Glazomania: Redux – Episodes 63-71

The Opposite of Batman Episodes (Presented by AT&T)

Community3x12_0136

71. Competitive Wine Tasting (220) (Average Score – 37.48)
(Average Grade – 1.67/C-) (Average Rank – 68.2) (High Rank – 59) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.619)
Well, one episode was bound to come in last place and it should come as no surprise this came in last. By Community standards, “Competitive Wine Tasting” is a lazy episode, that doesn't fit the show’s scheme. This episode, for the most part, is just completely unfocused. None of the plots connected with each other as well as they could have been. Not only is the lack of focus frustrating, but also the complete abandonment of the “Pierce is evil” storyline. It’s like they completely forgot about it. But out of all this, this episode still has some funny moments like Troy saying, “My emotions, MY EMOTIONS!” and Chang in the background saying, “Snap!”.
– Reuelb5427

70. Contemporary Impressionists (312) (Average Score – 45.76)
(Average Grade – 2.03/C) (Average Rank – 63.5) (High Rank – 27) (High Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.862)
“Contemporary Impressionist” is just a flat out weird episode. That doesn't necessarily mean it’s a bad episode, just…. weird. This episode has a good concept, but has problems putting everything together. “Contemporary Impressionist” features some decent character development from Jeff and this episode almost serves entirely as a set-up for future Community episodes (i.e. Evil Abed, Chang mini army). Despite being one of the worst episodes of Community, this episode has some great moments, like Troy and Britta both impersonating Michael Jackson and Britta saying, “You have an unusually high buttcrack!”.
– Reuelb5427

69. Geography of Global Conflict (302) (Average Score – 45.79)
(Average Grade – 2.04/C) (Average Rank – 63.1) (High Rank – 26) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.859)
Along with "Asian Population Studies," "Studies in Modern Movement" and a number of other episodes, GCC suffers from pacing and plotting issues. The concept is solid though: a number of major characters evolve in organic and fundamental ways: Britta abandons her hippie poser attitude and actually figures out what she wants to do with her life, Jeff finally articulates how he feels about Annie, and Annie understands his logic, but is not yet ready to accept it on an emotional level. Even Chang changes (ha!): like Britta, he finds an outlet to express his innermost desire, except, of course, the results are less heartwarming and more heart stopping. Sadly, however, only a few of these plot strands are properly developed. While the Model UN bits are very funny ("The tropical paradise of Somalia…"), Annie spends most of the episode in a shrill haze, and Britta's "protests" come awfully, uncomfortably close to something Family Guy may find humorous.
– Semi-bored Torontonian

68. Course Listing Unavailable (318) (Average Score – 50.17)
(Average Grade – 2.23/C+) (Average Rank – 59.3) (High Rank – 20) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.837)
What a great opening. That's what sprung to mind while re-watching this Season 3 episode. And it really is. Unfortunately, once that's over, Course Listing Unavailable goes off the rails. We see the group act unusually cruel to Greendale and an all round poorly executed second act drags the whole episode down. There are some fantastic character moments, especially involving Troy, but Chang's riot, his subsequent coup and the study groups expulsion all seem forced. As a single episode, even the emotive moments don't have the pay off as other episodes in the same season, never mind throughout Community's run. Chang as a character reaches one of his low points in this CLU, completely transforming into a cartoonish super villain with his own gang of henchmen and everything. The selfishness of the group which, when aimed at each other, often seems like an expression of love or a cry for attention from one another, turns into a cruel attack on Greendale and the Dean. Course Listing Unavailable makes me think we've been watching a different study group this whole time.
– HectorTheWellEndowed

67. Custody Law and European Diplomacy (218) (Average Score – 50.70)
(Average Grade – 2.24/C+) (Average Rank – 59.7) (High Rank – 35) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.731)
A Chang-centric episode is always going to be tricky. Especially since ‘Custody Law’ continues the underwhelming ‘Who’s the Daddy?’ storyline which most fans will agree would’ve been best kept as a one-off joke in a certain Zombie episode. Thusly, the A-story represents a missed opportunity for a real, Chang-less Shirley and Andre episode. The B-story gets some solid laughs out of Enver Gjokaj’s amusing accent but is overall fairly throwaway.
– FezDispenser

