"Community" Series Talkback (Spoilers)

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Place to discuss the classic cult Dan Harmon sitcom. Here are my reviews for the sixth and final season (which I just got to).

Community "Ladders"

This episode had a tough job. It had to let the audience down gently. This season is NOT going to be as great as the earlier ones, and I love that the show understands that and lets us understand it too. The problem is the cast got too big too fast. With Donald Glover gone, Chevy Chase checked out, and Yvette Nicole Brown with a family emergency, a series that prided itself on having a flawless group dynamic is going to have to resort to new characters to fill out the ensemble and pretty much hope for the best.

I don't immediately like Frankie but I feel sort of like Abed does in wanting to take a wait and see approach with her. She says the absolute worst thing to him ("You don't know any better") but she only says it because she actually cares about him.

Abed says she describes being uninteresting in the most interesting way he's ever heard, and that's about right. Again, I'll wait and see.

I liked the guy at the office pointing out that her condescending opening line would only ever work over a group of insane people. Which is another thing to say Greendale needs her.

Very concerned about Garrett. Will he be the secret villain of the season and the series? Will Leonard be the show's unsung hero or aid and abet him? So weird getting used to the idea of Chang with the group. The show doesn't have another ready-made protagonist.

Frankie's Shut up, Leonard burn is not merely awkward because it is unfunny and lame. It's awkward because she's doing it to make it up to Abed for hurting his feelings and failing miserably.

Jeff had an interesting observation about fixing Greendale. If you do it too much, it's no longer Greendale. You have to be able to make it so the school is both financially solvent and terrible at the same time. You can't fix both of those problems and consider it a successful stewardship of the school.

Shirley's surprise cameo at the end was nice. I didn't expect it, but I'm glad Brown worked around her situation for it at least.

That visual off all of those Frisbees crashing through the roof and into the room was amazing.

I love this show, and even if it cannot have a perfect sixth season before they make a movie, the show is meta enough to help me get through that fact. I very much appreciate that. ****1/2.

Community "Lawnmower Maintenance & Post-Natal Care"

Joel McHale and Keith David have immediate chemistry. I love Jeff taking down the "Who's asking?" frame completely, and I cheered when he told Elroy he wasn't allowed to tell him to get out of his Winnebago as if it were a punishment.

To be blunt, the first half of the episode with the Dean's virtual reality stuff was weak. I sympathized entirely with how appalled by it Frankie seemed (as well as how freaked out she was by Britta being in her car).

You know how everyone always says Britta is the worst? Her relationship with her parents is proof in the pudding. I freaking love Jeff just calling her on it, especially because his parents weren't all that great.

The scene at the beginning with Chang and the cat was funny and disturbing because of Chang's non-reaction to it. I'd feel more sympathy for him if he didn't seem like a total sociopath for it.

Yes, Abed, you hug people now. Get used to it.

The Greendale effect in action. Yes, Jeff, you will be here forever.

I love that we saw the whole foreign Gremlins tag at the end.

So-so, but it sort of came together by the end. ***1/2.

Community "Basic Crisis Room Decorum"

Wonderful episode.

The Dean's "We really need to get our s-word together," commercial was funny. But I love Jeff pointing out it was prudent and the best move. His ideas of discrediting the dog were only done because he was half making fun of how ridiculous the situation was. Wasn't he actually the guy telling Abed all along how stupid his attack ad was? Jeff does not have to have a heart to fill Annie's hope balloon. He's simply just not as dumb as the other people at the college he goes to.

I'm loving Elroy. First off, why didn't anyone think to ask him to do the voice-over? Worked for The Cape. I love his reminiscing that it actually used to be cheaper to not care about things. That is an astute observation. The reaction on his face to learning a dog graduated the college was the correct one, and I liked him quickly learning how and why you never want to be alone with Britta.

I love that Frankie already knows how unbalanced Chang is. Because he's been relatively well-behaved so far this year. And yes, I'm aware he just self-shot a porno.

Why is Abed interested in the techniques of that? Is Abed secretly a bad filmmaker? His Jesus biopic a few seasons ago suggests he might be.

Third amazing tag in a row. It's awesome what they've been able to come up with off NBC. Those tags used to only be allowed to last the 30 seconds the credits did. They've come up with some truly creative stuff this year now that they aren't beholden to that anymore. ****1/2.

Community "Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing"

I did not like that. I liked the part where the Dean shocked everyone at the end by coming out as a politician, but nothing else went right.

The cat-masks and wing fingers were a cute send-off for the baby bird, right? And the episode ends with it flying into a power station? Ugh.

