Glazomania: Redux – Episodes 25-31
Episodes We Can Kiss on the Mouth
31. Anthropology 101 (201) (Average Score – 75.36)
(Average Grade – 3.31/B+) (Average Rank – 34.3) (High Rank – 2) (Low Rank – 61) (Standard Deviation – 0.490)
This episode deals directly with the fallout of Jeff and Annie’s kiss and Britta declaring to the whole school that she loves Jeff in Pascal’s. However, more importantly, it’s about the evolution of the study group. Ultimately, here, all these cards are laid on the table (the Jeff-Annie kiss, Britta’s declaration of love, etc.) and everything seems to blow up for the study group again (the best representation of this has to be Annie punching Jeff). However, Jeff lays it down that respect is necessary for humanity’s and, therefore, the study group’s survival: it is the most important tool. The Winger speech hammers the point home a little obviously, but it is necessary in letting the study group know that a web of support and respect can overcome all the deceit and manipulation that occurs here. It is a necessary step in their evolution. The plot beats of this episode and the themes expressed also remind me greatly of a future classic Cooperative Calligraphy. Also great is Jeff and Britta kissing (probably the grossest kiss by two people that attractive ever) with a great reaction shot from Annie. I also love the Wes Anderson homage in the opening sequence: a great re-introduction to these characters. And even though she’s obviously very over-the-top, I enjoy Betty White here.
30. Environmental Science (110) (Average Score – 75.60)
(Average Grade – 3.33/B+) (Average Rank – 34.9) (High Rank – 11) (Low Rank – 61) (Standard Deviation – 0.537)
By the time Environmental Science rolled around, Season 1 of Community was really starting to get into a groove. It boasts a fantastic cold open, excellent pacing, fun one-liners, wonderful character building and a heart-felt lesson. Jeff’s position as leader of the study group is reinforced and tested throughout the course of the episode; after initially succumbing to his old crafty ways, he eventually goes on to not only spare the entire Spanish Class from the ludicrous assignment, but genuinely helps Chang as well. It’s a nice, if seemingly simple moment in his development that the show is better off for having. Additionally, the foundation of Troy and Abed’s bromance is made stronger in this installment through Troy’s dawning realization that friendship is a two-way street. Sentiment like this coupled with copious amounts of hilarity (such as Annie's Gravy Train and Pierce's recommendations of "tonguing") make Environmental Science a solid half-hour of television – it may not be a classic, but what it does, it does remarkably well. On top of all of that, who amongst us doesn't crack up at a certain climactic scene involving the rendition of a much-beloved children’s song interspersed with footage of a crazy Asian dude dancing the tango? Exactly.
29. Digital Exploration of Interior Design (313) (Average Score – 75.67)
(Average Grade – 3.33/B+) (Average Rank – 34.4) (High Rank – 18) (Low Rank – 61) (Standard Deviation – 0.368)
"Digital Exploration of Interior Design" contains one of the highlights of Community's third season and arguably of the show as a whole – the excellent Britta/Subway plotline. It's brilliant on so many levels – not only is it unbelievably hilarious and an incredibly creative way to subvert product placement, but it's a pitch-perfect Britta story, perfectly capturing everything that makes her character so great. Also strong is the Troy/Abed story, which does a good job of crafting a very believable tension between the two that leads into the excellent "Pillows and Blankets". It even has some solid Shirley/Pierce material, turning them into an amusing comic duo and digging into Shirley's darker side. The only plot of the episode that doesn't work is the Jeff/Annie plot, which has some good lines, but ultimately goes nowhere and says nothing about either character, Without that plot, Digital Exploration could've been one of Community's best. The fact that it's still a great episode just goes to show how strong the rest of it.
28. Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps (305) (Average Score – 76.91)
(Average Grade – 3.38/B+) (Average Rank – 32.2) (High Rank – 6) (Low Rank – 65) (Standard Deviation – 0.460)
Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps lacks an intensity and "texture" that Annie herself said a good horror story should have. The narrative thrust of Britta fearing someone may be a psycho is also half-hearted–it's treated neither as a believeable concern nor is it milked for all its horror potential, so the final standoff and the inevitable reveal that Britta had simply Britta'd it is anticlimactic. But what it lacks in functionality it makes up for with its fantastic individual set pieces and, in particular, the insight into Annie-Jeff and Troy-Abed. Previously the show had often cast Jeff and Annie as Beast and Belle and here that very dynamic is visualized through Annie's eyes. Annie sees Jeff as a beast to be tamed and views herself as uniquely qualified to do it, certainly above Britta, a skanky concubine Jeff used only for sex. Troy's story envisions him and Abed having to be stitched together and inside each others' heads for Abed to actually pay attention to him, speaking both to Troy's extreme emotional dependence and growing frustration with his emotionally unavailablebest friend. It also features the first "Daybreak" humming, the summoning of Beetlejuice, Abed's logical story, and NPR. For these reasons and more, Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps is another fine installment to the show's Halloween repertoire and the 28th best Community episode.
27. For a Few Paintballs More (224) (Average Score – 77.90)
(Average Grade – 3.43/B+) (Average Rank – 29.5) (High Rank – 8) (Low Rank – 65) (Standard Deviation – 0.692)
Despite the fact that paintball as a device for driving plot was starting to peter out, For A Few Paintballs More demonstrates some great sentiment, action, and humor that elevates it from being a mere retread of two superior episodes to something that can stand on its own.
This two part arc probably could have used a third episode to best tell its story. This episode has a lot of ground to cover, and the first half feels rushed as a result. However, as the episode slows down and takes the time to show what Greendale has come to mean to these disparate characters, major and minor, it comes to embody the importance of the show’s title. This is a show about a community, and Greendale is the place that allowed the community to thrive. The last scene also benefits from a slower pace, as it is allowed to breathe and tie up some long term arcs that have earned more than a casual glossing over.
All in all, this is a strong, funny, character driven episode that is only held back by a slight failure to marry the needs of a two part arc with the needs of season long serialization.
– SG Standard
26. Accounting For Lawyers (202) (Average Score – 77.92)
(Average Grade – 3.43/B+) (Average Rank – 30.8) (High Rank – 8) (Low Rank – 71) (Standard Deviation – 0.542)
Accounting for Lawyers at 26! Slow News Day? NO. This is an episode from the amazing period when Community was completely zoned in – the writers and actors were in complete sync and an episode that didn’t even stick out at the time as being noteworthy (especially when you think about what else came that semester) finds its way to a high placement, and deservedly so. The first episode to leave Greendale, this is an essential episode to understanding Jeff Winger and has grown in importance in retrospect after the events of Intro to Finality. Jeff’s origin story serves to contrast Jeff’s previous sources of self-worth with what Greendale has offered him – real bonds with people that care, even if those people want to sue strippers, pop and lock, and hunt people for sport. This is an episode that seems to be remembered by some most for the chloroform scene, which is too bad because the entire episode is full of quick Community dialogue at it’s very best (Bad Influence, Hat Club, Jeff lawyering the study group, etc.) and ends with a genuinely heartfelt scene on a dance floor.
– Los Pollos Hermanos
25. Curriculum Unavailable (319) (Average Score – 78.89)
(Average Grade – 3.47/B+) (Average Rank – 28.0) (High Rank – 5) (Low Rank – 69) (Standard Deviation – 0.622)
Community’s second clip show is such a success as it opts to take a different approach from the original. Instead of looking at clips of episodes that could’ve been, we get clips that explores Abed’s condition and the importance of Greendale and the Dean in the lives of the study group. The episode is central to Season 3’s serialization and, in retrospect, the study group rallying around Greendale and the Dean doesn’t really work particularly well for me (I also can’t help but think that Abed actually should have been committed to a mental institution). However, in regards to the clips, while there are more misses here than in Paradigms (i.e. Chang tasing himself and the Abed scream), most of the other clips are all very enjoyable and often laugh out loud funny: “how long does peyote last? Just asking for a friend”, “Troy and Abed and Annnnieee in the morrrrrrrrrrrning”, “its all-terrain, dummy”, and even the Dean has one of his better moments in the back half of Season 3: “GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT OF HERE!” And then there’s the asylum scene which is fucking inspired and up there with the entirety of Remedial Chaos Theory and the Britta-Subway plot as the best thing in all of Season 3. It alone elevates this episode to such a high placement. Also fantastic is John Hodgman and his failed “Greendale is purgatory and I’m the devil” revelation. Ultimately, this episode is more enjoyable as a standalone than as a part of the serialization of Season 3.