Archive for January, 2014

Community-Review-S1ep 5-7

Posted: January 21, 2014 in Community-Reviews

Community - Season 5

 

Advanced Criminal Law

Football, Feminism, and You

Introduction to Statistics

 

The ball is rolling

Episodes without a specific direction or strategy are almost always the best episodes of this show, so perhaps the first true directional episode of this show being one of it’s weakest is still understandable. Even at it’s worst, this show is still a solid block of entertainment that doesn’t cease to impress me.

Here, Jeff is still selfishly going after Britta, masking the false care with proper “lawyer” words. But this episode never forgets its routes, comedy. Here we get an absolute comedy. Scenes made just for the punch line, which is more casual sitcom-ness.

I don’t have too much to say about this episode, funny enough. This is because previous episodes wanted to establish this one, this episode wanted to establish the kind of world Greendale is. A world where the judges jury is held near a swimming pool near a swimming naked old man named Leonard… this pretty much defines Community if you think about it!

Episode 6:

In football, Feminism, and You, we get the first glimpse of drama within the show. As well as hilarious setpieces, and the first episode that truly sets up Troy (played masterfully by Donald Glover) as the funniest character within the show. His dialogue with Jeff, on the football field, was a compilation of hilarious physical gags within the background, as well as two actors with fantastic chemistry.

Also, Annie’s unkempt jealousy helped her sprout a “crazy” side that we will be seeing more often as the show progresses. The fact that this show did not venture into the “everything works out in the end” territory really speaks pages about how it’s ahead. A regular, down to earth, sitcom would have both characters get together within the episode, or create some sort of tension there to be resolved within the season.

Not community, that’s just too easy for Community. Instead, they shut Annie out of the T-bone steak, she has to be dealing with that now. And she’s a bigger character for it, rather than if this relationship nonsense sprouted between them, and the rest of the show was them bickering or breaking up.

Episode 7:

Truly, this episode is an “Introduction to Statistics”, a thorough analysis of what the characters mean to Jeff Winger, the disbarred lawyer. And as his cold heart melts in this school shaped toilet, so does the status which these emotionally driven characters take within his heart.

In this episode alone we saw this progress, and we also saw chevy chase be amazing. Not only popping pills like a champ, but also in perhaps the best constume ever invented for the actor.

But I can’t really finish this review without mentioning the highlight. Abed is batman, batman is abed. And troy and abed are hilarious.

 

Grades:

Episode 5: B

Episode 6: A-

Episode 7: A

Community-Review-S1ep2-4

Posted: January 19, 2014 in Community-Reviews

seor-chang-photo

 

The first three, with the El Tigre!

             Within the second episode of the show, we get some resounding developments. One, the character of Senor Chang, and two, that amazing rapping tag at the end of the episode. Not to delve too deep, this alone warrants praise.

Community decides to continue laying it’s ground work throughout this episode, trying to develop these characters as much as possible, but thankfully, not too quickly. Jeff is still after Britta, and Abed is still hilariously unaware of his surroundings.

But most importantly, it began the development of the character, Pierce. Who gets shown as a lonely old man, trying to grasp onto a family as drastically as possible. He’s trying his hardest to bond with Jeff (Jeffrey) because Jeff is the leader, bonding with the leader breeds respect from the rest of the gang.

Did he succeed? Nope. But further developing the three dimensionality of the character, Jeff understands the unsuccess of Pierce. The familiar bonds of this group grow from that, that even the most perturbing and hard to like character of the show is still welcome, still allowed in this circle of weirdos.

 

Episode 3:

While episode three examines Abed, thankfully. Although I view this episode as slightly less successful than the standout before this, it still did wonders for this growing world.

Abed has issues, not his disability, but parental issues. The character of Britta, with her slightly motherly and protective nature, wanted to care for abed. But as uniquely as this show does things, she of course, fails. But she does this by providing too much care, too much protectiveness on a character that is really not in any trouble at all.

He may have emotional issues, but he is still just as human as the rest of us. In a way, he is just like, if not more capable than the rest of us. However, Britta sees the disability, she sees the issue and springs to help. A move that’s both ignorant and noble, which is her character in a nutshell for quite some time. She learns this lesson, sooner than later, and Abed proves to not only have more depth, but also to be more keen on the situation…

While Jeff and Britta didn’t understand the metaphoric situation Abed put them in, the answers that he seeked, and the way he structured them. It was oddly poignant to see his father understand his son. Seems funny, a father understanding his son… Duh! But in this situation it was something unexpected, and heartwarming.

Community really doesn’t hesitate to bring the big guns when necessary!