I also have to say the stuff with Chang getting abused by the director was so legitimately tough to watch because it felt realistic. And it suddenly felt completely unlike this show. I don't care about the twist that the director was actually invested in Chang, and couldn't care less about Annie, the entire thing was appalling. And Annie was a jerk for going along with it for as long as she did. And the whole play being treated as a dramatic revelation would probably feel a LOT less ridiculous if the show didn't seem so earnest about it.

There was one thing I liked. When Dean Pelton informed Elroy he was now Abed's friend. That line was this show in a nutshell. And it was the only thing in the episode that was.

The episode was a rare misfire for the series. *.

Community "Laws Of Robotics & Party Rights"

I thought the episode, like the last one was getting a little dark, but when it turned out Willy was a fraud and they got into that fight with a broom with Jeff on it, I started appreciating the absurdity. I think the show doesn't work when there is a real-world level of horrible behavior. The gang can only make silly responses to horrible behavior that isn't really horrible.

Man, Britta really had to take her lumps from both Annie and then Abed. Her problem is that she thinks she's cleverer than she actually is.

I like Elroy refusing to offer free passes to somebody using the word black as a negative. Unfortunately he says it by saying he'll be nobody's fourth Ghostbuster. The problem with that statement is that I believe that when all is said and done, Winston Zeddmore is the coolest and best Ghostbuster. Bill Murray doesn't even want to be there in the second film. Hudson is the guy who is owning every inch of the role and loving it. Stranger Things threw some shade at Zeddmore for the same reason, and I don't think modern projects really understand tokenism at all if they are using Hudson as an example. The token is not ever the best character like Zeddmore was. And it's a bit weird neither Stranger Things nor Community understands that.

I dunno. I had some problems, but things most came together by the end, which they most certainly did NOT in the last episode. ***.

Community "Basic Email Security"

There were parts of this that were very good (particularly the last two minutes) but the episode seemed to be about nobody being able to attach a moral to the secrets that were blown. That was the joke but I wasn't laughing because the entire premise of the episode WAS pointless. Britta's stand was stupid, against every single person's best interest, and they kept fighting for it as it got stupider and stupider. Once they were like "The people have come to silence themselves! We have to stop them!" I became frustrated instead of amused.

There were some good points in the episode. The confrontation was beyond fascinating (as these things always are on this show) although I felt the personal hit Frankie took about her dead sister immediately made things stop being funny. The kid cop Warburton also cracked me up and the way his adult partner treated him and how ridiculous the situation actually was was fun too.

The episode wanted to make a pointless moral to confuse the characters. What they did instead was make a pointless episode. **1/2.

Community "Advanced Safety Feature"


My favorite part was Frankie being unable to stop telling the Dean how stupid he is and apologizing and comforting him because he's so dumb. She's knows how wrong what she is saying is, but she is helpless to have the words not come out of her mouth. I like that about the character.

This show and product placement jokes are so OLD. Granted, I believe this was from five years ago, but it's still no longer funny.

Speaking of which, my intel IS five years out of date, because I'm so late in seeing the final season, but as of 2015, Lesley Ann Warren still looked like a million bucks. What's her secret? She was on the original Muppet Show for Pete's sake! She looks like Helen Mirren's granddaughter here.

Billy Zane is super bald now. It explains why he used to shave his head later on in his career. He's still got a little smoldering hunk in him though, which is interesting.

I like that Jeff doesn't care if Elroy likes the group until he suspects it's him ONLY Elroy doesn't like and suddenly it matters. Jeff is not as cool as he pretends to be. If a legitimately cool-seeming person doesn't respond to him, he takes it badly. I liked Elroy hugging him and telling them they'd be friends.

30 Rock and this show basically ran product placements jokes into the ground. I'm five years late seeing this, but that hasn't aged well. Everything else was good. You poor, stupid Dean. ***1/2.

Community "Intro To Recycled Cinema"

The kettle drum thing still hasn't paid off yet, but it's brewing.

I felt SO bad for Chang's last scene in the booth until he gets back to the group, and I realize he's finally accepted there. I love that.

That was a bit ridiculous as far as a plot goes, but it was all right. ***.

Community "Grifting 101"

So much fun. Best episode of the season.

The best part about parodying The Sting is that The Entertainer is public domain, so you can be pretty authentic on the cheap.

And yeah, The Sting is an overrated movie. It's boring and nonsensical, and the actual solution probably cost ten times more to implement than the actual scam brought in.

I love Chang cheerfully realizing he wasn't in on it because he couldn't be trusted.

Poor guy at Jeff's gym. Everybody seems to have a backstory this year.

This is the first episode of the season to switch up the main titles, which is a shock because that's kind of a specialty of the show. What's disappointing is that they just Sting-ified the music, left the title itself as is, and didn't bother doing credits in the style of the movie.

That cop seems to enjoy his time at the school. I really like him.

Best episode this year. *****.

