Episode 303: Competitive Ecology

Community3x03_0697

Something Quirky

Community Season Three Reviews

S03E03 – Competitive Ecology

“You guys have weird reactions to stuff.”
Poor Todd and his stupid baby. All he wanted to do was make a terrarium with someone, and then go home to his family and his insulin. But the Study Group turned a simple assignment into almost a full day of bickering, insecurity, turtle frightening, and offending Todd.

But first,

“Maybe I was crazy…Was I crazy?…Was I crazy?”
“I’m seriously concerned that he’s mentally ill; it’s not funny.”
Chang’s plot. Chang wishes to become a detective, so sets about detecting, noir style. Stapler. Remember early Chang? Sure he was nuts, but he was grounded in reality. He wanted to be accepted by the study group, and loved dancing with his wife. Now he thrusts himself into his delusions and ambitions, and has lost any ability to properly connect with the real world. This does pave the way for later episodes, not just with Chang’s storyline, but with the burning down of the ‘Hot & Brown’ store in the cafeteria.

The Dean was also involved, showing more of Greendale’s budget issues with the new scheme to charge students for drinking water. As well as his willingness to accommodate Chang and his delusions in order to ultimately help the school. The things the Dean does, or ignores, are, in his mind, for the benefit of the school and these students. And sure there could be a selfish aspect to it; after all, where else could the Dean of Greendale get a job? But it’s mostly because the Dean truly cares about this school and its students, even if he shows it by charging them more and putting their welfare at risk.

“Who are these people?!?”
Now back to the study group. The first time I watched this episode, I really disliked how ignorant they were of Todd’s feelings, and how self-involved they came across. (Discussion point: An outsider’s view of the study group – more often than not, it’s bad.) These are characters that I like, and sometimes relate to, and so I want to view them as good people. It’s difficult to watch them being mean and ignorant of the feelings of someone who has done nothing wrong (and has a turtle).

However, after seeing this episode several times, I can start to understand their reasons (even if I don’t necessarily approve of them). Rather than offending other members of the group, the Study Group chooses to pin their pairing-up problems on Todd. After all, Todd is a “non-grouper”, so his feelings aren’t as important as the feelings of those that are like family to each other. There’s also a selfish aspect to it. If everyone is piling on Todd, no-one has to look bad by pointing out anything that could be taken as offensive about another Group member. Words and actions that are nice to, or considerate of, people you like can still have underlying self-serving motives. (As Joey Tribbiani once pointed out, there’s no such thing as a selfless good deed, and being mean to Todd in order to avoid offending each other is hardly a good deed, and much more selfish, but the principle is still there.)

Inevitably, the Group’s true problems with each other come out. People want to be paired with Annie because she’s “a good grade in a tight sweater”, and don’t want to be with Jeff because he’s “a bad grade in a tight sweater”. When it comes to working in close quarters, inappropriate old man trumps woman with a newborn, especially one who is dismissive of any science that may contradict the facts that religion has provided. And loving worms is apparently wrong, though only according to Annie. These are normal issues that groups of friends would come up against, but because the Study Group is so insular, it consumes them (and Todd), leading to the conclusion that their “love is weird and toxic! And it destroys everything it touches!”
This should give the group something to think about. But of course, the ending shows that the group learnt nothing and are still selfish and too insular. Telling Professor Kane that he would have to put them back to their original pairings, when everyone else could complete the assignment? It’s borderline unbelievable in its narcissism. And then, rather than admitting that they might have problems, it’s right back to insulting the innocent Todd. But it’s not necessarily because they’re “the mean clique”. They are just too scared to admit that they have issues, preferring ignorance to the insecurity that they might destroy the group (discuss).

Quotes:
“Who the hell are you always texting? Everyone you know is right here!”

“What happened to Legos? Don’t act like you don’t know what I mean.”

“What is happening at this school? I have so many conversations that make no sense.”

“It’s a palomino!”

“None taken… Offense taken!”
 

On the AV Club: http://www.avclub.com/articles/advanced-introduction-to-finality,97134/#comment-973417606 (page 145)

JULY 23, 2013 – 10:11 AM – 31 LIKES

 

Discussion

 

    • HectorTheWellEndowed

      Great review! I often think this episode is judged rather harshly because of the episodes immediately following it (or before and after it on the DVD).