Episode 4:

To anyone who has seen this episode, they should notice an ongoing theme. Every character is getting an interesting pair, but not only that, the character is also getting developed. This week we get the riotously funny “Social Psychology”.

It’s not only called that because of Abed’s hilarious departure in the B-story with Anne (another new pairing). But also Jeff’s jealousy of Britta’s new boyfriend, and Shirley’s attempts to fit in. After all, gossiping is still something that bonds people over a common interest.

Episode two has Pierce attempting this, while this episode had Shirley trying. While both end in failure, somewhat, they still work to various degrees. This is either breeding sympathy, or falseness of character.

Best of all, they breed comedy. Although this may be the emptiest episode of the show thus far, it’s definitely the most funny. If only for Professor Dunkin’s absolutely hilarious freakout.

This episode is not remarkable by any means… but it still never neglects to make me giggle at the bonding of Jeff and Shirley, and the very funny B-plot. Congratulations Community, you never cease to impress!

 

Grades:

 

Episode 2: A-

Episode 3: B+

Episode 4: B+

1000px-S4E10_GroupPhoto

Rainbow DAAAAASH!

 

So this episode did a whole lot to develop the outside world more! Just like on the map of Equestria you can probably see somewhere… Rainbow Falls is a place we visited before (or atleast a place that’s very similar) within the episode “Sleepless in Ponyville”. So I thought that was a neat little snapshot of what the show can do with its continuity in the world of Equestria.

Apart from that, we got a highly entertaining episode that expands on the world of the more background characters. For example, we got voices for various characters we never heard before. Such as the famed “Steroid Pony” named appropriately “Bulk Biceps”, as well as the third member of the wonderbolts team and various other characters. We also got to see gryphons in the competition! Cool!

This episode revolved around Rainbow Dash trying to get into the Equestria Games… which is an understandable device, as well as continuation on the more background story behind season five. I’m guessing the actual Equestria Games will be held later on? Yes… definitely.

Every character was resoundingly IN character, as well as the writers wanton to include everyone in every episode… which is either good or bad for some. For me, it really doesn’t matter, as long as it doesn’t intrude on the more character developing scenes.

Thankfully, the one scene with emotional significance in this episode was played out near perfectly. As Dash found out (once again) how much her friends truly love her, and how much she truly loves her friends. Which is actually really true, since the heat of competition can sometimes cloud such thoughts.

Overall, it was a success in terms of an episode… as I’ve said, I really can’t scream and shout at this show. Because for how much the fandom around it is trying to make it out to be more than it is, in the end, it’s just a very good cartoon show that does what it does much better than other cartoon shows. I watch this show like I watch a good children’s entertainment, with my mind half shut, and laughing at the simplistic humor and the shockingly well-developed characters. G’day.

Grade: A-

community-nbc-joel-mchale-cast

The saga begins

 

With this, I begin to talk about a show that has changed my life, a show that is so different, unique, original, interesting, hilarious, and developing that it dwarfs any competitor. A show that is underrated, a show that makes the weirdo’s in the world feel normal, and the normal people in the world feel weird. A show that for once makes me feel that someone around earth understands what comedy is, someone who doesn’t stop trying until he is fired. And then when the void of his loss was noticed, rehired once more, only to capture the essence of this show. The essence of what makes “Community”, “Community”… What is that essence, you may be wondering? It’s heart.

The first episode of this series starts it off on a pretty “normal” foot. We get introduced to the characters in an understandable fashion, and get ready to embark on a journey like no other. For what it is, a regularly scripted pilot of a sitcom no one was sure about, it does it’s job splendidly. On my second, third, fourth, or even fifth rewatch, I still laugh at some of the incredibly clever jokes published within the script.

The viewers didn’t hesitate to notice the standout performance of Danny Pudi, who plays the Asperger’s stricken character, Abed, whom associates real life with Tv and film to try and understand it. Troy, the underdeveloped Jock (whom becomes my favorite character of the show). Shirley, the divorced Christian house mom. Pierce, the lovable old racist. Anne, the used-to-be pill addicted teen. Britta, the rebel. And lastly, Jeff, the disbarred lawyer.

This is a simple setup to a complicated show, a budding flower, sprouting from the harsh beginnings with regular sitcom shtick, but still never hesitates to be resoundingly “Community” in it’s delivery.

This pilot is what is needed to start this show, to lay the groundwork, and to produce what I feel is not only the most post-modern show, but also the most resoundingly human show we have in our generation. So I say, to everyone who decides to read this… let’s begin!

