Episode 118: Basic Geneology

Community1x18_0401
 
 
Episode 118 – B-B-B-BASIC GENEALOGY

Greetings homeslices! I don’t know how many of you have really thought long and hard (tee-hee?) about this episode, but it’s really just 20 minutes of character building; If this was most other shows, I’d be turned off at that concept. However, Community is, from my perspective, a character central show, unlike, say, The Office, which is a mostly situation based show.

The episode starts out with a disappointment – Slater breaks up with Jeff, and not in a way that makes sense. We don’t even hear why she broke up with him, and the show just shrugs it off as if it hasn’t been a running subplot. According to the commentary, Slater had to break up with Jeff, but again, the show should have given us a reason, instead of “yeah, we’re breaking up just because.” They completely ignore it after the episode until Pascal’s Triangle – it’s kind of amateur to be honest.

The group consoles Jeff in one of the funniest scenes in the episode – Shirley calls Jeff a machine fuelled by sex, “The Bootynator”. It’s scenes like this that prove that Community works best when the entire group’s together; the rest of the episode kind of proves that when you split them up, it might not work as well. Jeff spots a hot tamale and claims that he’ll “Be back – but with booty.” Of course, the tamale in question is Pierce’s step-daughter (cue Principal Skinner – “How Ironic.”) Here’s where things get a bit convoluted, so I’ll explain the Jeff/Pierce storyline with some bullet points – 

  • Jeff stops trying to bang Amber because she’s Pierce’s stepdaughter.
  • Annie wants Jeff to wingman Pierce with Amber, so he does. (does anyone know why Annie did that? I don’t really see why she’d want Jeff to do something he doesn’t want to do.)
  • Amber keeps hitting on Jeff.
  • They sex.
  • Amber turns out to be a horrible person.
  • Amber leaves with a lot of money given by Pierce
  • Jeff tells Pierce that if he has friends, he has family.
  • Pierce consoles Jeff after Jeff sees Slater.
  • Glee reference.

It’s an okay plot, but still is very much below Community standards – I think Jeff acts a little bit out of character in the episode (I can understand wanting to do a favour for a friend but if Annie had said that to me, I wouldn’t have done it), and Pierce has never mentioned his step-daughter before, which is strange as he seems to hold her in high regard. The best thing about it was, without a shadow of a doubt, the Pictionary scene. Chevy Chase nails the delivery of just about every line (“HAPPY Sideways Vagina!”) and the windmill gag is brilliant (“You’re supposed to know, Stupid!”).  I actually think this episode shows how good Chevy Chase can be; He completely gets into the “Protect the Princess” mindset and his consolation of Jeff at the end is quite sweet and one of those “actually, Pierce isn’t all that bad” moments. The episode makes Pierce into a human. From my point of view, the worst thing was Katherine McPhee – I really didn’t care for her, and she seemed very out of place. I think she guested to boost ratings.

No, it’s the subplots where this episode really gets funny – and what I think was really great is that they both kind of stuck to the same theme; discipline. In the Abed/Shirley section, Shirley’s family (her kids) and Abed’s family (his dad and his cousin) just hang out. The thing I find really interesting about the subplot is one that’s never mentioned – Shirley’s family is deeply Christian and Abed’s is strictly Muslim. Shirley and Gobi start fighting over how to discipline their children, while Abed’s cousin goes off to play in a bouncy castle with the help of Shirley’s kids. This entire subplot may seem like a casual, fun one, but I really do think it has a deeper meaning – While the religious adults are fighting, the more carefree and innocent children are playing, suggesting that maybe we should just forget all about these pre-conceived notions and have fun. (Is that a VanDerWerff? Am I VanDerWerffing?) In any case, it build up a good relationship between Shirley and Abed, and going with the religious theme, I think it’s a pre-cursor to Messianic Myths and Ancient People.

