Glazomania: Redux – Episodes 14-19

Conflict Resolution (Presented by Classified Phoenix Taco Meat: Classic Flavour!)

All of these episodes share one significant thing in common: external conflict that often involves the study group in direct competition with each other or some other individual(s), whether that's in the court room, debating, facing down zombies, a bully or a pool teacher, or beginning another round of paintball.

Community3x17_0092

19. Basic Lupine Urology (317) (Average Score – 82.27)
(Average Grade – 3.62/A-) (Average Rank – 24.2) (High Rank – 6) (Low Rank – 54) (Standard Deviation – 8.54)
Community has done more than its fair share of genre episodes, but Basic Lupine Urology hews unusually close to the source material; right from the beginning of the special title sequence, it is clear that this is a Law and Order episode. There are more jokes in the episode that require knowledge of the source material than in earlier homage episodes, which isn't ideal, as the Troy and Abed plot that takes up much of the first half of the episode feels like an inferior rehash of the Shirley-Annie plot in The Science of Illusion. But Basic Lupine Urology manages to be entertaining even for a viewer who has never seen an episode of Law and Order.

Where the episode shines is in the Jeff and Annie plot that occupies its back half. Many of the best episodes of the first three semesters feature a plot involving Jeff and Annie, but starting with Political Science episodes with the two increasingly came to be bogged down in attempts at will-they-or-won't-they drama. With sexual tension largely shelved for a week, we get to see what drew people to put Jeff and Annie together in the first place. With these two fully realized characters bouncing off each other, the episode is a delight to watch, and it certainly doesn't hurt that Megan Ganz's script is one of the funniest of Season 3.
– Janine Restrepo

18. Physical Education (117) (Average Score – 82.69)
(Average Grade – 3.63/A-) (Average Rank – 23.2) (High Rank – 4) (Low Rank – 58) (Standard Deviation – 10.43)
Physical Education stands as one of Season 1's best because it's able to legitimately approach questions about confidence and one's own self-perception while simultaneously being balls-out funny. (And after seeing a fully disrobed Coach Bogner, you know how frighteningly accurate that description can be.) The episode also offers some exquisite character development for Abed. Rather than a cipher who exclusively relies on pop culture references to express himself, Abed is revealed to have a fully formed personality of his own, with self esteem flowing out of his butt (to put it in his own words). He's fully confident in who he is, to the point where he is willing to temporarily change for his friends just to make them happy. This reveal inspires Britta to (or at least attempt to) shrug off the group's mocking of her pronunciation of common words, and most importantly, imbues Jeff with the bravery to choose shorts.

And that's fortunate for us, because it happens to lead into one of the most purely hilarious sequences Community ever produced. From the constant one-upmanship between Jeff and Bogner, to an inspired homage to The Color of Money (hey, that's two Scorsese tributes within five episodes of each other!), everything about the scene is pure gold. On top of that, the entire episode turns out to be eminently quotable and memorable from the word go. You've got a Leonard appearance. Abed's Don Draper impression. "Baggel". Pierce's little blink-and-you-miss-it jig while everyone laughs at Britta. And a contender for "best tag ever", Abed and Troy's absurd Bert and Ernie impression. (R.I.P. Demetri)
– Melted Kojak

17. Comparative Religion (112) (Average Score – 83.05)
(Average Grade – 3.65/A-) (Average Rank – 23.9) (High Rank – 6) (Low Rank – 58) (Standard Deviation – 8.54)
The show's first Christmas episode, "Comparative Religion" doesn't go for the stylistic approaches of "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" or "Regional Holiday Music", instead telling a simple, grounded story about Shirley wanting Jeff not to get into a fight, because Christmas. It also manages some insight into how a group of people with widely varying personal and cultural backgrounds can still come together and find shared moments during the holiday season. Fortunately, it's not all boring lesson-learning, as "Comparative Religion" is one of the funniest episodes of Community as well.
– Stingo