Grade: A-

Community - Season 5

 

Goodbye Pierce

 

I’m writing this right now not as someone whom thought this was the funniest episode of the show, or best directed episode of the show, or even the richest episode of the show. I’m sitting down in my chair, applauding this show, Community, for delivering one of the most poignant episodes it has ever done, any comedy show has ever done.

There are so many shows out there with characters whom people are just born to hate, who are made to be hated. The comedy comes from them being jerks to their surroundings, ones that even a small speech at the end of an episode can’t redeem. And then there are characters whom you are born to love, unconditionally, as they are who you want to be.

The characters in “Community” are neither one of these. They are us, they are flawed, happy, sad, angry, tormented, pained, distraught, funny, delusional, stupid, and smart all at the same time. What I’m trying to say, is that they are all of us, every single one of us has a sliver of them. Why? Because each one of them has humanity, no matter how cartoonish and absurd this show can be, at the end of the day, these characters remain.

Each one doused in the flames of human emotion, not pivotal comedy, or hysterical realization, but in pure, simple, humanity. Even a character whom was drifting into the territory of villainy is treated with such respect, some vigilance and care, that no matter why or how he left, he is still sorely missed. This episode says this, bluntly. Each and every one of them is faulty, defected, broken, and the first step to fixing yourself is to admit your flaws.

The most hated character on the show, meaning the one that is the rudest, most racist, spiteful character… is also the most attentive, the most self-realized. Perhaps in death he is able to pass that one sliver of humanity he has to them.

This is a powerful episode, one rife with subtle emotion, and grace that rival some of the most world-renown TV-shows out there. There is nothing this episode strictly did wrong, it was just there. I could not have entered the writing studio, a few months back, and told them how fix it. It was its own being, its own centralized exposition. The group, the family, the community, that we have known for the past five years saying goodbye to someone whom they just now started to appreciate.

However, the ride is not over, and as they say goodbye to Pierce Hawthorne, another character has a revelation. One of them had the biggest revelation, and that was Troy. So in next week’s episode, we will be saying our sorrowful goodbyes to him.

As I said, this isn’t the funniest episode of the show, it’s not the best shot, but it’s the deepest. An episode that re-establishes this group’s personality and dynamic three years after they established it in season two’s episode “Cooperative Calligraphy”. The characters have changed. They changed in both subtle and blatant ways, and are darker for it. Each one seemingly holding on to that last string that they have their humanity invested in… each other.

 

Grade: A   seal-of-approval

This episode gets awarded, with not only an “A”, but also the ‘Seal of Approval’, signifying the highest ranking I could possibly give to an episode of a show. 

Dr.Who-Review-S3ep11 – Blink

Posted: January 12, 2014 in Dr.Who-Reviews

Blink

 

Wow.

 

Yes, I’ve heard that this episode was coming up, yes, I’ve heard all the Doctor who fans love this episode, and yes, I’ve heard that it was something unique and out there.

Every part of this is true, beyond a shred of a doubt, this episode was brilliant to a frightening level. Almost as if I was watching another show. Where did the Dr.Who that had the Dalek’s evolve into humans go? The farting aliens? The absorber? Where did all of that go?

Now we have a story that’s so jam packed with originality I couldn’t take my eyes of the screen, villians that were so unique to the setting, with both terror and intrigue, that I couldn’t… quite literally… take my eyes of the screen.

Saying this episode was the best this show has done is underselling it, this episode is something sci-fi TV strives for, something very few sci-fi shows can ever achieve in their perhaps long lifespan. Although I’ve seen episodes that rival ‘Blink’ in various ways, especially in a fantastic show like “Fringe”, but I never really expected something like “Dr.Who” to achieve such an episode that had THAT much intensity.

The characters introduced were interesting and well-acted… but the real highlight was the villain. The weeping angels put every other villain in the show to shame, not only because they are a hideously awesome creature, but also because of the way they do their “bad deeds”. As the Doctor said, they are the kindest killers, as all they do is transport you back in time to live out your life… however, the idea behind it is so gruesomely scary and fascinating that I couldn’t help but applaud the writer.

The Doctor wasn’t that prominent in this episode, however, he played a major role in it, as Martha and he are stuck in the past and have to use this complex method to deliver the video tapes to the protagonist of the episode. This entire system was captivating and it didn’t hesitate to enthrall me in the plausibility and mystery that could surround something like this.

Plausibility, IF there was a time lord in the real world, of course. There was no hesitation to progress this episode quickly, and although I would have loved to see more of these fantastic creatures, the fact that this episode was not a two parter makes it all the better. Because by the end, when they are facing off the Weeping Angels in the dark room, with the flickering light, I was at the edge of my seat.

