Glazomania: Redux – Episodes 38-44
Good Pizza: Presented by Eugenio's Four Cheese Pizza
44. Aerodynamics of Gender (207) (Average Score – 69.10)
(Average Grade – 3.05/B) (Average Rank – 43.1) (High Rank – 13) (Low Rank – 63) (Standard Deviation – 0.589)
Aerodynamics of Gender is important to season two as a whole, as it kick-starts Pierce's pill addiction arc. Also, it stealthily packed hints of future episode concepts in the memo column of Abed's targeting system. But it also works as a funny stand-alone episode, as almost everyone gets in a memorable line or two. In particular, it's a great showcase for villainous Pierce. His moment of triumph at the computer with Leonard remains one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. I've seen this episode so often that when a certain formidable boss at work walks by, I hear the same three ominous musical notes that play as Pierce's spy copter pursues Jeff and Troy. Chevy has fun material throughout, with "Dragonflyer, biotch!" "These balls on your butts," and "Tell me how to get this laid back or I'll kill your families!”
Donald Glover has several stellar line readings (particularly with regard to racist Joshua), trampoline-cries, and delivers facial expressions galore.
The girls score some funny moments as they metamorphose into the same snotty girls they despise. Britta, with "It's like the whole campus is a gutter and we're just spraying it clean," and her macho posturing on the lunchroom table.
Annie nails "Knucklewalkers!" "Bring it in for a boob bump, ladies!" and "We'll take em' down…we'll take all these bitches down." And for the longest time, I couldn't hear the name Megan without thinking of Shirley's "stocking up for a bitch shortage." Hearing that line now just makes me really miss Megan Ganz.
AOG concludes with a memorable morning show tag, featuring Starburns "my name is Alex!", Garrett's weather report, and Shelly the turtle.
This episode is packed with laughs and could potentially rank higher. But it's difficult to quibble, as there is so much Community goodness still to follow.
43. Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism (309) (Average Score – 69.22)
(Average Grade – 3.04/B) (Average Rank – 42.1) (High Rank – 22) (Low Rank – 69) (Standard Deviation – 0.471)
“Foosball and Noturnal Vigilantism” treads some familiar ground (Abed’s Batman impression) and admittedly is not impressive in terms of weaving storylines together (Pierce and Britta hardly appear in the episode at all). But the foosball side of the plot is wholly memorable, thanks to the fodder it has provided for “Jerley” shippers. Jeff/Shirley shipping has always struck me as odd – first of all, since Shirley is married and thus this does not seem to be a legitimately possible pairing, but also, more significantly, because this ship seems to have been championed by people who are otherwise not interested in shipping. Now, I’m not against oddness; in fact, I love it. Besides, Joel McHale and Yvette Nicole Brown do have great chemistry, so as ironic as this shipping may or may not be, its sentiments do accurately reflect how well these characters work together. “F&NV” is also notable for the random anime interlude (a genre homage that was surprising even by Community standards, in terms of how the editing made it so unexpected), the German foosball crew led by Nick Kroll (particularly their human foosball move –http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…, and, of course, Annie’s squeal – a moment that has not been meme-ified as much as it should have been (at least Vulture remixed it:http://www.vulture.com/2011/12… ).
42. The Psychology of Letting Go (203) (Average Score – 70.00)
(Average Grade – 3.08/B) (Average Rank – 41.5) (High Rank – 5) (Low Rank – 70) (Standard Deviation – 0.630)
A fun episode which gives every character a little something to do, even if it is off in the background. Pierce’s naivety is stretched to the limit but results in a nice character revelation for both him and Jeff. The conflict in the Annie/Britta story feels like it belongs earlier in their relationship and never goes beyond typical sitcom fair. Chang’s influence in the episode is limited to interactions with Duncan and is a pleasant chang(e) from his other exploits this season. Oh, and there was a ‘Hottie Spill’. Couldn’t not mention that, right?