      Your last point about them not being "the mean clique" rings true too. We've seen before how the group bottles up their issues and never really deals with them. They just kind of acknowledge them in the moment and move on (Cooperative CaligraphyParadigms of Human Memory) as quickly as possible. I suppose seeing those cracking moments through the eyes of Frank Grimes…I mean, Todd…would be quite jarring and would paint the picture of a mean group of people. But from our point of view, having seen the group shatter before, it should be easier to take. They were worse to Chang in season 2, frankly.
      The Chang plot is just baffling to me.

    • Something Quirky

      I had actually forgotten that that Chang plot was in this episode. But it is the catalyst for worse Chang plots, so there's that.

      The first time I saw this episode, I found it jarring, just to see how ignorantly mean they were being. But with more analysis, I was able to slightly forgive the episode. But not them. THE TURTLE WAS IN THERE!

      And thanks :)

    • The Chang plot is just baffling to me.

      Me, too. The premise and comedy seems so far from anything else Community's done and the only way I can even kinda enjoy it is to watch it as if it's a totally separate short film.

      That's important because while the main story of the group fighting and being jerks to Todd is difficult, the reason the ep was my least favorite of the first 3 seasons is because of the Chang plot, not just because the heroes aren't being very heroic.

      It's grown on me a little, though, for all the reasons people have given. On rewatch, I might have liked it a little more than "Geography" and "Impressionists," or at least it was closer.

    • Really great points about this episode /cheer.  Every time I revisit this one, I can't help but view it as Uncooperative Calligraphy.  Now instead of a pen or a principle, it's a person being wedged between each of the group members.  But you pieced it all together and then some– thank you.  It's all there with the Dean and Chang– I kept getting blocked thinking it was a derivative excessive sideplot (while being funny), that overemphasized the chaos soon to hit the campus.  

      But it's really the REACTION to Chang and the situation and its effects that underscores the problems here.  We've had chaos on the campus before, we've had Chang go crazy, we've had the gang held up in the study room for an insane amount of time over something relatively inconsequential.  The difference is this season, when everything seems so precarious and untenable, everyone's desperate to keep things together they struggle to do so AT THE EXPENSE of common sense and everything else.  Sergeant Nunez and Todd's pleads for rationality and sensibility go unheeded and things just get crazier.   

      And you're right– the Dean will justify anything to keep this school going just as the gang wants to keep their harmony intact.  They learned in Cooperative Calligraphy that they'll share a half-truth or lie to bond over facing the idea of someone amongst them working against them (their bonds trump their inner doubts), and they learned in Paradigms of Human Memory that they can argue and the world won't end, but with so much change they can't trust each other and work in unison– they all have the same goal but inadvertently sabotaging their solutions.  

      They petition to get their first set of pairings– what's worked well in the past or what fits the dream Jeff had in his Dreamatorium from Biology 101 (Jeff and Annie together, Troy and Abed moved in, Pierce off to the side, and Britta/Shirley bring up the rear).  They externally try to resolve their conflicts and incompatibility since reality doesn't meet their expectations, but it's born of fear and not understanding– they OVER-react and make things worse.  

      Abed tries to internalize a solution (it reminded me of, say, Revert to Factory Default Settings– filtered by TV Popularity).  But Jeff still can't handle change (HE'S stuck with the unknown— he almost got kicked out of the group a couple episodes ago and attacked the table with an ax-  he needs to be the top choice like he was in Spanish 101, damn it!).   So that plan gets nixed and they go back and forth again at each others' throats.  

      And really, it says something when the happiest person in the episode is someone living in their own world who fantasizes about an ill-fated romance with a mannequin's leg (Poor Veronica).  Chang's been forced outside the study group from the start so he's decided to expand the crazy from the cafeteria onto the rest of the campus.  And I guess in a way that makes his B Plot his Terrarium– his MO for the season (and I definitely prefer this brand of chaos to his thought bubbles in Contemporary Impressionists).

      So again, awesome connections on the two plots– the two main questions I had about this episode pertained to acceptance of the B Plot and whether Abed's group plan might have actually worked had Jeff not fouled things up, but I think you covered those concepts comprehensively– with Todd as the designated lightning rod for their venting amidst this chaos, there was no way anyone was going to get "stuck with him."  I also wondered prior to your review if people found their extreme time lapse to be believable (I mean this isn't a self contained plot like Collective Calligraphy and it doesn't escalate in the same narrative structure as that episode– they argue and fight, and fight and fight and FIRE!).  On my initial viewing that really was a sore spot for me– they REALLY spend SEVERAL HOURS going back and forth on who would get paired with whom?  Not bashing the show outright– just saying it's funny how on any other sitcom I'd just go sitcom logic– but here I'm trying to piece how they could really go in circles THAT much.  But as you pointed out– their stubbornness at the end in their return to bashing Todd shows the shared delusion of his chaotic evil is acceptable to the grim alternative– things are falling apart.