Community "Basic RV Repair & Palmistry"

The look on Elroy's face as he is gathering up all the charging cell phones (and a hair-dryer for some reason) was definitely the biggest laugh of the season.

I personally HATE "Three weeks earlier" episodes, and damn The X-Files to the darkest corner of Hell for popularizing them, so I swooned every time the episode fought back at Abed trying to introduce the trope. This show understanding WHY that trope sucks, and pointing out everything about it, and then NOT doing it is why I love this show.

Whatever else Jeff thinks about Frankie, she cares about Abed and scarily understood the correct way to relate to him. Even Jeff had to admit her idea was pretty good.

The Blake tag was inappropriately dark, and then funny because it was so stupid. The biggest shock is the wife hasn't left him BEFORE this.

Solid episode. ****.

Community "Modern Espionage"

Paintball huh? Love that the new hook is that it's underground and forbidden. Really shook the premise up this year. And they finally actually did a full new main title for it.

Dean's call-sign being "Diedrich Bader Voice" means this show knows its Batman.

Part of me doesn't think Keith David should be forced to wear a bonnet, bib, and pacifier, but hearing his use that voice to say "I made a stinky" sort of makes me gloss over my liberal guilt over that specific negative subtext. If it were TRULY that damaging to his dignity, he wouldn't have nailed the line. It's my feelings about Forest Whitaker's run on American Dad too, except I doubt David will wind up ashamed of this show.

Garrett has pretty much always been the worst character, but he's been a special level of suck this year. Yeah, Andy Kaufman got boos. But he didn't bring his dead mother into it.

It was fun to hit the spy-fi genre for the last paintball round. I think the show has pretty much hit all of the genres there (except perhaps sci-fi). Maybe they'll save that for the movie. *****.

Community "Wedding Videography"

I was like "Oh my GOD!" at that tag. That was SO wrong and SO right at the same time. It appears all TV writers have an agenda. Which makes me said about some of the topics fiction tackles.

I love Chang saving the day. Man, Jeff Britta'd that toast completely. You don't ALWAYS have to be the worst, Britta. You can take the day off.

I really enjoyed Garrett's mother passive-aggressively pointing out how terribly they were behaving. As usual it just causes them to behave even worse.

I love the idea that Elroy used to be a white person confidence booster in the 1990's. Because in reality, isn't that all those Keith David voice-overs during that time period boiled down to?

Frankie digs Annie? That's sad because Annie cannot change her entire orientation for one person. Plus if the show says JEFF may be too old for her, Frankie definitely is.

I thought the "joke" of Frankie revealing her surviving sister was retarded being undercut by the guys happily bursting in was in very bad taste. Frankly, I feel that way about a LOT of the humor done at that character's expense. It's not as funny as Dan Harmon thinks it is.

If I had a REAL complaint, it's that that didn't feel like a penultimate episode. There better be kettle-drum pay-off in the finale. ****.

Community "Emotional Consequences Of Broadcast Television"

That last board-game scene was a scream, and why the show is insane, and pretty much unlike every other TV show.

A couple of f-bombs were dropped for shock value because this IS the last episode. I'm okay with that.

Boo on no kettle drum pay-off! What kind of show are we running?

Disappointed in how little Yvette Nicole Brown was utilized. I expected Shirley to properly come back for the last episode not just be used in a couple of lame fantasies by Abed.

Jeff and Annie's kiss was the perfect mix between romantic and sweet. They didn't overdo it which was nice. They paid it off without consummating their relationship with sex. On some level it IS wrong and icky, but shippers were allowed their moment, and it wasn't over the line or skeevy enough to make anybody feel bad. Perfectly threaded the needle there.

I hope there's a movie, because I feel like if the franchise IS ever going to wrap up, Troy and Shirley need to be there. One last get-together and hurrah sounds like a good idea to me. But I want them to sign everybody and have all their ducks in a row. Except Pierce. Do not miss him.

I love the gratuitous slams the show has been making on Marvel movies for obvious reasons. The Joss Whedon slam a few episodes ago seemed weirdly prescient, and probably hit before Age Of Ultron became the disaster it was, but this right here is basically rubbing the Russo Brothers' nose into it explicitly. I love it.

I have to say, the reveal that Chang is gay felt so random and unearned and tacked on, that it was insulting instead of empowering. Again, this was five years ago, but it still sucks.

I totally never put together that the Dean didn't dress up in a crazy costume all year before this. I had been away from this show for too long.

I am five years late to the last season, and binged it all in one night. I can't say the show went out on top or had a perfect final season. But I think on some level I knew that I was resisting binging the final season, even though I've had access to it for years, because this is the kind of show I didn't want to actually end. And the hashtag for the movie gives me hope. I love this show and will miss it. ****.
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