And then we come to the Britta/Troy subplot, which I enjoyed a lot. Britta and Troy are probably my favourite characters (This constantly changes so I might just be going through a Tritta phase). It’s also a great plot for Britta, because I think the writers finally realized her character – she’s stubborn. She will do anything to prove a point, even going as far as physical pain. She will do anything tolook cool and hip – but her version of cool and hip, which might not (and probably isn’t) everyone else’s view. It’s also a well written Sub-Plot, and Donald Glover kills it at the end (“I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU BRITTA, I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU AT ALL”). And the whooping scene? Well, I think I speak for some of us here when I say…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdjzNErvxFg…Uh…Yeah.

Now it’s time for the section I like to call Chang we can Believe in. I have never used this section before and will probably not use it again. Basically I’m going to tell you all why Chang is a brilliant character in this episode.

Chang’s comments about his class’ families are completely inappropriate and, on occasion, offensive (“How’s the trade embargo with the Naboo?”). It’s a great example of his egotistical, manic personality before he’s driven truly insane by becoming a student, being kicked out of his home, etc. Plus, we get the first hint of the plot-that-could-have-been, “I ate my twin in utero.” I also absolutely love Rabbi Chang, so I’m hoping for a sub-plot where he teaches Jewish Stuides or something.

I’m sorry this review wasn’t very long, but I don’t really have much else to say about the episode. It’s definitely good – like I said, we learn a lot more about the characters, their backstory, what makes them tick – but it’s not a great episode. Like I said before, the Jeff plot was not very good, Slater breaking up with him wasn’t given enough reinforcement, and I didn't care for Katherine McPhee much at all. Sorry guys – I promise my review of Crit Film Studies will be better. I’ve got a shit-ton of things to say about it.
Thank you for reading guys; it’s been fun watching this episode multiple times.

MVPs: Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs

The Tag: Abed and Troy are stuck inside the vending machine. It looks really cramped, even if there’s leg room at the back. Also, I think the candy bar goes into Troy’s ass – I hope that doesn’t awaken anything.

Stray Observations

  • Star Burn’s son. What does he do? What’s with the Bluetooth? He’s an enigma…
  • I do love the fact that Jeff, Britta and Annie don’t have family with them. Annie doesn't because, of course, she abandoned then after her drug stint (They have to do an episode covering her parents’ coming to visit), Jeff obviously doesn’t care, but why aren’t Britta’s family there? Because she doesn’t think they’re cool…Probably.
  • “Gobi Nadir.” “Is that how you say hello?” “That’s my name.”
  • “I hate Glee…I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE APPEAL AT ALL”
  • “Actually, it’s a very big world with Five billion other women in it.”
  • “They always finish each other’s…” “…Pie.”
  • “You’re like a black ghost.”

16 LIKES
On the A. V. Club: http://www.avclub.com/articles/regional-holiday-music,66270/#comment-448685483 (page 119)

Discussion:

  • Abra's wearing a burqa is maybe problematic, as discussed last night, but I liked Abed's true-to-character literalism when asked if she looks like him: "She wears a burqa, so she looks like someone covered head to toe in black fabric." Kind of like his "It's a mixer" line to Chang, he uses it to his (and Abra's) benefit later when he says the kids are playing hide-and-go-seek and Shirley asks where they are and he covers for them by replying "I don't think that's how it works."

     I also love the way Abed consistently doesn't so much hug as allow himself to be hugged.

    http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

    P.S. You've got the episode listed as 1.19 but, at least as far as airing order it's 1.18. Gotta keep it straight for posterity's sake :) …

  • DAMMIT! It was almost…Perfect…

  • *Cue Troy Crying*

    Walking NPR I tried to reply to your flagged post but Disqus is mean and it won't let me and I only want to know what you wrote…I only want to know what you wrote.

  • Give it!! It sounds FUN!

    It was about Abed being very literal.  It wasn't deep, it just had a fishstick, so Disqus flagged it.  Booooo.   *fishstick of people throwing wadded up paper at Jeff that I'm afraid to post lest I get flagged again*

  • Remember that, by this point, Annie can pretty much mold Jeff to do whatever she wants him to: "Disappointing you is like choking the little mermaid with a bike chain." He's already under her spell.

    Also, I think Annie's idealism (and she cares about Pierce perhaps more than anyone else) pushes her to make Jeff help Pierce. Someone else can give a further explanation.

  • Good point. I think my cynical mind just can't wrap itself around her idealism.