      Season 3 Doppeldeaner Count for this Episode:
      We have the Mismanaged Expectations duplicates here in spades– EVERYONE in the group aside from Abed finds some place to project themselves (Britta more favorable than Troy, Shirley better than Pierce at least, Jeff at the forefront) against the reality (Troy before Britta, Shirley in last, Jeff behind TODD?!).  

      We have the initial set of lab partners who embody concentrated chaos and change (WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!?!– a reflection of Jeff's argument from waaaay back in Asian Population Studies– these people could be ANYONE).    We again have Chang as a bizarro campus police officer, the Terrarium as the bizarro Diorama, the class's WEIRD reactions to things, and of course, Professor Kane's two worlds of Lego– the one prior to his stint in prison, and the one following his release from incarceration.  As an indulgent aside, I'd like to answer his inquiry as to the change, because I agree with Annie that he should know (though she probably just raised her hand for the brownie points).

      Mad Men hits this point the hardest for me in its transition from Don's methodology to Peggy/other's ad methodology.   Old School Lego= you sell the IDEA, not the product.  Legos meant you could build worlds– that the sketch on the box was just one STARTING point for whatever could come to your imagination.  And the commercials followed suit on that.  But as the economy shored up and the shark mentality in business became ever more sharpened and pointed towards profits maximum, risks minimum, the product's stability eclipsed the chaos of the IDEA being marketed.  

      Now you sell franchised Legos because you have a built in market for kids who want to experiment with the Harry Potter elements, the adventures of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars, or fight back the orcs of Lord of the Rings– the idea of endless imagination is still there– it's just been marginalized to ensure maximum profit from a pre-existing, stable consumer base.  

      And in a way it fits with all the issues in this episode.  A business feared change and losing what it had so it compromised itself for security- but that only changed things in a DIFFERENT way.  And it's definitely not bad– but it's never about what you change but how you change it.  Legos are still best when you sell unlimited potential within the pre-packaged worlds– when the kids have put away and sealed their autographed Harry Potter dolls and wands, they'll still mix those lego pieces with their pirate set to imagine a Quidditch match on the high seas. So if the gang realizes and trusts they'll never break apart no matter what change hits them– they won't just end up in the dust bin pile of the closet either– they just need to trust in their friendship.  And /comfort Professor Kane all the same.  

      Sorry for the digression within the digression within the digression there.  We also have the turtle in Todd's care– symbolic of the stagnation of the group's progress.  As Jeff says– it's half the project already completed– just needs a little love and understanding.  But the gang still ends up in that trashcan on fire.  

      Also as Something Quirky pointed out– everyone else did their Terrarium regardless of circumstance– Magnitude's a one man party and he still teamed up as instructed and did his part.  It's all in the mind.  POP POP!  And Professor Kane's wrong, everyone laughs with Magnitude, darn it!

    • Something Quirky

      I did like how he said "that's my theory, anyway" at the end.

      I also have some issues with the amount of time they were in the study room. The humour from Jeff's "I'm going home… No I'm not…" mostly puts a band-aid over that, but it still again stretches the borders of believability.

      I actually saw a box of Harry Potter Legos shortly after seeing this episode, and I knew exactly what Prof. Kane meant. These Legos are so detailed and complex, but all that detail has been put there already, and there's not a lot of room for imagination. But when something is being used as a marketing tool, it has to be close to the original product, which kind of makes it more and less fun at the same time.

      I wasn't sure if I could properly get across the parallels between the group and the Dean without specifically pointing it out, so thank you for picking up on that.

    •  That guy gets it… (not that I'm implying you'll be unceremoniously dropped on the floor once Disqus gets a kiss from a pretty girl, Shinigami!)

      Re: the endless, fruitless pairings. If S2 was very much dedicated to exploring the characters and widening (tridimensionalizing?) the world of Greendale, S3 is defiantly, even aggressively meta quite literally from its very first scene ("We're going to have more fun and be less weird…" YEAH, RIGHT!). The experimentalism is amped up to 11 (with RCT being the pinnacle of the show and an instant genre classic; but then you also have truly weird and wonderful beasts like VSA or DEP), but so is the shallow cliche (Abed likes celebrity impersonators! Britta's kooky past comes back to haunt her! the group stages a Model UN! etc.). S3 seems both fascinated and repulsed by plot mechanics – it recognizes its potential for creativity and the self-indulgent wheel-spinning. Hence the pairings. The group falls back on dynamics that worked before (or which could produce wacky, sitcommy results), only to be pushed back by Todd, and his dumb problems, like babies, diabetes and promises made to a dying father.