66. Basic Genealogy (118) (Average Score – 52.05)
(Average Grade – 2.31/C+) (Average Rank – 60.2) (High Rank – 17) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.704)
Basic Genealogy reminds me a lot of Celebrity Pharmacology in a way. Both aren't terrible, but they feel like they belong to a different show than Community; a more standard sitcom, where plot points are based off of keeping secrets and misunderstandings. It doesn't help that the least interesting plot in the episode (with Jeff and Pierce's stepdaughter) gets the most time in the episode, when Katharine McPhee isn't that great of a screen presence (not that that should dissaude you from WATCHING SMASH!). The rest of the plots fare better (though I might have preferred more time spent with them), and Troy and Britta's plot culminates in one of my favorite images of the first season, Troy breaking down while Britta gets switched. For that image alone, I can't give it anything in the C-range, but it still sits in the lower ranks of the show, a perfectly fine episode for many other sitcoms, but kind of a disappointing one for this sitcom.
– TheNarratorReturns

65. Celebrity Pharmacology (213) (Average Score – 52.56)
(Average Grade – 2.33/C+) (Average Rank – 59.9) (High Rank – 34) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.691)
Celebrity Pharmacology is not among the very small number of Community episodes I actively dislike. It has a number of minor pleasures, as virtually all episodes of Community do. Still, by the standards of the show, this is a very weak episode indeed. The humor is not particularly strong; the clowning around of Pierce and Chang on stage isn't nearly as funny as it could be. There is a rather dumb and inexplicable subplot involving Britta's nephew which is only redeemed by Abed's metatextual disgust for the stupidity of the whole thing; his stony, wordless glare at Jeff is one of the episode's most memorable moments. It's as if he perceives the weakness of the storyline more than the writers did. The Chang and Shirley subplot bogs the episode down even further. Neither Chang nor Shirley comes off particularly well, for though Chang is horrifically creepy, I still find Shirley's remark that it would be inhuman to remind her that she ever stooped so low as to sleep with him rather despicable. I love the relationship between Pierce and Annie as it was developed in Season 2, but even that doesn't quite work here. I find the scene in Annie's apartment rather effective, but I have a hard time buying that Annie would accept Pierce's help so easily, and an even harder time buying that she would allow him to hold it over her head for so long. Pierce's treatment of Annie later in the episode also strikes me as too cruel to the member of the group he would identify as his favorite. Still, I find it impossible to entirely dislike an episode that provides as much insight into Annie's standard of living as this one. The image of Annie living in such a comically girlish apartment above a dildo store is a beautifully surrealistic expression of her circumstances, and for that alone I can rank this episode above the series true low points.
– DavetheDoucheBag

64. Competitive Ecology (303) (Average Score – 53.33)
(Average Grade – 2.36/C+) (Average Rank – 56.6) (High Rank – 22) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.827)
When looking at a list of the very best episodes of Community, one may notice that Chang does not appear in a bunch of episodes. When he does, it's usually only briefly, but in a memorable fashion (AD&D, Modern Warfare, etc.) Thus, the fact that almost half of Competitive Ecology deals with a Chang plot that doesn't involve any of the other main characters (except for Dean at the end) is a red flag. While there are some good jokes in Chang's plot, it's hard to care about and it doesn't really feel like a Community plot. My main gripe with the A-story is that the members of the study group don't behave like their characters should. It's disconcerting how much the characters have regressed if you compare this episode to season 1's Investigative Journalism. While there are some good gags such as "palomino" and the list making, Competitive Ecology is ultimately a low-tier Community episode.
– Digifreak642

63. Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts (222) (Average Score – 55.27)
(Average Grade – 2.45/C+) (Average Rank – 56.8) (High Rank – 32) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.726)
Applied Anthropology is one of those episodes that I would skip in a rewatch. It's a bottle episode that features the final exit of our favorite Psych professor. Duncan's quick exit immediately after the credits pretty much signals how the rest of the episode is going to go. Shirley's having her baby and it's a major disappointment for those of us that hoped Harmon would laugh at the whole convention and have it happen off-screen.