  • I also want to point out that Jeff's "little mermaid" line is my favourite in the episode. And that my favourite parts of the episode are the Jeff and Annie scenes.

  • At this point in the show, Annie has no reason to be less than idealistic with regards to Pierce. Yes, he is a racist, homophobic old goof, but he has also shown that he has wisdom and life experiences to offer. Consequently, he is able to share his advice with the group to make them better people or get through a personal struggle. He certainly has his less-than-ideal qualities, but he is in no way the borderline irredeemable pill addict he becomes in season 2. He's just a lonely old man who needs friends, and more than anyone else, Annie can see that.

  •  Annie has always seemed to have a blindspot with regards to Pierce.  She was the one that wanted to keep him in the group at the end of season 2, she is his favorite and i dont think it is entirely one sided.  Annie i think just tends to see the best in pierce, where the other characters frequently see the worst

  • That about sums it up. She's the one who never really gives up on him and continually appreciates him, and he responds with grandfatherly affection (IDF and Fistful, for example). Pierce's season 2 anger is rooted in being abandoned and marginalized by the group, but Annie defends him, and we see the seeds of that mutual appreciation planted here.

    This episode also continues a nice "our little Annie is growing up" arc. She (literally) lets her hair down for the first time in Debate 109 and is seen as something other than the little schoolgirl. She admits to being comfortable with being uncomfortable in Politics of Human Sexuality and takes the first steps towards maturing past that, leading to her relationship with Vaughan taking off in Romantic Expressionism. Here, she confronts Jeff as an equal and then wraps him around her finger to get what she wants. Meek and timid Annie Adderall is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and that is highlighted even further as the first season continues.

  •  This goes to Evil Jeff as well: Annie may be idealistic but she's also quite self-serving. Harmon sums her best in Horror Fiction: "You should be proud of how much I've changed you." She's clearly attracted to Jeff, but she's also intimidated by him because of her general inexperience and attitude towards sex. At this point Jeff is still very much defined by his sexuality and constant womanizing. I think that Annie wants to make him a bit more moral, but that she also wants to "tame" him, to bring him more to her level and make him a bit more accessible to her.

    As for Jeff, his attraction to Annie has appealed, since Debate 109 to the last shreds of scruples and morality he has left, so it follows that he's especially sensitive to Annie's demands. It's why he voluntarily confesses to her that he slept with Amber: he needs to be reassured that he didn't do something wrong. It's actually quite funny: both Jeff and Annie think they are acting out of pure altruism, when in fact they mostly do what they do because they are attracted to each other.

    Also I should add that the episode sets up a really funny joke that pays off in The Art of Discourse: Jeff wants to bang Amber twice but doesn't get to do it, but he does do it twice with Schmitty's mom.

  • Perfect. I thought it might be something to do with sexuality.

  • Great stuff. Definitely agree.

  • Excellent analysis!

  •  Yeah, the Slater breaking up with Jeff was just wrong.  I know they had to rush it because of Katherine McPhee's dates, but they could've handled it better.  Maybe she is crazy and we've not seen the last of her and her Chubby Hubby.

  • I think that was about the right amount of things to say about this episode. :)

    I agree with you that I hate-hate-hated the handling of the Slater breakup, now more than the first time I saw it because now I know the show is capable of better. I read Pierce's "high regard" for Amber more like he called up all 30-whatever stepchildren until he got one that said yes and so now she's the best one because she agreed to come (though we know the reasons behind it).  I think an actress with more charisma (a female Joel McHale type) would've sold that story much better.  As we've seen now with Smash!MondaysaftertheSuperbowl, McPhee can be a bit flat as an actress.

    Viewing this after seeing the Jeff developments in the first half of S3 made me wonder how much of a playboy Jeff ever really was. Do we think he ever really was all that or was it mostly a front?