      And while all this is taking place, Dean Harmon and Chang Harmon are starting their battle for the Greendale's soul…

    • "But as you pointed out– their stubbornness at the end in their return 
      to bashing Todd shows the shared delusion of his chaotic evil is 
      acceptable to the grim alternative– things are falling apart."

      Making it all the more delusional is the cheery season 1 music sardonically playing over the Todd bashing.

    • Something Quirky

      And thank you for the review compliments! =D

    • I have a soft spot for the Chang plot. Everything Ken does with it is so hilarious to me.

      Also, is that Harmon on the cover of the Greendale (You're already accepted!) brochure?
      http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

    • it looks like that person on the brochure has a hitler mustache.

    • First thing I now think of is that either Shirley was very discreet about her grades, or the showrunners for the fourth season didn't think things through when they made her potential valedictorian. And I find it hard to believe no one would have noticed she would have been worth pairing with.

      Anyway, back to the core. Great review. I love the Chang bit of this episode, he is now clearly certifiably insane (he probably was already at the beginning of s2 though), but when the results are that funny, I'm ok with it stretching plausibility.

      All the characters in the group have their issues, they have found at Greendale their haven from the real world and an almost-functioning family (I don't remember the exact quote but one of the essential point of the series to me is Troy telling Jeff that he's in Greendale because the outside world wasn't that nice, he might as well enjoy it here). Any intrusion will be seen as a potential threat to their new-found and precious equilibrium. It's definitely nothing to do with Todd who we are given examples time and again seems to be a stand-up guy (not to mention that he comes with a turtle).

      We are given an outside opinion of the group, and it shouldn't really come as a shock that these are not necessarily nice people (except for Troy who we gather ranked relatively high in the choices of partner, and in his case, it's probably not due to his academic skills), but it's really magnified from the point of view of someone who hasn't had opportunities to sympathise with them.

    • "I don't know about you, but I know I ended up here because things weren't that great out there. You should try accepting where you're at."

    • "First thing I now think of is that either Shirley was very discreet about her grades, or the showrunners for the fourth season didn't think things through when they made her potential valedictorian. And I find it hard to believe no one would have noticed she would have been worth pairing with."

      Mind you, this was still the phase of the season where Shirley was firmly placed on the sidelines to the point where she threatened to become a very one-note character (judgy Christian). This only changed when they re-discovered the Jeff-Shirley pairing in "Foosball", which marked the beginning of fleshing out her character. Then again, any discrepancies between Season 3 and Season 4 are hardly a surprise.

    • Something Quirky

      Thanks!

      Yeah, that line by Annie was obviously assuming she was the highest. And if that's what Britta wanted, she could have stuck with Shirley. But maybe Shirley had a baby-induced lapse that affected her productivity and grades? And she was very discreet.

      Or all the baby talk and science v. religion stuff was to cover up her great grades!

      And at least Todd sympathises with them at first.

    • Nice job!

      I like this episode more and more the more I watch it. I get the complaints that the study group is too mean, but it doesn't really bother me. I've always liked that the study group behaves like actual human friends do, and actual human friends are often mean to each other and alienating to outsiders. That's one thing I like a lot about Season 3 – it was upfront about the group's problems and their more human elements. The ending is perhaps a little harsh, but a "nice" ending would've undercut the point of the episode, I think. 

      Still, I get why a lot of people have disdain for this episode. It's not fun to watch characters you love behaving like assholes, and because of that, this one is hardly at the top of my rewatch list or anything. But I think it's definitely a necessary episode in establishing the fabric for Season 3.

    • Something Quirky

      Thankyou!

      I'm not sure what kind of ending I would have liked.

      At least people have pointed out Pierce being seemingly disappointed with how the others were behaving (although that could have just been Chevy reacting to something else, for all we know =p).

      I think i just would have liked to see Todd get some kind of victory over them, even if it was minor.

    • I really can't wait to have a baby. midwestspitfire and I have already started referring to our eventual spawn as my "stupid baby."

    • HectorTheWellEndowed

      Not "the wee baby Séamus"? For shame Todd, for shame.