Chang gets some good lines about the legend of Chang babies and Britta's reaction to the beauty of child birth is pretty funny. Troy, Abed, and Pierce get the C-story and pretty much nothing happens. Annie is also in the episode. The best part about this episode is that the money saved by doing it probably allowed the epic double paintball episode that closes out the season.

Highlights:
– "Throw paper balls at her until she sits down!"
– "All Changs are born with tails"
– Callback to Abed already delivering a baby, and that it wasn't worth mentioning to anyone else in the group when it happened.
– Duncan literally runs for it: http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

– Thedirte

Next group up is Pizza is Pizza (Presented by Eugenio's) that starts with a bit of a surprise……

 

30 LIKES

http://www.avclub.com/articles/digital-estate-planning-the-first-chang-dynasty-in,73676/#comment-746882190 (page 689)

 

Discussion:

    • Pizza is Pizza (Presented by Eugenio's) most likely won't be posted until a couple days after Christmas, I'm guessing at the earliest.

      Also, thank you to reuelb, SBT, Hector, Fez, Narrator, Dave, Digifreak and thedirte for providing the above write-ups. Nice work, guys!

    • DavetheDouchebag

      It was my pleasure, good sir, I assure you.

    • I still think most of y'all are underrating CI, but whatevs. I'm cool with it. 

    • Give me some (sad) fivesies, agreeabuddy!

    • /high fives SBT, but in a much more somber manner than normal

    • Considering the mutiny that occurred after CI, versus the general good-natured dislike of CWT, I'm surprised it didn't end up last.

    •  The difference is that nobody liked CWT, but there were people vocally defending CI.

    • The thing is, every episode had its defenders in this group except for Wine Tasting. Note that the high rank for every other episode is much higher than Wine Tasting's. Also note that the standard deviation is considerably higher for most of the other episodes. 

      While other episodes inspire more passionate dislike, there's no episode that is more consistently considered a weak episode ofCommunity than "Competitive Wine Tasting".

    •  Aawww, poor CWT, I almost feel like I should give it a hug…

    • CWT is the worst. Not in an endearing, Britta-esque way, either. It is pretty much unredeemable. 

    •  I feel like we should form some sort of support group.

    • Speaking of agreeabuddies, Capt. Blicero has a formula that determined each of our top 5 agreeabuddies and top 5 disagreeabuddies. I'm sure he'll reveal these sorts of statistics after the list is posted completely. I'm really excited for that!

    • yay! i'll finally have friends!

    • I was about to say, "Friends are overrated," but then I realized I don't agree with that philosophy.

    • CI doesn't get enough ridicule. It's the show indulging the worst impulses of its comedy writing in season 3. I can't overstate how bad the jokes are. Plus the character development is flawed.

    • Worst impulses I can agree with, but I don't particularly take issue with character development in CI, especially when you compare it to the epic disservice that is CE. 

    • The basic germ of the episode is related to the George Clooney impersonator he hired back at the beginning of season 2. But I don't like how they made Jeff hulk out, the apple crap, and evil Abed was presented in full view.

    • GGC finished higher than CI? very surprising. 

    • HectorTheWellEndowed

      Martin Starr guarantees you an extra couple of percentage points.

    • I'm not surprised. 

      mustache twirl

    • Making fun of the UN can absolve many sins…

      Well except those committed by the UN.

    • I was going to say I found the low ranking of Basic Genealogy surprising…until I looked back and realized I ranked it 70.  Oops.  The Troy and Britta subplot really is a great one, especially for how it takes advantage of Britta's tendency to be politically correct to a fault, but that A plot is from a much lesser show…say, SMASH!!!! (Come at me, Greenblatt!)