16. Epidemiology (206) (Average Score – 84.26)
(Average Grade – 3.70/A-) (Average Ranking – 21.3) (High Rank – 3) (Low Rank – 70) (Standard Deviation – 10.27)
Community does many things well, but one of my favourite things is it’s ability to take totally absurd situations and make them feel… almost real. Epidemiology may stretch the boundaries of reality for Community, a secret virus that turns people into zombies from the government that the dean just happens to get for the Halloween party? Yeah, that’ll never happen in real life, but somehow Community makes it work. Maybe it’s because everyone’s reactions feel genuine for their characters, and we get to see new sides to some of them like Rich starting to show cracks in his perfect facade… that everyone immediately forgets due to the mindwipe at the end. Maybe it’s because it’s Halloween and zombies don’t seem so crazy on Halloween. Maybe it’s because ABBA and zombies go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and we just didn’t realize it. Sure it’s not completely perfect (again, a secret government zombie virus is purchased so easily it’s ridiculous), and it did start the Shirley/Chang pregnancy arc that most people would rather forget, but within the episode, everything makes sense.
– bongoes

15. A Fistful of Paintballs (223) (Average Score – 84.70)
(Average Grade – 3.73/A-) (Average Rank – 20.7) (High Rank – 2) (Low Rank – 64) (Standard Deviation – 13.52)
It was inevitable they would attempt a follow up to perhaps the most well known, widely praised episode of Season 1 and inevitable that they would try to top it in every way. This episode ups the ante right from the start. While MW had a deceptively normal-seeming cold open, AFOP starts with crazed action from the very first scene and keeps a pretty frantic pace throughout. AFOP is a little more esoteric and maybe a little more focused than MW — while Modern Warfare slyly referenced dozens of diverse action movies, AFOP is a pure Leone homage, right down to the brilliant opening credits and character-introducing freeze-frames. It really only falls short of Modern Warfare in one minor way: the novelty has worn off a little. The original was so jaw-droppingly audacious and well executed, its follow up can't help but feel like a retread, even though it takes the basic setup in a drastically different direction. Like MW, it's impressive how Community can execute an wildly over-the-top plot so perfectly while building on multiple ongoing story lines of the season. Here Pierce's transformation into the pariah of the group, one more divisive story lines of Season 2, starts to see a satisfying conclusion. We also get eerie clues as to the true nature of this paintball war which will have a huge payoff in the final episode of season 2. Beyond that, it's just a helluva lot of fun — equally thrilling and hilarious. As an added bonus, this also features Josh Holloway in his first major acting role after Lost went off the air, as a mysterious uber-badass cowboy. It's one of the best guest appearances of the series.
– Menocu

14. Debate 109 (109) (Average Score – 84.81)
(Average Grade – 3.73/A-) (Average Ranking – 21.9) (High Rank – 6) (Low Rank – 57) (Standard Deviation – 10.64)
As Semi-bored torontonian explained in her review, Debate 109 is essentially a live-action cartoon episode of Community, humming with the kinetic energy and movement of a drawn cartoon, yet we don't think less of it because the material is handled adroitly enough that the jokes don't overcome the content (take note, later cartoonish episodes) and, more importantly, it's grounded by real substance and stakes. Through Abed's films, the show struts its stuff with a sly criticism of how other shows might handle the same material. Jeff takes on a now familiar role for him as the anti-bully, standing up both for Annie and Greendale against the pesky City College. Of course, who can forget the revelatory scene of Annie letting her hair down, where it simultaneously dawned on not just Jeff but us too how much of a knockout Annie really is. The titular debate features the fabulously unctuous Simmons (Troy was right, that dude gets it) and his endlessly amusing sidekick, Ropati Eneki. Elsewhere there's Britta humoring Pierce's hypnotism, Troy Crying Awesomely, Professor Whitman shooting legal motions, Franz Wickmeyer quotes, gay basketball and an impending werewolf attack. This is Community firing on all cylinders early in its first season and that's why Debate 109 is the 14th best Community episode.
– LloydBraun

 

24 LIKES

http://www.avclub.com/articles/digital-estate-planning-the-first-chang-dynasty-in,73676/#comment-772661913 (page 735)

 

Discussion:

  • It's endlessly fascinating to see the giant gap between an episode's highest and lowest rating. I think "Epidemiology" broke some kind of record.

     
  • reuelb5427

    Yeah, I'm kind of curious who put it 70th.

     
  • Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the gap has widened as we've gotten closer to the top episodes.  Like we generally more agree what are bad episodes than good ones, which seems opposite how I feel it usually shakes out when we are just discussing episodes.  Maybe it's more a matter of "I loved 58 episodes better than this one"?