    You're totally right about the Troy-Britta story.  I loved it (shocker, right?) in part because I totally grew up around those "go get me a switch" grandmas–luckily, not my own–and largely because of Britta's committment to what Harmon calls a being "liberal to a self-destructive fault."  It's a silly story but it's great character development, from the fact that Britta doesn't even know what switch is straight to "I said you are a monster, m'am."  Troy was great in it, too: "That's a great switch, Britta, very hip."  And holy cow, the tiny bit of physical comedy where Britta puts out her hand to be smacked, then, flips it over, confusedly, is gold.  (Also maybe goes with that theory floated last week that Britta might be rebelling from a Catholic background?).

    02/25/2012 11:00 AM      3 LIKES

  •  The Slater breakup could have been handled better, but I don't entirely hate it. Slater has always called the shots in the relationship, so it's not inconceivable she may just dump Jeff the moment she got bored of him. Also, nice follow up from Slater demanding Chubby Hubby ice cream for Law and Order night to Jeff bawling "We always watched the shows SHE wanted to watch!"

  • Re: Jeff being a playboy. I think he's good looking and charming enough to get a reasonable amount of tail, but he's nowhere near the dog he paints himself to be. I mean, his ideal sexual escapade is "doing it twice." That's so like something a high-schooler would wish for, it's actually sort of endearing.

  • Loki100

    I forget what exactly he says in Introduction to Statistics, but he claims to have not had sex in a very long time. And then later at the STD fair, basically every woman he tried to call for a date rejected him. It was only with Dean Pelton's help he was able to get Sabrina, that and the fact that she was dumber than a box of rocks.

    So I really don't see Jeff as having much game. He has just enough that he can get a girl already in the mood.

  • NewlyRegisteredRandom

    Well in season one there was Slater, Britta, Lisa Rinna (twice!) and Amber for sex (all of them hot except for Lisa Rinna).  He made out with Annie, Sabrina…and Coach Bogner.  That is a pretty respectable year.

    He's tailed off in season 2 and 3; Britta is the only one that has been proven, though I'm presuming Quendra and the mall clerk from Modern Movement (check it's thread and I maintain that after she put it out there, he took her number and went out with her later, despite the seeming brush-off), call them 50:50.  I will also assume several other women that remain unseen (such as the girls in his phonebook, Tube-top REM concert, Cab driver at airport, Juror #5) are in his rotation. He also had a threesome in a hot air balloon.

    It would seem to me that Greendale is in fact sapping his life force.  Jeff definitely has game, look at how he got with Amber and Sabrina, though his looks certainly don't hurt his cause, but I feel like before Greendale; when he was making six figures, living in an expensive condo, wearing flash custom suits and walking around with his lawyer swagger, he probably was doing a lot better than he is now as a student of limited means, but at the end of the day he's tall, handsome, confident, well-dressed, brutally narcissistic and he knows how to tell people what they want to hear, and you don't need much more than that.

    Loki100, he said that thing in Intro to Stats because it was Chang's 'play'.

  • This and Beginner Pottery are the two episodes I remember least from; I don't know why. So I'm just rediscovering that Slater-Jeff breakup and the abruptness of it is HILARIOUS. It's almost like the writers were making a joke out of it.

  • Im sure Harmon was kind of making a joke out of it, because the stunt casting of McPhee kind of put him in that position. 

    its odd that she was even cast, I mean, this was a few years after McPhever had already subsided it wasn't like she was a hot commodity. guess her management was trying to establish a relationship with NBC.

  • its kind of like in Redux when the 'suits' want more of 'the asian guy, he pops!'.Pretty sure that was Harmon taking a shot at the NBC suits.

    I still blame network notes for the terrible Chang stories in 302 and 303. He was over the top in 301 too 

  • Yea, that's the stance I'm sticking with. Had to be a joke about the diminishing returns of romantic relationships on TV, how they often start and end so clumsily, and/or how bored they had gotten with Jeff-Slater. Also works as a jab at NBC for having to accommodate their non-Community-related whims.

  •  Los Pollos Hermanos (also LloydBraun , I guess…). Can I be stupid for a bit and ask why is McPhee so special? Everyone was so besides themselves when she got the Smash (Monday after the Superbowl) lead, and Community made a big deal out of getting her to guest star. I feel like I am supposed to have heard of her, but I honestly have no idea who she is.

