Episode 213: Celebrity Pharmacology
213: Celebrity Pharmacology 212
Contrary to what those on the outside might think, not every episode of Community is an outrageous concept episode. For every “Modern Warfare” and “Basic Lupine Urology,” there’s a low-key episode like “Origins of Vampire Mythology” or "The Psychology of Letting Go.” And “Celebrity Pharmacology” might be the lowest-key episode the show has ever done. In fact, it feels like an episode for another sitcom, one less intelligent and heady than Community.
As we start, the study group is rehearsing for a drug play to be performed for middle schoolers. Troy and Abed are bees who unwisely try drugs because they think it gives them an extra “buzzzzzzzzz”, Jeff and Britta are “cool cats,” Shirley is a crayon, and Pierce is Drugs (played as a giant marijuana leaf with no lines). Pierce wants his role to be bumped up, so he follows Annie, who’s running the show, to her apartment (something that seems out-of-character for him) and gives her money to pay rent, so he can seem nice when asking for a bigger role. She obliges without realizing what he’s really doing, and Pierce can finally be the star, after his claims that he was the “Gerber baby of moist towelettes” is revealed to be a lie. The changes start out small (“Don’t call me honey, honey!” is added to the script), but soon Pierce upstages everyone, sending mixed messages to the audience (“We want drugs! We want drugs!”) and leaving the other members wondering what’s going on. Meanwhile, Jeff has been sending text messages on Britta’s phone to a mysterious person named Marcus, who is revealed to be Britta’s teenage nephew, who’s going to see the show. Eew. Even worse, he’s revealed to be attracted to her, as he sends her an emoticon of a penis. Eeew. And when Jeff fesses up to Marcus at the show, he gives him one of Britta’s bras. Eeeeeew.
Soon, the show turns into a complete disaster. Kids in the audience are demanding drugs, Pierce refuses to go away, and Annie’s deal with Pierce is revealed to the group. But thankfully, help comes in the oddest place possible. Chang has been following Shirley around, and he agrees to take over the role of Drugs after Pierce is fired. And he does a good job portraying Drugs as a psychopath on the level of Buffalo Bill. His performance is so good that the audience attacks him. And at the end, Annie gives Pierce back his money, because she can’t rely on someone else any more. And Jeff (hopefully) learns never to send fake text messages again, although he probably should have told Annie that, given her actions in “Vampire Mythology.”
This just isn’t a very important episode. It feels shockingly inessential as a whole. Not that that’s bad all the time, but this episode just doesn’t have the laughs to make it that worthwhile. You could say that it sets up the “Evil Pierce” arc that would be so brilliantly handled in the next episode, “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.” After all, the Pierce who sabotages his friends’ show just to live up to his failed dreams is the same Pierce who makes a student’s life hell because he doesn’t want him taking his place. But otherwise, there’s little memorable things about the episode. And it doesn’t help that it feels more like a good episode of an ordinary sitcom than a great episode of this show. You could add in a laugh track, and it would play exactly the same. Both plots are based off of sitcom contrivances (will he spill the beans about the rent money?), and it even feels small. It would be a standout episode of most other sitcoms. Just not this one.
- “Who’s gonna be aware of a character with no lines?”
- Jim Rash is just so adorable in that bumblebee outfit.
- “And since you probably don’t have a cassette player, here’s a list of used ones on Craigslist.”
- I love the little detail of the police lights outside of Annie’s window.
- “If he wanted to rape you, you’d be raped.”
- “She still come?”
- Because of course Annie has a Charlie St. Cloud poster in her room.
- I liked the clever reveal of Pierce’s lie being the Hawthorne Wipes commercial. But I just may be a sucker for degraded footage that gives out exposition.
- “Next time you think about drugs, think about baseball instead!”
- “I’m drunk too… on love.” Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew.
- Jeff can’t even stop using his Blackberry when he’s supposed to be dead.
- “Jeff Winger even looks sexy in a coffin.” I love the sideways glance the girl in the audience gives the Dean after that.
- “I love you drugs!”
- “Next time I go to Dildopolis, I won’t be coming up the stairs to say hello.”
- For all its faults, Chang is handled better here than in many S2 episodes. “I’m gonna wear your little brother’s skin like pajamas!”
On the A.V. Club: http://www.avclub.com/articles/digital-estate-planning-the-first-chang-dynasty-in,73676/#comment-688476885 (page 546)