    I've really enjoyed how you guys have found some common thread running through each bunch (conflict resolution this time).  It's probably just our human ability to find patterns in anything, but it's always a little something extra fun to think about.

     
  • I'm pretty sure Epidemiology has the biggest gap. 
     
    And yes, the common thread! Thank you. I will take all your praise.

     
  • It did. That gap is the largest of any episode.

     
  • i didn't put it at 70, but i epidemiology is definitely, in my mind, one of the weaker episodes. actually, i think rate most of their halloween episodes low. they just seem a little too silly, and i usually love silly, but they just do it… wrong.

     
  • I had it at 57. It's a decent episode, but there's something about it (other than the Shirley subplot) that rubs me the wrong way. It feels too convoluted and overly conceptual, and I dislike the way it recycles jokes AND draws attention to it (Shirley accidentally looking like Miss Piggy).

     
  • 56! epidemiology agreeabuddies!

     
  • I think some people take issue with the episode "breaking the rules" of the world or something. Like this is a big cover-up government conspiracy. It's not a normal plot. But you know what? Who fucking cares? It's a TV show, and the episode is well made. I don't know why ABBA works so well, but it does, and it's amazing. 
     
    Robert David Sullivan, who now writes for this site, recently completed his100 best sitcom episodes of all time, and the highest Community episode was this one. And I think he knows more about TV sitcoms than all of us put together. So I thought his placement of this episode was interesting.

     
  •  I like it fine, it's just not one of my favorites. I never feel the need to rewatch it, though every time I do, it makes me laugh a lot.

    I have no issue with the rule-breaking (in fact I think it does a pretty good job of NOT actually breaking them), and, other than the horrid Shirley subplot, it does a good job of fleshing out the characters (plus, it has pirate Starburns – "Who wants to walk my plank?"). I suspect my lack of enthusiasm for it has more to do with my general dislike of zombie movies. Like most of them, this episode starts off really well, and fizzles at the end.

     
  • The only zombie movie I liked was Shaun of the Dead.

     
  •  Ditto. That and Night of the Living Dead.

    I also have a soft spot for about 95% of 28 Days Later.

     
  • Do the Evil Dead movies count as zombie movies? If so, those x1000.

     
  •  But those aren't zombies, are they? They're demons.

     
  • DavetheDouchebag

    I was the high grade for Debate 109, naturally. I sometimes worry I overrate that episode, and then I watch it again and realize it's just as good as I think it is. Almost everything in the episode works, and is very funny. The Annie letting her hair down scene was like the moment in the Wizard of Oz where it goes from black and white to color for me.

     
  • DavetheDouchebag

    It's also fitting that the episode should come in just ahead of A Fistful of Paintballs, which is another really strong episode for Annie. Annie's role in FIstful alone pushes it above Modern Warfare for me. Plus, there's also the briliance of the Black Rider, and the Pierce arc in the episode is a wonderful climax to a season long storyline. 

     
  •  You're not overrating it one bit (I had it at #10). It and "Conspiracy Theories" are still the episodes that make me laugh the hardest.

     
  • Yeah, I had it 6th.  It probably gets a few bonus points from me for being the first episode I ever really watched–and the one that got me hooked–but it's also just an incredibly solid episode top to bottom.  

     
  •  Annie's look of triumphant contempt after Jeff drops the Jesus bomb on Simmons, and her delivery of NUCLEAR BOMBS! are some of the best character work the show has ever done.

    Then there's this: http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

    And this: http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

    And this: http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

    I just love how completely out of his depth Jeff is throughout the episode.

     
  • Plus, the Britta-Pierce pairing in the B-plot is always a fun one that we don't get to see too often. It's always fun to watch Britta try to maintain her hippy-dippy, everyone's everything is legit attitude when it means endorsing Pierce's opinions, which are pretty much antithetical to what she (would profess to, at least) stands for.

     
  •  That fall backwards into the instruments is a great reminder of just how good Chevy can be at physical comedy.

     
  • "Out of his depth" Jeff in one fishstick: http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

     
  •  I love how the episode basically regresses him to the level of a nerdy high schooler getting a kiss from the hot girl. That's why the scene at the end with him and Annie is so sweet – they both look and behave more like kids than adults: http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…
    http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

     
  • I'm sure the attire has much to do with this as well.