      I actually can't figure why I ranked Pharmacology as high as I did (61) because it really is a terrible episode (for what it's worth, I gave both D-minuses).  I do like the Annie-Pierce relationship in it, but it was done much more effectively–if subtly–in Modern Movement.  His very paternal refusal to let her get dinged on her security deposit and insistence on fixing the place up is really a sweet moment–she really is his favorite.

    • I was surprised at its low placement as well. I think it's easily better than Pharmacology

    • I don't think I've ever understood why Basic Genealogy is so lustily disliked; the only explanation I've ever gotten is that Katharine McPhee isn't great. There are a lot of things I like about it very much.

    • Despite McPhee's brilliant performance, ranging from "happy confused face" to "sad confused face" the plot in which she is involved really is below Community standards.  I mean, "guy hits on girl who turns out to be his friend's stepdaughter who's just after his money" is reaaaaaally bordering on 2.5 Men territory.  And while any synopsis blurb can sound like a terrible sitcom plot until Community gets ahold of it, they didn't exactly turn it on its head.

      Though it did give us "Disappointing you is like choking the Little Mermaid with a bike chain" and The Danger of Pictionary Windmills, Part I, so there's that.

    • Like Narrator says, it feels too ordinary for Community. It doesn't deserve to be quite that low, but it's clearly the weakest season 1 episode.

    • SpongyandBruised

      It also abruptly interrupts the Jeff/Slater thing.

    • SpongyandBruised I liked the Jeff/Slater thing (more than most, it seems) and the idea that they ended it prematurely because NBC want to shoehorn McPhee into an episode does not increase my enjoyment of Genealogy at all. 

    • DavetheDouchebag

      I don't think it's lustily disliked, really. People just tend to find it a mediocre episode for Community, which I can't really disagree with. Still, it has plenty of redeeming qualities, and I could see how someone would enjoy it a lot.

    • Stephen77  and Capt. Blicero : Did you split up the chunks of episodes presented at once based on some split in the stats (like the next group averages much higher in some way or another?) or just by groups of 10?  Just curious…

    • I think we should do groups of 5. We've got plenty of time.

    • The first method. Blicero divided up each group by the way their average score clustered together.

    • Cool.  By the way….HUGE THANKS to you and Blicero for organizing this whole thing!

    • Art of Discourse may escape the 60s!

    • I have a feeling it's in the next batch.

    • love Art of Discourse!

      Next 5 out should be (in some order): Studies in Modern Movement, ACL, Urban Matrimony, Interpretive Dance, Pilot.  IMO of course.  

    • There's a little surprise in the next group. I won't give away which episode but it surprised both myself and the person who wrote on it. I might message Blicero about it actually, because, looking at its average grade and rank, I think it should be a place higher.

    • Stephen77 I'm going to bet the long odds and guess it's RCT.

    • That's because you're the SCHMIDTY! DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    • I figured Ecology would end up low on the list, but damn. I love that episode.

      I've also never understood the specific vitriol towards Applied Anthropology. Sure, Shirley being pregnant in the first place was a dumb idea, but I think they handled the end of it well, all things considered, and I've always found the episode to be pretty funny.

    •  I love Ecology. The Chang plot is far too weird for my taste, but the Todd story is fantastic.

    • I think Ecology had the potential to be a great episode, but the Chang plot is a huge miss and, frankly, I agree with digifreak that the study group just goes too far. I buy that they've become a very insular, exclusionary group but I don't buy that these characters are that mean.

      I don't think it's the worst episode of the series, but I think it's roughly in the right spot (I had it 66th).

    • I really like Applied Anthropology by the way, but it never got higher than 61 on my list. Community is just so good yo.

      (I can also say the same about Basic Genealogy which got 59 on my list.)

    • I didn't expect Geography to be punished that much, much less have nearly the exact statistical profile of CI. I would have thought CLU or even Ecology would be in its place.

