This week’s episode of Community was no instant classic like “Modern Warfare,” but even when it lets its freak flag fly at half-mast, it’s better than most shows on television. Watching Community is a little like eating Thanksgiving dinner with loved ones: there’s warmth and deliciousness in abundance, and we always find ourselves thinking: “Gotta enjoy this while it lasts. Next year, everything could be totally different.” Unfortunately, Community always seems like it’s on the brink of cancellation, so every episode must be savored. Here’s what we gleaned at Greendale this week:
#1: Starburns loved him some Styx...and is really gone
At the end of last week’s episode, we learned that one of the show’s quirkier supporting characters, Starburns—the tall dude who looks like the magic-practicing cousin of Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock—died when the meth lab in his trunk exploded. No typos there. This episode centered on the aftermath of that incident, and included a hilarious self-recorded video he sent Abed before his death, in which we learn that his only possessions were a ton of Styx albums. Starburns then asks Abed to create a tribute video for him, and leaves some “general purpose footage” to use, which is basically him running amok in front of a green screen with what looks like a proton pack on his back. Yep. He will be missed.
#2: Professor Kane is also gone!!!
Then, we’re told by Dean Pelton that Professor Kane has resigned in light of recent events—Starburns apparently stole the equipment for his illegal endeavors from Prof. Kane’s biology lab. Plotwise, this leaves the gang with neither professor nor grade—their only option is summer school. But whatevs about all the plot details—this means that the magnificent Michael K. Williams (who plays Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire and who terrified all as Omar on The Wire) is no longer employed at Greendale, and that wounds me. He wasn’t in this week’s episode, but here’s to hoping that we get to see his Mama’s Family-loving biology prof. at least once more. He was a blast in his guest spots.
#3: Dean Pelton has a doppelganger!
In another one of his trademark evil plots to take over Greendale, Chang tranquilizes the real Dean Pelton, rendering him unconscious, but not before bringing in his presumed evil twin in to take his place. I’m all about this twist, because it means more Jim Rash, and that can only be a good thing. Here's hoping for a literal song and dance number before this season is over featuring both Dean Peltons...
#4: They do more in 30 minutes on this show than most dramas do in 60.
Okay, that was already prior knowledge to most Community lovers, but this week’s episode was a prime example of what NBC will lose if it chooses not to renew this show. Somehow, Community manages to fit every typical plot convention of the subject it is satirizing into 22 minutes. In this episode, there were the usual scenes of the study group, a funeral, a riot, a hospital scene, a mock trial, an evil plot that led to multiple expulsions, and an Abed tribute movie. And all the while, hilarity is woven throughout. How could Chevy Chase have ever called this show “mediocre?!” Speaking of which...
#5: It's okay if Chevy Chase leaves the show...
And we feel bad for saying that, because he’s an old favorite. He’s Clark W. Griswold! But—have you ever been on a nice walk on a beautiful day and everything is fine, and then, out of nowhere comes this huge wet spider web that gets all over your person? Every time Pierce enters a scene, he feels like that spider web. Maybe it’s because his costars are much more dynamic, or maybe we're growing tired of getting flummoxed by his racist blurbs, or maybe we're even a lil’ annoyed at Chevy for bad mouthing the best thing he’s done since the Reagan era. All we know is, he is never as funny as his co-stars, and this show is not mediocre, even in an off week, which this wasn’t.
What did you think of last night's Community?