  • well I don't really get it either, TBH. She won second place on American Idol like six years ago, I don't see why it's big deal. I mean, I'm not an AI watcher so I guess I'm not supposed to get it, but the AI fan base was the largest it ever was by ratings in her season (I think I read that recently) and she was quite popular. 

  •  It's weird to think that her fame is due to AI, considering that virtually nobody who won that show has put together anything resembling a decent career.

  • I don't get it either. She's like Channing Tatum–wooden, talentless, pretty faces (Tatum's not even that handsome) with apparently the best agents in Hollywood history. Tatum's success in particular really makes my skin crawl. He has hosted SNL and Joel McHale hasn't.

  • I always thought Channing Tatum was kinda ugly. That guy doesn't have anything going for him.

    McPhee has looks and a decent enough voice, but not much else.

  • That's just it – I don't even think she's that pretty. She looks kinda frumpy to me. Also I liked her better as a blonde on Community. She's pretty pedestrian (harumph! let me adjust my lady-monocle…).

  • I used to have a crush on her. She was the sole reason I watched that season of Idol she was on.

    But I don't find her as hot now as I once did.

  •  Channing Tatum's neck is thicker than his head. I don't understand how anyone can think of him as handsome (it doesn't help that he looks and sounds dumber than a brick).

    Katherine McPhee was also on SNL – as a musical guest in 2010 when Betty White hosted. Joel McHale was part of the Emmy-tones last year. Something's not right here.

  • Yea, Tatum's not handsome at all. Unless the generic d-bag meathead type is your thing. I think McPhee is damn cute, though.

  • Yeah. I think she's a very attractive lady still.

  • Whenever I hear stuff about "The Vow" all I can picture is Tatum and the other one as these two 
    http://theinfosphere.org/image…
    (God, I watch too much TV and it is NOT HEALTHY.)

  • For me, "Beginner Pottery" stands out only for the Boat-in-the-parking-lot class, except that I never remember which episode it's from (well, I do now after watching the DVDs 1 zillion times, but before that).

  •  I have to say that Britta's ass-whooping is still one of my all-time favorite scenes on the show. I especially love just how unfazed Jeff and Amber are when they open the door: they take one look at the room, and then take off.

    Here, I'll link to the whole thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

  • NewlyRegisteredRandom

    Clumsy breaking up of Jeff and Slater to accommodate a miscast guest star notwithstanding (someone like Sarah Hyland, Alyson Hannigan or hell, even Alison's co-star Lizzy Caplan would have worked better), I think that having them get broken up added a little bit or urgency to the events of the finale.

    Aside from that, this episode still has some great things;

    – The Bootynator
    – Chang's reactions to everyone's families in class.
    – Britta getting spanked.
    – 'Disappointing you is like choking the Little Mermaid with a bike chain.'
    – 'I hate Glee!'

    My MVPs are Shirley, Chang, Britta and Jeff.

  • Sarah Hyland? And some people think Jeff being with Annie is creepy……

  • NewlyRegisteredRandom

    I always figured that Amber and Annie were extremely close in age, and Sarah Hyland just looks young (she's 21).

  • newlyregisteredrandom I think that even though Brie and McPhee are close in age (with Brie actually a little bit older), I always assumed Amber was probably about McPhee's actual age rather than Annie's. So that would make her about six years older than Annie.

    But back to Sarah Hyland: Joel McHale is almost old enough to be her dad. Not to mention that she does look younger still. It would be almost like seeing him make out with a child. Especially considering that she was younger when that episode aired.

  •  

    NewlyRegisteredRandom

    She looks young on Modern Family, but she doesn't always look young…

    Hot…

    Also hot…

    And hot one more time…

    Looks kinda like Mila Kunis and Anne Hathaway had a baby.  I picked her because her character on Modern Family is exactly as I would envision a stepdaughter of Pierce (spoiled, materialistic, assertive) to be.  She would have been 19 when 118 aired, and Joel is definitely old enough to be her (very young, think high-school senior) father, but really…men never cradle-rob, and women neverdate older men (this is the same issue I have with all the supposed 'ickyness' of Jeff and Annie).