      The reaction to Geography was fairly positive, while Ecology provoked a sizable backlash. I like Ecology, btw.

    • Just to clarify something, in case there was any confusion, the standard deviation is for the average score.

    • I'm not sure if people understand how terrible Wine Tasting's score is. The difference between it and the next episode is the same distance that spans 25 episodes later on. 11 people have it ranked last. Another 11 ranked second to last. That means about half thought it was one of the two worst episodes ever. And if you noticed the highest rank, it was only 59. 
       
      My question is, is this really our worst episodes? Geography has more obvious flaws like its ending and treatment of Annie. CI rubs most people the wrong way. When Dan Harmon was asked the worst episode of the second season, he did talk about Wine Tasting, but then he decided on another episode as the worst of the season. I'll talk about that one when it's posted…. 
       
      It seems like we all made a decision that Wine Tasting is the worst one. Why is that? Does it deserve this universal scorn? Look at the standard deviation for the episode. It's low compared to the others, even though generally the lower the score, the higher the standard deviation. We just all agree that it's a terrible episode. So if we really want to give the episode that distinction, I want to have a comprehensive discussion of why. (Though I imagine a season 4 episode will quickly take that spot, we do need a Harmon-era representative.)

    • I ranked it as the 4th worst. I don't think it's a terrible episode of Community, but it's probably the most forgettable. I like Stephen Tobolowsky so it gets points for that. There are some funny moments with Troy and Garrity, but that plot has some icky rape jokes. The Pierce plot is one of the least interesting plotlines in Community history.

    • Geography is merely egregiously ordinary while Wine Tasting could be thrown out altogether. I can't forgive the fact that the producers even talk about CWT as a just a filler episode they had to make because they mismanaged resources. It stinks of early Harmon-bored-with-the-show, too, because he felt the need to add Abed's terrible one-note plot for a "left turn".

    • I think it's that not only is it one of the weaker episodes, it is also utterly forgettable. There's nothing to make this episode stand out and inspire people to defend it.

    • LloydBraun you know, I like the first half of Geography. It was on track to be a fun episode. But I find the Britta subplot absolutely trash, whereas the Abed-Tobolowsky subplot at least has content and Tobolowsky. The resolution of Geography is a Spartacus fart joke. Yeah, that's right: they combined a cliche with a fart joke. There's also an Annie breakdown and a weird scene with Jeff and Annie that seems so out of place they made fun of it on the commentary. Later in an interview Bobrow talked about how he didn't come into the season prepared and fucked up the episode. I think that's why so many mistakes were made in writing and plotting. Harmon and others were probably busy grappling with RCT. 
       
      Wine Tasting? Harmon complained that there's no point to the episode. Jeff is jealous Pierce is scoring a chick he can't. Troy wants to feel special. And then there's an egregious error with the rape jokes. But why does that make it worse than Geography or some of the others? There's a clear separation in the grades, but I don't see the clear separation in the episode. Geography started off nicely and is marred by glaring errors, while Wine Tasting is a pointless Pierce regression with rape jokes and an odd little Abed aside.

      Edit: being forgettable is a sin, but some things are remembered because they are terrible. I remember the flaws of CI and Geography. I do, however, remember the joke in Wine Tasting about how Thai is to China as Mexican food is to the US. I love that joke a lot, which is perhaps why I don't abhor it.

    • I don't necessarily disagree. It's just more apparent they actually tried with Geography and it's funnier than CWT.

      A lot of people must have hit it extra hard for Troy's lie about being molested. I didn't hold it against the episode considering there are plenty of rape jokes elsewhere in the show. Remember when the Deanactually molested a sleeping Chang and called it an "adult backrub"?

    • They took the Dean to some terrible places in the third season, but at that point the rape joke was both disgusting and novel.

    • I don't recall the "adult backrub" joke. Context?

