Glazomania: Redux – Episodes 57-62
Broken Toys (Presented by Wal-mart)
These episodes aren't necessarily bad, but there's usually something wrong with them, at least one glaring flaw. We all love Community here, so the lowest ranked will just be the episodes we like that have obvious problems. Also note that the scores are extremely close and will be for most of the rest of the episodes on the list, and any tiny differences are important.
62. Asian Population Studies (212) (Average Score – 61.20)
(Average Grade – 2.69/B-) (Average Rank – 50.3) (High Rank – 18) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.765)
Now that's odd: I was expecting this episode to be much higher, given how many notable and vocal supporters it seemed to have. Like GCC it suffers from the same plotting and pacing issues, albeit to a lesser extent. The Winger speech is still the best the show has produced, and Troy's ode to the sexiness of Halloween and rotting pumpkins is PHRASING!!! at its best. Even Chang gets an uncharacteristically solid plot, which allows him to be both batshit insane and somehow integral to the group's cohesion (except for the baffling, lame gag of him on the bookshelf). But the episode is dragged down by the awful, graceless, resolution to the Shirley pregnancy plot. Granted, Troy has never been the most articulate or thoughtful speaker, but even so, his blurting out Shirley's secret qualifies as one of the laziest moments in the entire show – a half-assed payoff to a cringeworthy plot. It's the narrative equivalent of Jeff shrugging Rich off in mid-sentence, except not funny or relevant to the character. It's worse than bad: it's good enough.
– Semi-bored Torontonian
61. Advanced Criminal Law (105) (Average Score – 61.21)
(Average Grade – 2.71/B-) (Average Rank – 53.8) (High Rank – 27) (Low Rank – 69) (Standard Deviation – 0.505)
This is not a bad episode by any means, but isn't that why Dan Harmon so often talks about "pizza episodes?" Even the so-so ones can be delicious. So here is a typical early Season 1 episode where the series was still working to find its voice. Looking back, we can see several now iconic elements are introduced here (Leonard! The Luis Guzman statue! The Dean's first real interaction with the study group!). On the other hand, it's an episode with three largely predictable storylines that never quite transcend classic sitcom tropes. Laugh out loud moments throughout, but episodes before and shortly after used similar tropes for much stranger and more innovative scenarios. You can sense many essential components of the series starting to really jell: Troy and Abed's almost telepathic friendship, the familial vibe of Pierce and Annie, the relationship between Jeff and Britta as something more complex than the standard Sam and Diane "will they or won't they?" coupling. These elements would start to see more fruitful execution within just a few episodes.
60. The Art of Discourse (122) (Average Score – 61.47)
(Average Grade – 2.72/B-) (Average Rank – 50.3) (High Rank – 23) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.787)
Setting aside an unshakeable irritation with the teenagers and my own aversion to Lisa Rinna, there are many redeeming and amusing aspects of AOD. Jeff and Britta bond hilariously (you have to bang that kid's mom!) over mutual age-related insecurity, Troy and Abed embark on several Animal House-style freshman year college adventures, while Pierce and Shirley find common ground. Added to the Community universe in this episode: the City College "escape goat," Pierce's "flat-butt and the one Abed wants to nail," Boob-A-Tron 4000, Troy and Abed in togas, Pierce practicing wooing chicks with his guitar, and the cafeteria food fight that featured "Party Where Your Heart Is" from the Season 1 soundtrack. Of particular amusement is the lyric "I hate science/unless it helps me build a robot/specifically the kind programmed to find another party so I can skip Chemistry." The Pierce/Shirley scene in the library is genuinely sweet as they find mutual understanding and respect for one another…until Pierce leans in for the kiss. Even with its share of irritations and tendency to be overlooked — perhaps owing to its placement between "Contemporary American Poultry" and "Modern Warfare" — there are plenty of laughs throughout this enjoyable, if lower tier, season one episode.
59. Interpretive Dance (114) (Average Score – 62.88)
(Average Grade – 2.78/B-) (Average Rank – 51.2) (High Rank – 26) (Low Rank – 69) (Standard Deviation – 0.559)
When it comes to the “weaker” episodes of Community, we are speaking in relative terms (or at least I am, as I think every episode is at least somewhat great). In “Interpretive Dance,” there are plenty of moments that I like to cite, quote, or just think about in real life: Jeff’s line about “six lovable but annoying misfits” appearing as soon as the blinds open, Pierce’s zinger about theatrical dynamite despite cultural unacceptability, the astutely observed conversation about dance being a typically feminine pursuit, to name a few. Ultimately, this episode just doesn’t have a classic feel to it. Jeff’s hesitancy about the boyfriend/girlfriend labeling, though believable, doesn’t go much beyond typical sitcom fare. Like a lot of lesser episodes, “Interpretive Dance” would have been insufferable if it had been an episode of a cookie-cutter sitcom, but it is reasonably enjoyable thanks to the human beings of Community.
58. The Politics of Human Sexuality (111) (Average Score – 63.61)
(Average Grade – 2.81/B-) (Average Rank – 50.1) (High Rank – 21) (Low Rank – 67) (Standard Deviation – 0.587)
Whenever I rewatch Community I never end up watching this episode. It's a shame, because there's some great stuff to this episode. I like the friendship between Shirley, Britta and Annie! I like Troy and Abed – who luckily get seperated from the main plot! I really love every little detail that the props/set decorating department put into every flier, booth or wheel of remorse – which helps to shape the uniqueness that is Greendale. However: I don't need an episode flat out telling me that Jeff is shallow, Pierce oversells himself or that Annie is comfortable with being uncomfortable about her own sexuality! Community is great with sub-text, but this episode really doesn't do anything to prove that. This episode ends up being an example of the show trying to find its' footing in the original episode order and falling very short of the high expectations we give the show in hindsight.
– Dr. Regina Phalange
57. Intro to Political Science (217) (Average Score – 63.66)
(Average Grade – 2.81/B-) (Average Rank – 50.0) (High Rank – 18) (Low Rank – 67) (Standard Deviation – 0.581)
Intro to Political Science is where the cracks in the Annie and Jeff ship start to show. This episode is the older sibling of another bottom of the list episode, Geography of Global Conflict. The A story pits Jeff & Annie against each other in a political battle to be the leader of GCC's student government and meet Joe Biden during his "Biden' Time, Talkin' About Teaching" tour of community colleges. Wouldn't you know it, Annie is optimistic about being able to make positive change and Jeff is cynical about the political process.
The highlight of the episode is Troy & Abed's coverage of the election for Greendale TV and Eliza Coupe's guest spot as the object of Abed's affection. Britta, Pierce, and Shirley all get some standout moments in the episode, but they are pretty much sidelined. There are some great episodes where two or more characters find themselves on the sidelines, but episodes like this help highlight that this show is at its best when the ensemble is fully utilized.
– The reaction to candidate Britta
– the news ticker on GCTV
– "It's like god spilled a person"
– Jeff's speeches and the way he pronounces Maria
– Troy "Butt Soup" Barnes
– Garrett's profile: http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…