    • Here's an interesting reading by radioactive badger from the episode's comments :

      I got a sense of that during Todd's rant, but there were all these references to last season and the expectations we would have (like "Jeff's going to heal us"), except they're getting worse. In the next to last scene Jeff just takes the easy route and makes fun of Todd.

      I actually really like this because the group can't save itself anymore. Annie and Abed want to get back together and so do Britta and Troy, which leaves Shirley, Pierce and Jeff by themselves. If this group wants to remain together someone else will have to step in, and they need more than speeches at this moment.

      It's kind of brilliant to raise the stakes like this, because as reviewer Todd mentions a lot of shows have done the "mean clique" thing before, but none of those have tried to see how the group could self destruct, and what that means for everyone in the group. Parks and Rec is great but it will never be this bold.

      Nailed it!

      This is on page 2 near the bottom: http://www.avclub.com/articles…

    • Hmm, I should have looked through the comments and stolen points =P

    • This episode make all my friends stop watching Community, so it makes me sad.

      Also I just hate it anyway.

    • Something Quirky

      Why?

      Also; how are you doing?

    • Great review, Quirky. (Oi Oi Oi!)

      Rather than offending other members of the group, the Study Group chooses to pin their pairing-up problems on Todd. 

      You know, I never really quite looked at it from that POV. Like all the times I've been out with friends and had to kind of alienate strangers I might have liked to get to know in an awkward attempt to pay attention to or cheer up my friends and not piss them off, that kinda thing.

    • Something Quirky

      Cheers!

      I know that feeling. It's like when you take someone new who you like/value the opinions of, to do something, and you spend half the time making sure they're having fun. And if things aren't going great, you're willing to have a shittier experience so that they have a better one.

    •  Super sexy cool review, Quirky.

      I find the episode to be very destabilizing as a viewing experience. While we've had other instances that highlighted the group's disfunctionality, the fact that the conflict was limited to the group members tended to soften the disputes. The fighting was either an opportunity to flesh out the characters in new and moving ways ("Cooperative Calligraphy") or for complex humor ("Paradigms of Human Memory"). Suddenly shifting perspective and seeing the group as a bunch of selfish, cruel, solipsistic brats was jarring and unexpected. And I loved it. I also loved that Todd looked just slightly off and weird – it's almost as if the show dared its viewers to exclude the poor guy: he truly was the random non-grouper. At the same time, the group's oblivious insularity was very much in keeping with the tormented, twisted soul of S3: not only was the show's theme one of stasis vs. evolution (with most characters too terrified of change), but the cancellation threats and network pressure (combined with Harmon's usual self-loathing) turned it both introspective and hysterical (in the most literal sense).

      I very much liked the tone (I am after all one of the four or five people in the world who thought CI was a great episode), and I thought Todd and his dumb baby to be genuinely tragic characters. In a way, Todd's realism, the paroxysm of his emotions clashed uncomfortably (and I think intentionally so) off the group's shallow sitcommy permutations. Some of the cartoonier plots of S3 almost read like the show exorcising its own fears of triteness, repetitivity and superficiality.

      As for the Chang plot: I don't know. There are days when I love it, and days when I absolutely loathe it. It's one of Ken Jeong's best performances, and I think he sells the hell out of it, but it's so defiantly, uncomfortably weird that I have trouble accepting it. It does work better if you think of S3 Chang in perspective as an alter-ego of Harmon, clashing with another alter-ego of Harmon, namely the Dean.

    • Something Quirky

      Aw, you're super sexy cool!

      Yeah, the first time I saw this episode, "jarring and unexpected" was exactly what I thought. And that's probably why it's always stuck with me as a way of balancing out who these characters can be.

    • On the mean clique-gate…thing

      I like your explanation, Quirky, that they were externalizing their meanness in order to soften the blow of letting off steam against each other in floods, which they have done before as Hector points out. Another prominent example is the big blowup in Anthropology 101. Semi pointed out in Todd's review that the group has scapegoated the study table and ghosts before doing the same to war vet Todd. I think where a lot of people felt shocked by the harshness of it was because it seemed to come out of nowhere, but now we know what the episode was setting up so it makes a lot of sense in context. The cracks in Troy and Abed's relationship began to show here as Troy begins to realize that Abed is often tuning him out. Jeff is depressed and just starting to deal with it. Britta is starting a new major. And Shirley has the stress of a new child and a re-marriage. This is where I wait for Eric's thoughts, because I know he wasn't a fan at all and he wondered if the rest of the season would put it in perspective. Do you think it did, Eric?