    • Whoops, I thought were already fully nested in Disqus LloydBraun. Anyway, they tried with Geography, but it's a structural failure during construction, whereas the blueprints were the problem with Wine Tasting. What's worse? Basic writing errors and a completely shitty B-plot? Or the pointless pizza of Wine Tasting? 
       
      And does anyone else think the Britta Barbie Doll B-plot it the worst the show has ever done? I was embarrassed.

    • I'm with you Blicero – Geography is a lot more offensively bad to me than CWS.  CWS is just boring.  Geography is cringeworthy.  If I was going to have to show one of the two to someone who had never seen Community before, I would go with CWS every time.

    • I buy that as Britta tempted one last time by her former life before she dives into Human Psych. Plus, it gave us Gillian's brilliant n-words rant. There are like 10 worse Chang plots alone.

    • I counter with this picture, which is supposed to be part of the resolution of both plots, and I would also add that it is in fact also a Chang plot. There were some funny jokes in the beginning — the first half of the episode is excellent — but all episodes have funny jokes.

    • Stop making me defend an episode I put 65th!

      CWT didn't have to be pointless. At its spot in season 2 there were still plenty of threads it could have pursued, like Annie-Pierce so their story in the finale wouldn't be so abrupt, more Dark Pierce, or Troy's maturation. After all, it's the first major exploration of Troy and Britta as a potential romantic pair but the opportunity to set up Jeff and Troy "butting antlers" (especially after CFS where Troy showed jealousy of Jeff and Abed) was wasted. Instead they chose a rehash of the basic Jeff-Pierce conflict, the Who's the Boss plot that makes an absolute mockery of Abed's character, and the aforementioned Troy-Britta plot. Three bad plots with really no redeeming substance. I also think it's easier to forgive Geography because it came earlier in the season and there isn't as much riding on it.

    • What actually hurt CWT is its position around Critical Film Studies, which very nearly drove Harmon insane. The episodes surrounding it are weak and pretty low-concept. 
       
      I'd like to hear from more people about Wine Tasting and why it's the worst.

    • For what it's worth, Close-watcher had a nice reading on the Jeff-Annie couch chat: http://www.avclub.com/articles…

    • I'd like to hear from more people about Wine Tasting and why it's the worst. 

      IT WAS CHRISTMAS EVE BLICERO

      CHRISTMAS
      WE WERE BUSY CHRISTMASING

    • I wouldn't say it's terrible, even though I did have it last.  I would say it's more the least good than the most terrible.  All the other episodes with bad reputations have some redeeming aspect for me.  CWI has that a little with Abed's storyline, but it's nothing special.

    • DavetheDouchebag

      Yikes, my paragraph really was too long. I'll try and be more restrained with my thoughts for the upcoming Pascals paragraph.

    • I hope this doesn't mean that Pascals is in the next batch of episodes.  That would be way too low

    • Was probably expecting CI to be higher but not too many surprises yet. Though I don't have too much analysis to offer I do enjoy greedily scanning these chunks of ranked goodness as soon as they go up! Looking forward to the next batch! (insert the phrase 'fresh from the oven' somewhere in there).

      Edit: Oh, no biggie, but autocorrect has changed Chang to Change (that's fun to say!) in my paragraph.

    • Weird that I didn't notice that. I just edited it for you.

    • Stephen77 Will you be putting the ballots up for public viewing after the entire list is revealed? I'm curious. 

    • I don't know. That's up to Blicero. I actually don't quite have every list (Blicero's).

    • I want to keep each grader's privacy. The anonymity is important because we didn't say we'd release the grades and it lets people vote without ridicule, which is mostly a good thing.

    • Capt. Blicero fair enough.  though I am curious as to who had GCT in their top 20's….

    • What, why not? Affectionately ridiculing people for differing opinions is one of my favorite things about this board.

    • I plan on posting my list after the entire list is revealed.  I guess it's being left up to everyone whether or not they want to do the same.

    • The only one so far I (somewhat) deviate significantly from is "Custody Law…"