Archive for the ‘Community-Reviews’ Category

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. 

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Community takes on another concept episode… oh brother.

 

Once upon a time, concept episodes were something so scarce and hard to find in television that whenever they came along, even in their weakest state, they would be memorable and have a cult following. Community has single-handedly crushed this notion, taking on concept episode after concept episode, putting its own original spin on it, and producing not only some of the most entertaining comedy in the series, but in the television industry as a whole.

To put bluntly… I missed the airing of this episode, I had to wait till tonight to fully watch it. It was definitely worth the wait, and I can easily say that community is once again in its prime. No, better than in it’s prime. It’s re-vitalized, reborn, remade, and reconstructed. A show that doesn’t hesitate to change the theme, the type of dialogue, or even the direction of an episode for the sake of a concept, and this episode is no different.

The beautiful thing about this show is that although it changes so much, it alters so many things to simply make a concept, but it never deviates from character norms. The characters never act in a way that seems unbelievable, they always stay in their respective traits and thoughts, and by god, if that doesn’t make this show a masterpiece.

While this isn’t the best homage, or concept episode this show has done. Especially when compared to timeless classics like “Modern Warfare”, “Paradigms of Human Memory”, or “Remedial chaos theory”, but oh BOY was it funny. It wasn’t just funny, it was spit-out-your-drink HILARIOUS.

Everything about it tickled me the right way, from the dark and grim theme, to the Se7en parody, everything was just made so perfectly, so charmingly, so smartly, I couldn’t help but sit back and adore the ride that I was taken on.

This show is no stranger to making episodes so outlandish and parody-ish, that it can set someone off from watching it. It truly is a tasters choice, I just happen to fall in love to seeing this stunning cast being put in these different and unique situations that both test them, and have them open up their varied acting armaments.

We also got to see the return of Star-Burns, and Professor Dunkin, the fantastically British professor whom was sorely missed in the last two seasons. Their returns weren’t the highlights, the particular thing that had me on the floor (literally) was Donald Glover’s performance as the “emotionally scarred victim”, after he was ‘cracked’ by the ‘ass-crack Bandit’…

Now wait, I know how this sounds… and I would tell you it’s not weird, and you’ve seen something like this before. But this show wouldn’t be community if you have, it’s something out there, unique, and in the hands of any other show I can think of, this episode would have failed. Because a premise like this is just all-out bonkers, and only Community can ground it in the perpetual love and care this show exudes from its writing staff, directors, and the genius show runner Dan Harmon.

And in the final scenes, when the mystery of this episode was left open ended, and the custom made song about all the ‘crackings’ the ass-crack Bandit achieved played, with it’s sad tune, you can’t help but smile, as a long time Community fan and say…

“Welcome back”

 

Grade: A

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It’s Baaaaack!!!!

 

No… really, it’s back! Not just returning for a fifth season, but ACTUALLY back. Back making episodes that are truly “Community” in its essence. Now I will apologize for bringing such a late review, I unfortunately wasn’t able to watch this episode when it aired… so I had to get it off itunes! If you don’t already see, I absolutely adore this show. It’s perhaps one of my favorite programs ever, and for good reason. This is a SMART comedy, a breed of comedy which is dying, every lingering breath becoming weaker and weaker.

So after season 3, when Dan Harmon, the creator of this show, was fired, the fans were skeptical. Unfortunately, their worries became a reality when the fourth season was somewhat disappointing in its quality. However, NBC and Sony, soon rehired the creator, and made him in charge once more. From this, Dan Harmon chose his warriors (writers) carefully, and started planning for what is supposedly the best season of community to date!

Let me just say, these episodes were indeed the best starting episodes this show has ever gotten so far. This show has only one weakness, and that’s starting a season, with the first two or three episodes being noticeably weaker in quality than the upcoming episodes, this is mostly due to the fact that the show has so much ground to cover… so without further ado, let’s talk about this juggernaut of comedy!

Yep… this is TRULY community in its essence. And even without the presence of one of their main cast, Chevy Chase, it still had incredibly strong episodes to boot. Filled to the brim with jokes that take a few seconds or even minutes to process, with humor that is refreshingly smart and witty, as well as slapstick and downright hilarious. This is, community!

The first episode, hilariously enough called the “repilot” pretty much sets the ground for the rest of the season. The lonely, and slightly destroyed Jeff Winger’s redemption, and journey back to Greendale. This episode was the weaker of the two that aired, since it was trying to cover miles of ground in a quick twenty two episode season.

What’s interesting about the repilot, is that it had a noticeably darker vibe to it, the entire filter was grey and dull. Showing the school in a more sad and dreary light. With the departure of yet ANOTHER cast member, Troy Barnes, played by the wonderfully hilarious Danny Glover, the writers of the show take wonderful little jabs in a very meta way. The entire episode was a mini-spoof of the repilot of scrubs that happened with its ninth season… thankfully this repilot did not fail miserably.

We also got introduced to the new “Pierce” played by the absolutely wonderful Jonathan Banks, known for his prominent role in the universally praised and acclaimed series ‘Breaking Bad’, where he played Mike. I think the question that is most asked is whether or not he fits into his role, I mean, I was also worried… would he be a good fit for Greendale? Playing such a serious character in breaking bad? One question, warrant a one word answer. YES!

He is absolutely splendid in his role, he portrays a slightly psychotic, SERIOUS, teacher that takes another look at the “old guy” stereotype. As Pierce used to be the “old racist” stereotype, Jonathan, or Professor Hickey, is more of the serious, blunt, and threatening “old guy”, and oh boy is it refreshing and hilarious!

And where the Repilot failed, the next episode, “Introduction to Teaching” succeeding with flying colors. I mean, the idea of having a “Nicholas Cage” class… is just… wow. I can’t even describe how much I liked this story, not only for having wonderful continuity between Abed, and seeing his actor, Danny Pudi, portray and absolute nutjob like Nicholas Cage, was tear-exudingly funny.

Although this was the harder to believe storyline of the episode, the B-plot revolved around Jeff getting used to teaching. Which is where Jonathan Banks’, Professor Buzz Hickey was introduced. With a few hilarious and clever jabs at Leonard, who’s apparently the school… bully?Hippy? Old guy-bully-hippy? The scenes were just jam-packed with comedy.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Anne, a character which was digressed badly in season 4 (when it was run by the other show runners), back in shape. Not physically (The actress, Alison Brie, is downright gorgeous), but character wise. She no longer acts like a fifteen year old schoolgirl, and instead is mature, and best of all, FUNNY!

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been backing all of my statements up with “It’s funny!” Instead of “It’s trying to be funny!” This is because this season is no longer relying on the “Look how this show used to be!” Theme season four stalled in. This is, I’ll say once more, community.

Each part of it is crisp, hilarious, and put together with such love and talent it dwarfs most other comedy shows and blows them completely out of the water. I absolutely love this show, and oh boy was it fun seeing it back in tip-top shape!

 

Grades:

Repilot: B+

Introduction to Teaching: A-