41. Pascal’s Triangle Revisited (125) (Average Score – 70.06)
(Average Grade – 3.09/B) (Average Rank – 41.5) (High Rank – 5) (Low Rank – 69) (Standard Deviation – 0.706)
Pascal’s Triangle Revisited is a rather strong, but not transcendent episode of Community. It's not as funny as some of the best pizza episodes or as visionary as the greatest concept episodes. It's rather low key for a season finale. Still, Pascal’s is overall a wonderful episode that offers insight into several major characters while offering some great comic moments to the wonderful comedic duo of Chang and Duncan. This is an especially strong episode for Britta, as it builds upon some of the contradictions in her character that make her such a complex and compelling human being. The moment of this episode that will stick with us, however, is the kiss between Annie and Jeff at the end. It's a wonderfully staged scene. The dialogue leading up to the kiss elucidates Jeff's feelings about Britta and Slater beautifully. The kiss itself seems both surprising and surprisingly natural. The scene has a grace and beauty worthy to end the subtly brilliant first season of Community.
40. Introduction to Film (103) (Average Score – 70.29)
(Average Grade – 3.09/B) (Average Rank – 41.0) (High Rank – 11) (Low Rank – 67) (Standard Deviation – 0.585)
The earliest episodes of Community are often considered to be a weaker episodes. And while they’re not as polished or experimental as later episodes, there’s still something about those early episodes that showed so much promise. Intro to Film is probably the best of the initial five or six episodes, it was not doing anything particularly groundbreaking but it nicely showcased Community’s emotional side (Abed’s movie) and it’s funny side (everything Professor Whitman does). And early in the shows run it showed that they were not afraid to get serious when it came to the characters. Plus it’s funny. The scene in the study room before the credits has two classic moments (“That’s the most racist thing I’ve ever heard” “Pierce will beat that in one minute” and “How about I pound you like a boy that didn’t come out right”) but the rest of the episode most of the humor comes from Professor Whitman’s Dead Poet Society routine (Abed’s father gets some great lines in too “You go back to hosting American Idol”). But the episode is not without its flaws. This obviously is still an early episode, not all the characters feel fully developed yet and they were not utilizing the whole cast that well yet (particularly Annie and Shirley who have barely anything to do). Pierce teaching Troy to sneeze like a man is not much, it’s not very funny and it’s kind of forgettable (I always forget about it when I think of this episode). But while not every part of the episode is perfect, the show still showed that when it comes the important scenes it can deliver. In particular the scene where Abed shows his movie. It makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you laugh again, makes you cry again and then makes you laugh one more time. Not the best episode, but a good one, with a few fantastic moments that make it Community.
39. Beginner Pottery (119) (Average Score – 70.70)
(Average Grade – 3.12/B) (Average Rank – 42.2) (High Rank – 16) (Low Rank – 70) (Standard Deviation – 0.546)
Almost every episode where the group takes additional Greendale classes is enjoyable; especially episodes that allow Jeff to grow as an individual. I understand why this episode sits outside the top 30 since it doesn’t push many of the creative boundaries that Community excels at so well, but it’s just a funny season 1 episode. Jeff’s A-plot provides great humor from Abed narrating Jeff’s thoughts to Jeff doing the hilarious guy-on-guy “ghosting” with Rich. The B-plot with Pierce and the others is played mostly for laughs, but it gave us a small story with Shirley that was missing too often during season 1. Season 1 of Community was masterful at weaving multiple plots together without sacrificing the quality of them. This feat allowed Pierce to give his most genuine, empathetic speech of the series to Jeff (something that was truly missing from the following seasons) that allowed both characters to solve their separate problems.
38. Spanish 101 (102) (Average Score – 70.76)
(Average Grade – 3.12/B) (Average Rank – 41.2) (High Rank – 15) (Low Rank – 68) (Standard Deviation – 0.501)
On first viewing, Spanish 101 was a revelation. The pilot was an exercise in character introduction and togetherness, but Spanish 101 was the show's first jaunt into pure absurdity. While there would be better moments to come in terms of all of these fine qualities, there is much to be said for this episode's role in hooking so many people to this show, as it was the first moment so many of us realized we were in for more than a simple sitcom. Everything in the last act is ramped up from the slightly heightened reality of sitcoms to the complete insanity of cartoons, and yet, it never truly breaks down your suspension of disbelief, culminating in that out-of-the blue tag that would grow into the most widely celebrated pairing on the show. On subsequent viewings, Spanish 101 can also be seen to include artful character-based comedy as well: witness the reaction shots from the class during Two Conquistadors. Troy and Shirley are openly offended, Britta is flabbergasted, and best of all, Abed is so into it. It would have been so easy to just give us a blanket response from the whole crowd, but they took the time to give us a few details just for a little extra consistency. It's that sort of attention and care that would make this the best sitcom of its time.