  • she loves Community. she knows quality 

  • That's all well and true but it doesn't change the fact that it would have been really really gross to see McHale making out with her. And I'd like to think I'm pretty damn open-minded when it comes to this.

    I have no problem with Jeff and Annie because the age difference between the characters isn't that significant, nor is the age difference between McHale and Brie. Neither grosses me out in the least. Lets assume Amber was Annie's age (which she probably was not, but just for argument), and Hyland was playing her. Amber making out with Jeff is not gross, no, but McHale making out with Hyland is.

  • NewlyRegisteredRandom

    Maybe, maybe not, but riddle me this…

    Assuming you're 38 and a hot 19 year old came on to you, would you halt the proceedings?

    It's par for the course for actors, James Mason had 37 years on Sue Lyon in Lolita and Patrick Wilson had 15 on Ellen Page in Hard Candy, and Bond girls? Roger Moore was 58 when he retired. As for Amber, I assumed she was 21-24, which is really little different from a 19 year old.

  • Those are all entirely different situations though. The age difference in Lolita, for instance, is a total requirement. To consciously create a situation – where such a young actress is not required for the role – where you have Joel McHale and Sarah Hyland make out with each other, is just very unsettling to me.

    Anyway…..this debate is as pointless as one you'd find in a YouTube comment section.

  •  REVIEW!!!! YAY!!!
    I'm  not the biggest fan of this episode and i think you kinda nail why.  The A-plot is a little flat by Community standards and i think it kinda drags the rest down.  I really enjoy the Troy-Britta plot and i agree that i think this is the quintessential Britta characterization.  Liberal and stubborn to the point it hurts her.  Plus we got Troy crying and no one can be amusing while crying than Donald Glover. 
    I also think the Abed-Shirley plot is sweet, and i love our one and only appearance of Rabbi Chang.  But the thing is i think the show can do an Amber type plot better than it did here.

    As to the Slater breakup it is sudden but as SbT says she was the one who always called the shots in their relationship.  I wish we had gotten some reason why it happened but i dont think it is too much to speculate that she might be a commitment-phobe and since their relationship had become open and known it basically spelled the end of it.  Just took her a while to realize

  • Randomest little thing, but I also liked that one of Jeff's examples of why they are family is that Pierce not only farted on Vaughn but called Jeff to tell him about it. The world really does need to see the Adventures of Pierce and Vaughn.

  • Nice work. Quick comments on the review:

    Annie's motivation seems pretty straightforward; she likes Pierce and wants to see him happy because she's a nice person. She probably enjoys manipulating Jeff, too, judging by the way she goes about it. As for Pierce being proud of his stepdaughter, it's pretty clear that he knows just about nothing about her; she was the only one that responded to his e-mail. He acts proud of her because he wants everyone else to think that he has a family, hence his constantly referring to her as his daughter.

  • SpongyandBruised

     This one's a little light, but that game of Pictionary is amazing.

  •  If only they would listen to Officer Cackowski, then we would all have a shoe safe.

  •  I do kind of wish we hadn't seen him look at the card. I think it would have been funnier if Cackowski's comment had been the first mention.

  • I love this episode just for Rabbi Chang. The rest of the episode is okay, but he makes it worth re-watching.

    Also, was it just me or did this episode have very little Annie? Her role was important but it felt like she barely got any screen time.

  • Spanish teacher? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds ben?!

  • I'm dropping!
    Honestly that guys face just makes me laugh

  •  Ok, the actor was pretty great.

  • Yeah, Rabbi Chang and the windmill were worth the price of admission.

  • I agree about Annie, it was kind of disheartening. She was only used when she was needed.

  • Rabbi Chang was good for a laugh, but as a sucker for continuity I am forced to forever see Chang as a scion of the increasingly rare Youtairen people.

    What I'm saying is, bit too cartoonish for my tastes.

  •  The rabbi Chang actor nailed the jewish mannerisms which is why i love him so much

  • Annie's barely in this, yeah, but she totally kills it. I know that I would do anything Alison Brie asked if she made that face at me.

  • great review. I'm glad it was posted after the discussion of Geography of Global Conflict last night. It's clear to me that a 'poor' season 1 episode is miles better than a bad season 3 episode like Geography. 