The entire conclusion, in fact, was a perfect finale to a buildup that has been occurring for thirty or so minutes. The intrigue that surrounded these beings is still there, but the fact that we now see them attack… metaphorically, but whenever he blinks they get closer, showing their dreadful faces, was both incredibly intense, but also shockingly entertaining!

Needless to say, this episode is my favorite, not because I thought the theory and concept behind it was fantastic (like in ‘Gridlock’), but because everything about it was something to marvel at. The directing, the beings, the lore, everything. By the end I was just happy they stayed as mysterious as they came, because I’d hate them to be ruined with mediocre CGI.

Great job, Dr.Who… more like this episode please!

P.s- Wibbly Wobbly… timey wimey… stuff…

Grade: A

s3_e09

 

A successful two parter! Rejoice!!!

 

I think I’d put this Two-parter between “The Doctor Dances” and “The Satan Pit” as it has attributes of both, but with a different structure. In my previous review I said how the Doctor always needed a more dynamic role… oh brother, was I surprised. They quite literally TURNED HIM FREKEN HUMAN!

                These episodes were an examination of what the Doctor is like with… human flaws. Not flaws that ever creature has, but with the ones humans in particular own. But I’ll say… they just HAD to hammer in the “love” bit. Which was both painful and rewarding, since I still stand by the fact that Martha and the Doctor will never be.

And low and behold… in the second part Martha spews all that nonsense about her loving him, and nothing happens. Mr.Smith, the Doctor’s “human” name is somewhat of a reprise of his role in the first episode where he and Martha meet. Where she first develops feelings for him, and how he quite literally got tugged away by another.

This is an interesting dynamic, and although it’s not as poignant and downright amazing as “The Doctor Dances” it is still here to deliver a fantastic couple of episodes. The villain was a bit odd, but interesting, as this show never quite resolves to blood and gruesome violence, so the scene where all the children are mercilessly gunning down the scarecrows was ripe with emotion.

That may have been one of my favorite scenes of this season, if not the show, as it was just… heart wrenching to see something like this. The whole aspect of the kid who didn’t like to fight, but was somewhat of a psychic was interesting. But it didn’t have a proper payoff that I felt was warranted and lovable.

But I honestly don’t mind, this two parter did feel resoundingly “Human” and the change in the Doctor was definitely a noticeable and odd experience. It prompted questions, and developed his character more, which definitely signals a finale that will be perhaps slightly different than the other ones.

I’m definitely looking forward to it, because this episode hammers in the fact that David Tennant is great at performing his role in different aspects. And the way Mr.Smith acted was downright incredible, how little bits of the Doctor show through him, but he’s distinctly a different personality, capable of showing fear… something the Doctor can’t ALWAYS achieve (refer to the previous episode).

I don’t think it was just coincidence these episodes were placed close to each other, they bore resemblance and some form of continuity. Plus the villains in this episode were a bit odd… but I really don’t have much to say about them. I did love what he did to them after they were defeated, that thing he did to the young girl was definitely… frightening?

 

Grade:

Human Nature – B+

The Family of Blood – A-

Overall: A-

Dr.Who-Review-S3ep8 – 42

Posted: January 12, 2014 in Dr.Who-Reviews

s3_e07

 

The key to the universe? The answer to the greatest questions? Weird mask! Wait no… 42!

 

Honestly, I’m still confused as to why this episode is called “42”… maybe I’m just not as perceptive as I used to be? Perhaps it’s where they were? But damn! I still don’t know!

But the episode itself was generally pretty good, it had some issues, like perhaps the oddest of villains… but we were treated to a downright splendid performance by the Doctor. Is this the first time he’s properly screamed? The first time he’s said “I’m scared”… wow.

Christopher Eccelston (The ninth Doctor) only had a season to develop, but his development cycle was fast, and to the point. While Tennant is definitely taking his precious time to develop the Doctors new persona, almost painfully so. But today was definitely a development-heavy episode, as well as an episode where I came to the conclusion that Martha and the Doctor will never truly get together.

But let’s talk about the villain… who was the sun. The sun was a living organism that we polluted…oh wow, the satire! It hurts! But yes, this was quite clearly a social commentary as well, which wasn’t as grating as I thought it would be.

When I first laid eyes on the “baddy” in form of the woman’s (whom I forgot the name of) husband, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the silliness. And that annoying “silly” sensation didn’t stop until around midway through where the Doctor gets “Infected”, and shit really hits the fan. So yes, the Doctor really brought this somewhat mediocre episode from the gutter and into the ‘slightly above average’ range.

Which is definitely a happy occasion, since although Tennant has been great, he really needed something like this, a more dynamic and responsive role as the protagonist. He was quite literally sacrificing himself for the people, which we all knew he would do… but it was still somewhat cringe-worthy (in a good way) to see him struggle and try overcome this infestation of the sun throughout HIS OWN body.

