their imperfections.  It seems to go against the girl who encourages people to  embrace themselves for their uniqueness and individuality. But I think it works for the purposes of the story it shows that the bullying cycle can affect anybody.

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Episode 6: Epidermiology

I can’t figure out how to upload youtube videos, but watch this short clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXYUn5BOgHA&feature=related

The Halloween Episode! This was probably one of the most entertaining episodes of the season. The plot? ZOMBIES! During a Halloween party at Greendale the students become infected by ingesting a bio-hazardous material that Dean Pelton purchased at an army surplus store. He thought it was taco seasoning.  Once the students get infected they get pale, delirious, and have a strong desire to bite human flesh. The “sickness” is then transferred through bite. After a call from the army, Dean Pelton quarantines the whole school by locking everybody in: the infected with the non-infected. An apocalyptic zombie adventure ensues.

 What makes this episode so hilarious is the absolute absurdity of it. Everybody is dressed up in ridiculous Halloween costumes, the infected and non-infected alike. The juxtaposition of wacky, colorful costumes running around in the dark halls of Greendale  with the music of ABBA playing in the background is beautiful.

There was an awkward 2 minutes that didn’t really flow with the story. When Jeff, Troy, and Abed go down to the basement together, there is a strange cat that is bouncing all over the place. Instead of trying to save their peers, Jeff decides that he wants to catch it first…Why in the hell would he want to do that? What purpose does it serve? After watching this episode twice, I still don’t get it.

 Favorite part of the episode? Seeing Troy run around without a shirt on. He has a wonderful body. J

Favorite line: “Troy, make me proud. Be the first black man to make it to the end.” And indeed, Troy is the one to save the day, being the last one to survive.

If you never watch an episode of Community, watch this one.

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Episode 5: Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples

In this episode, Shirley, a devout Christian, wants Abed to make a film about Jesus for her. He reluctantly decides to do it, but he decides to put a twist on the message and decides to make a movie about Jesus making a movie about making a movie…and so on. As all Hollywood television plots, this one also contains a subplot. The subplot is all about Pierce. He realizes that there is a huge age and cultural gap between him and everyone else in the group. He decides to start hanging out with some rather “non-traditional” students…or just plain old people. Even though this episode is 21 minutes long, it still follows the typical 3 act plot structure, and commercials break up these acts.

Abed as Jesus making a movie about Jesus making a movie about making a movie...

Abed continues to be a shining star in this series. For this episode his role took on a sort of role reversal characteristics, but of course with classic Abed-isms. Neither the main plot or the subplot follow any common plot devices for comedy shows. And yet, it was still predictable. That didn’t make it any less funny.

 The first scene of the episode pokes fun at videos such as Antoine Dodson’s famous Bed Intruder video and  auto-tuning of popular Youtube videos. Most of the jokes in this show, and episode, are based on modern day cultural references.

 Being an episode about faith, some may argue that this episode is too religious. Others may argue that it is blasphemous and makes Christians look bad. Whatever the argument may be, the religious humor was in good taste and should not be offensive to anybody. In the very end of the episode both Abed and Shirley both get their prayers answered in the end. Last season also had an episode devoted to religion. However, the two episodes are only similar in that fact, they are totally different with totally different plot structures.

 John Oliver’s character Professor Ian Duncan is particularly hilarious in this season and episode . Since the old Anthropology Professor, played by Betty White got in trouble for trying to kill Jeff Winger, Professor Ian Duncan is now the interim Anthropology professor. His lack of Anthropology knowledge is a running gag for the show. In this episode he spent his class period looking at YouTube videos.

 Like most Community episodes, this was a pretty hilarious episode. This episode and  television show are ones that is recommended to anyone who loves to poke fun at modern popular culture, slapstick comedy, playful banter, and witty one-liners.

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Episode 4: Basic Rocket Science

City College, Greendale’s rival college, is planning to unveil a state of the art space shuttle simulator. At the fear of being “outdone” by his rival, Dean Pelton decides to get his own spaceship simulator before City College does. “Greendale will be the first community college to pretend to put a man in space!” Where exactly does he get this space shuttle simulator? Well, “in 1980, the county museum had a state of the art simulator sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken called the Kentucky Fried Chicken Eleven Herb Space Experience. In order to make the simulator beautiful for the grand opening, the Dean makes the gang clean the simulator in “atonement” for submitting an obscene flag as the school flag. The design they submitted was of a butthole. It was voted on by the student body and became the student flag. Everybody assumes that it was the prudish Annie who told the Dean that the flag was a butthole.

One of the plot devices used in this specific episode and many classic television shows is “trapped in a space”. That’s what happens in this episode. The gang ends up getting trapped in the 1980s space simulator. Not only are they trapped inside, the simulator gets stolen and dropped off in an abandoned space. Can the gang find their way back to Greendale in time for Greendale to be the first Community College to pretend to put in a man in space?!

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Season 2: Episode 2 SPOILERS

I know that I’m about 3 weeks behind in posting this. But, no excuses from me!

In this episode we meet one Jeff’s former law firm friends, Alan Connor. Hanging with Alan Connor is everything that Jeff used to be. That means full of questionable morals, a party animal, and a guy that doesn’t care about anybody except for getting moolah! Jeff decides that he misses that old life and wants back in. So, he neglects his new friends to hang out with Alan Connor and even hurts their feelings saying that he doesn’t want to be with them and be a caring person. Annie, who used to be in narcotics anonymous, remembers that Alan confessed to being the one who turned Jeff Winger into the Bar Association, which got him fired from his job. The friends decide to go on a wild adventure to prove to Jeff that his “friend” Alan Connor is not really his friend.

The struggle with the way Jeff used to be pre-Greendale College and the way he his now as a student at Greendale, seems to be a common plot conflict. I sometimes ask myself if this is a plot that is “getting old”. However, I think that this is necessary to see. Old Jeff Winger was a man just like Alan Connor. He lied through his teeth about anything and everything. He didn’t allow himself to feel or care about other people. And the most important thing to him was maintaining his fast life style. As cheesy as it sounds, I think that season one of Community was all about Jeff learning the power of friendship. And, as we have seen, Jeff has had a few lapses into his “old” ways. I think this episode is one of those lapses. But, if this becomes a common plot in the rest of the season then I think that it will become annoying and cliché.

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