  • Geography is without a doubt my least favourite episode of the series.

  • todd's grading system is a little wonky. If any episode of this show deserved a C+ or a C it was Geography. I think Advanced Criminal Law is the only episode to get graded that low.

    It's also odd, since in the first episode review of the season Todd said he would be grading tougher this season since the show was so amazing, and that he would even give out an occasional C. well, that was your C episode.

  •  Didn't he give a C+ to Wine Tasting as well?  Because that truly was a C level episode. Advanced Criminal Law is actually quite funny, as is Global Conflict imo.

  • no Wine Tasting got a B-

  •  Yeah, that truly was deserving of a C+, but I guess Todd's a bit too attached to the show (which I don't mind at all).

  • i don't even think ACL was a C+, I would give it a B or a B-.

  • agreed eviljeff there are no C episodes in season 1 IMO

  • "Am I VanDerWerffing? Am I VanDerWerffing now?"

    Another burning question, why did VanDerWerff's ancestors insist on the ridiculous capitalisation? I know it's three words, but just go with "Van der Werff" then, JEEZ.

  • He's dutch. Dutch surnames are always either Capitalised like VanDerWerff or just weird like Helsdown (that's my second name)

  • Presumably, the "Evil" is German?

  • No one who speaks German could be an evil man.

  • Have you been watching more of The Simpsons? If so, I'm proud of you young man.

    Or is this just from previous knowledge, having already seen Cape Feare?

  • Used to be Helsduin or something?

  • I hold the Dutch to a higher standard just like Veronica!

    /Missing Better Off Ted

  • I completely forgot about Better off Ted. a lot of my friends who like Community and Parks and other good shows liked it, but it was never on my radar. I'll have to check it out sometime. 

  • Los Pollos Hermanos , it's on Netflix.  They never put out the S2 DVDs which is really, really sad as I would totally buy them.

  • Veridian Dynamics. We're Sorry. You're Welcome.

  • They were right though, we don't put herring on nearly as much food as people think.

  • Good review! This is what happens when I'm gone for a day, I miss a whole episode discussion.

    I thought your take on Britta's and Chang's developing characters and motivations were especially interesting. The spanking scene with Troy freaking out in the background is a great escalated payoff in an ep that wasn't exactly uproariously funny. It's yet another example of how Glover and Jacobs kick the whole thing up a notch just with their commitment to that one (extremely uncomfortable) gag. Both actors seem to understand and convey exactly what their characters are feeling, maybe even better than the writers do on this occasion.

    I didn't know who Katherine McPhee was the first time I saw "Genealogy," but I didn't think she was particularly bad. Honestly, it was a pretty simple part. My problem is more along the lines of Jeff having to learn such simple lessons about interacting with people throughout S1, as if he'd been totally successful and charming in the past without ever making a decision that put someone besides himself first. Not a big dealbreaker, though. I mean, I can buy that character, even if it's a somewhat simplified version compared to S2 and S3 Jeff. As long as they were making Jeff a cad, I'm kinda glad they had him say he slept with Amber (even if it's mostly for humorous effect) since they copped out with Sabrina and the first time he hit on Slater.

    Oh, and nice call on being character based vs. The Office being "situational." One of the unique effects of setting all of S1 on Greendale campus, I guess. The characters had to react to each other more than any other outside stimuli. Now that you mention it, even in the early seasons of The Office, a lot of episodes were just the characters consistently reacting to different kinds of stuff. Not always, but it wasn't really a show heavy on character revelations.

  • I think shows like Parks and Rec and, of course, Louie show a nice balance between them. Don't get me wrong, I like situation AND character based humour – there's nothing wrong with either of them , they're just two different styles.

  • sll03

    Nice review Evil Jeff!  10 switches out of 10!

    I am late to the party (again; I need to step up my game!) so everything I had to say about this episode has already been said by all the awesome people in this forum.  In spite of its flaws, I actually really enjoyed enjoyed Basic Genealogy and I'm glad to see some other people had a similar reaction.  Well done!

    Favourite Scene

    "Now I feel sorry for you."

    Makes me chuckle every time.