Thank the stars for his two hearts, or he’d be toast for sure! The side characters were a little less important in this episode, which is whole-heartedly unfortunate since Dr.Who is always so good at making side characters seem three dimensional. I won’t say all of them were bad… none of them were, they just weren’t as prominent and interesting as they usually are.

But I digress… the episode was fine, the Doctor was brilliant, and we got to see Martha’s “why can’t I be with him” speech for not the first time… and surely not for the last.

Grade: B

s3_e06

 

The old get younger, and the cliché get cliché-er…

 

Yeah, you heard me, the episode tonight was extremely cliché, perhaps slightly underwhelming. But it definitely did something to start an ongoing theme within the season. Something that this season was either more subtle about… or just didn’t have. Lazarus, a man whom wanted to become young, became… well, young.

Except this experiment had a Side effect… he becomes a ravenous badly-cgi’d monster that stomps around turning people to bone by sucking out their “life force”. But what’s more remarkable, is the fact that we finally get a proper episode featuring Martha’s parents. Something I was whole heartedly eager to see…

Needless to say, her family is a pretty awfull… not the acting, that’s fairly good, but the entire dynamic of “Bitchy mother with no redeeming qualities” puts actually good characters like Rose’s mom to shame. Needless to say, her family was pretty low on chemistry, as well as appeal. Each one was somewhat rude, or just plain stupid.

I get the fact that Martha being with a guy can set a mom off… but here it just doesn’t make sense until some random man told her exactly how “bad” the Doctor is. It’s overlapping illogic that puts this episode down, the bad cgi I can deal with. Especially since I dealt with terrible CGI throughout most of the first season.

The unfortunate thing here is I actually LIKED this entire premise, it was cool and somewhat unique. I like that the Doctor has more reason to stick around, and the more episodes that don’t involve world-domination the better. Because I swear… if ONE more stupid villain wants to take over earth, I’ll just blow my brains out with my cliché pistol!

Apart from this, the execution was a bit better, and I found that, that is the redeeming quality of this episode. Its execution was good, and the resolve was more appealing, with a better lesson to back it up with. Which is something this show doesn’t always hammer in, but when it does, it surprisingly poignant and I appreciate that.

“The Lazarus Experiment” was a mixed back, just like the Shakespear episode, it was something of a tasters choice. And that’s sort of funny, since I still view this season as the best one so far… strange… perhaps I’m just becoming tougher to please with this show?

 

Grade: C

1000px-Applejack_and_siblings_by_wagon_S4E09

They’re cousins!!!Right…?

 

Splendid, just splendid. I was never really sure this show would really DO a road trip episode… really, I thought that was a trope they’d never stray to! And if they did, then it’d involve the entire cast, not just two of the main characters. Well… they went there! And it was a lot of fun!

An episode like this, one rife with physical humor and gags, as well as pop culture references with a slight hint of world development was definitely something I always love to see. A show like this is truly on a different spectrum, it’s a cartoon, and it’s supposed to be light hearted. Even for a comedy show, I find it hard to put this show down, as it has such a breezy and fast-paced attitude towards itself I can’t help but join in on the fun.

This episode is the definition of light hearted, it has a few glimpses of emotion that resonate from either Pinkie’s character, or the rest of the cast involved with the episode, but mostly it’s light-hearted fun that MAY or may not have a payoff come season wrap up (last five or six episodes).

However, until then, I’m willing to accept it for what it is. Pinkie was as she always was in this season, very excitable, energetic, and extremely random, and that formula alone provided most of the laughs in this episode. Also the dynamic between the Apple family was something that the episode as a whole benefited from. The episode also experienced with a slightly skewered and more slapstick comedic style that was a refreshing take to the somewhat similar show formula. This season is definitely spending a lot of it’s time deviating from the standard show structure we got accustomed to in the first three seasons, and that’s great news in my opinion.

I was a bit nervous, with Community’s absolutely splendid episode this week, that this episode may fall short of my expectations, but I really can’t say it did. It’s just… it’s a fun episode, with material that I can’t say resonated all that well, but it did its job in the process.

As I’ve said, a show like this is graded on a different scale. While I take shows such as Community more seriously, spending hours analyzing their in-depth and meaningful content, it’s sometimes nice to sit down and watch a show, have a great time, and then not think much of it. In a way, this show is exactly what I need after a strenuous activity, or after I’ve had a rough day. A healthy dose of colorful ponies, on a road trip together, having a blast.

There isn’t much more I can properly ask of this show!

Grade: A-