     
  • That's an excellent pick.  He really does almost look like a different person.

     
  • Even the way they break off in the last scene is very high school musical, in a good way.

     
  • Jeff is at his absolute funniest when he is totally out of his depth. The snark is good, but when he loses control he's great. That's why I like Slater so much-she really put him on his heels. 

     
  • i was the low on debate 109, but there's no real reason for it. i just like 56 other episodes more.

     
  • I liked this comment, but it immediately felt weird that I liked it, because I had Debate 109 13th.  I guess I just really agree with the sentiment of "there were just x number of episodes better."

     
  • reuelb5427

    29. Basic Lupine Urology
    22. Physical Education
    21. Epidemiology
    20. Comparative Religion
    19. Debate 109
    3. A Fistful of Paintballs

    I was sure I was going to be the high grade for AFOP, but I wasn't.

     
  • Once again, I was the low rank on Fistful of Paintballs.  I just don't get that pair…

     
  • I like it, but I like FAFPM far more.

     
  • 36. Basic Lupine Urology
    17. Physical Education
    16. A Fistful of Paintballs
    13. Epidemiology
    12. Comparative Religion
    7. Debate 109

    I don't have much issue here. BLU is a little overrated for me but it's hardly that egregious. Just about everyone likes that episode (look at the standard deviation) so its ranking makes sense.

     
  • 32. Physical Education
    22. A Fistful of Paintballs
    19. Basic Lupine Urology (second one exactly the same!)
    18. Comparative Religion
    15. Epidemiology
    13. Debate 109

    My second highest season 1 episode has come out – and my highest is one above it.
    Considering I've been up to 31 places off, pretty happy with this bunch.

     
  • So of the remaining 13, this is how it breaks down by season (I think):

    2 from season 1
    8 from season 2
    3 from season 3

     
  • It took me a moment to remember the third season 3 episode still remaining – RHM.  I'm a little surprised it made it this high. I guess it's like BLU in that it's generally decently well-liked so it doesn't have any super low ranks to bring it down.   Still, nearly top 10 seems a bit high for it.

     
  • i was the high rank on phys. ed. it's a perfect episode that created so many great little memes (baggle!). it's does over-the-top without going over-the-top, and it has jeff naked.

     
  • 27. Basic Lupine Urology
    21. Debate 109
    18. Physical Education
    14. Comparative Religion
    13. Epidemiology 
    12. A Fistful of Paintballs

    not sure why I had Debate 109 so low, but I had 21 A or A+ episodes, and Debate 109 was one of them.  I would probably switch the positions of Debate 109 and Fistful if I could do it again. 12 and 21 – maybe that's what I did on the list by accident.

    AUC is my lowest episode left, but I know I won't be the lowest rank for it.

     
  • reuelb5427

    Yep, AUC is my lowest episode left, too. I have it at 23.

     
  • also, BLU is the most pitch perfect homage they ever did until DEP.

     
  •  I agree. I have DEP at 19 and BLU at 20. They're both exceptionally detailed, but they lose a bit in the character development department, unlike CAP, for example, or the mother of all homages, CFS.

     
  • HectorTheWellEndowed

    One off the high rank for Debate 109! Boo-urns!

    18. Basic Lupine Urology
    43. Physical Education
    19. Comparative Religion
    20. Epidemiology
    34. A Fistful of Paintballs
    7. Debate 109

    Wow, I did not call this right AT ALL.

     
  • My hopes for the rest of this ranking:
    – CFS for top 5
    – IDF>Redux

     
  • There's really only one reason to rate "A Fistful of Paintballs" that high.

     
  • I can think of two. ;)

     
  • Really solid set of episodes here:

    28. Epidemiology
    27. Physical Education
    19. Basic Lupine Urology
    15. Comparative Religion
    8. Debate 109
    4. A Fistful of Paintballs

    I'm really surprised my grade for Physical Education was that much lower than the consensus. I didn't realize people liked it so much.

     
  •  You can never underestimate the power of a barely clothed Joel McHale…

     
  • I love that everyone who's liked this comment so far has a Y chromosome.

     
  • jmunney Ooops. I messed it up.

     
  • Something Quirky

    Aw, a low rank of 54 for BLU? Boo-urns.

    (edit: I can understand why it wouldn't be rated highly by people, though. I just personally really liked it. Though my liking of it may be accentuated by me 'getting' most of the references, plus compared to the rest of season 3.)

     
  • DavetheDouchebag

    My ranks:
    Basic Lupine Urology: 36
    Physical Education:    20
    Comparative Religion:  21
    Epidiemielogy:34
    Fistful of Paintballs:4
    Debate 109: 6

    This is a really strong group of episodes overall, which makes it ironic that a lot of my grades are lower than the consensus. I really enjoy all of these episodes, which goes to show what a great show Community is. 

     
  •  Basic Lupine Urology: 20
    Physical Education:    13
    Comparative Religion:  27
    Epidemiology: 57
    Fistful of Paintballs: 42
    Debate 109: 10

     
  • HectorTheWellEndowed

    I'm still annoyed you beat me by one to Debate 109.

     
  • One spot difference from Epidem. and Deb. 109. Cool. Cool cool cool.

     
  • Of the 13 remaining, I gave 12 an A or A+.  I'm so agreeable.

     
  •  13/13 A or A+

     
  • 10/13 A or A+ (B for Regional Holiday Music, B+ for Documentary Filmmaking: Redux and A- for Paradigms of Human Memory)

     
  • 10/13 A or A+. Excluded are RHM, Redux, and AUC

     
  •  16 A+/A; A+ for Redux and A for Paradigms.

     
  • Oh wow, you gave out more A's and A+'s than episodes that are left. How did you do that?

  • I like the show and I'm a generous grader.

     
  • Semi-bored torontonian we were posting how many A's and A+'s we had out of the 13 remaining episodes, not how many total we had given out.  Hence Stephen77 comment.

     
  • What LPH said. In total, I actually gave out 18 A+/A's.

     
  •  I count 11 A/A+. I'm not sure which other two I'm missing from the list, and I'm too lazy/busy to look.

     
  •  Ah, OK. I'd say most of them, then, but I'm not sure I can remember all that are left to post.

     
  • 1 B+
    2 A-
    3 A
    7 A+

     
  • 54. BLU (low rank)
    50. Epidemiology
    23. A Fistful of Paintballs
    21. Physical Education
    14. Debate 109
    10. Comparative Religion

    It's fitting that BLU and Epidemiology are grouped together and that they're close to DEP and P&B. All of them display the show's considerable craft with rigid forms but those forms inherently consume so much oxygen that it often sidelines the characters and actors I really watch the show for. They have character work but it's secondary, and it doesn't help that I don't find them nearly as funny as other episodes.

    Incidentally, A Fistful of Paintballs is a good example of the show successfully using a concept but keeping the spotlight firmly on character work. Other concept episodes to come do it even better.

     
  • Also, just throwing out another reminder for Affro and Kojak. I'm just waiting on you guys to post the next group of episodes. In the following group, I'm merely waiting on SBT's re-write and Los Pollos Hermanos.

     
  • I forgot to do this yesterday: next Community reviews. Paradigms! Fuck yeah. From what glaz said last week or something, it should be ready. But are you ready DavetheDouchebag ? Annie and the gang will be waiting. After that, glaz said Tuna will be delivering a review, and then our last review … Eric! Still unregistered tsk tsk.
     
    glazomaniac: 
    Paradigms of Human Memory 
    1/21/2013 
      
    davethedouchebag: 
    Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts
    1/25/2013
     
    TheTuna:
    A Fistful of Paintballs
    1/28/2013 
     
    Eric the Unregistered: 
    For a Few Paintballs More
    2/1/2013 

     
  • Another top ten bites the dust! I had Epidemiology at #4. It was one of those episodes that just kept getting higher as I compared it to the episode ranked ahead of it. The Abba soundtrack, "Why did I think this would work?", zombie Jeff, the cat, Rich, etc. I'm a big fan of all of the Halloween episodes.

    Phys Ed. is a great season one episode, but I give Beginner Pottery the higher ranking. Pierce's life speech > "I choose shorts"

    Debate 109 is a premiere season one episode though. It's an essential "introducing someone to the show" episode.

    19/19 Basic Lupine Urology
    18/23 Physical Education
    17/33 Comparative Religion
    16/04 Epidemiology
    15/17 Fistfull
    14/13 Debate 109

    My lowest ranked episode remaining is Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking at #36.