    • Well the turmoil in the group over the first 5 episodes of s3 is so intense and pushed to a level where it constantly threatens to bleed into broad comedy (like the brandishing of weapons in the standoff during "Horror Fiction"). 

      The healing process is much more subtle, and while satisfying in many ways doesn't really pay off at a plot level. The main offender is "Pillows and Blankets" whose ending, while endearing, doesn't demonstrate any seismic or permanent shift…it's like, the season goes way beyond s2 in showing how deep the problems within the group go, but the resolutions stay the same, reminiscent of Troy's ghost story in "Calligraphy" in that the group just chooses to stick together.

      Other eps like this are "Intro to Finality," with it's incredibly beautiful ending that still fails to really be climactic or answer many of the questions the season raised, and "Advanced Gay." AG gets overlooked, but it comes right after the darker first 5 and shows the group being semi-united against Pierce's Dad and actually choosing to resolve some of their conflicts (Troy deciding to stick with Abed, Jeff standing up for Pierce and complimenting Britta's psychologist skills), but the show never just comes out and states it. Just once I wanted them to talk about it, to make it more clear that everything they went through in s3 has accumulated to this point and they're working to change and adapt to being more adult and accepting each other as a family, etc. 

      A big problem, IMO, is that the Chang-takes-over-the-school arc was meant to be the external conflict that represented all their problems, and that working together to solve that would be the big victory..and after that, it would just be a matter of settling in and accepting that they're stuck together. In that scenario, the finale's just an epilogue. The problem was that being expelled never felt like a high stakes fight for their identities and the life they'd built together. It felt like a fairly silly comic concept. "First Chang Dynasty" is a lot of fun but does not at all feel like an important character episode or a key achievement for the study group. Which leaves the onus for resolving all of the tension entirely at the feet of Jeff's speech in "Finality." Under those circumstances, it worked surprisingly well. But the seasonal arc seems pretty bent and fragmented as a whole. Possibly owing to Harmon spending the last 10 eps reacting to Sony/NBC's resistance.

      I think it "put it in perspective" as far as, if we parse the season thoroughly, we can find reasons for everything, we can see where the different tensions started and ended. But no I don't think it justified it. The conflict is too powerful and weird, and the resolutions are too standard and predictable.

    • Can't disagree with anything there. The season was about The Price of Friendship/Family (also the Price of Dan Harmon's Genius on a meta level) but all their individual and group problems had surprisingly facile resolutions considering the complexity and stakes built up. Pierce lost his father and dealt with more isolation but came out on top because, hey, a brother showed up out of nowhere. Shirley's fine because she got her husband back and a restaurant (this one is really poor because it's all surface level plot-driven stuff a lesser sitcom would do; I'm pretty sure Cougar Town had the same plot and it doesn't get more surface level than CT; what did we really learn about Shirley?). Troy and Abed made up over some fucking imaginary hats in P&B (season 5 better nail that down properly). Troy "went away" to AC school down the hall (I really hate that overwrought goodbye they had). Apparently all Abed/Evil Abed needed was a Winger speech. Britta was a winner all the way through, which was actually nicely redemptive. You can't have everyone breaking down. Nothing really happened with Annie. No one seemed to pay the Harmon story circle price, except Jeff, whose struggles were compelling because his arc wasn't plot-based and outlined on a flashing marquee, and because McHale acted the shit out of the season.

    • Something Quirky

      Thanks :)
      I like that it just gives reasoning for their behaviour beyond "they're jerks to outsiders".

    • 303 is another one of the very funny early season 3 episodes. Lots of great rapid fire exchanges, as you would expect when the group is bottled up in the study room. My favorites being "you're just a good grade/bad grade in a tight sweater", "are you questioning my algorithm?", and everyone figuring out their places.

      Donald crushed this reading:
      "Alright, who did a butt."
      "They're boobs. And I don't know."

      (WHY, DONALD. WHYYYY??)

      Stuff
      -Chang's board has a "You're Already Accepted" pamphlet with Dan Harmon on the cover. There's an actual video about this. YT it.
      -"This list stinks like a butt convention"
      -Abed says "I may have a developmental disorder". I believe that's the first 
      time he has acknowledged he has an actual medical condition. I remember 
      in 215, he said "I am weird", but this is different. He also seemed to really relish his role as the "computer", which he also did in Paradigms.
      -Britta making fun of Todd's baby in the final fuck-Todd scene: "Change your own diaper right? Get yourself a bottle."
      -Troy in the same scene: I missed this. And his dumb baby! Wouldn't shut 
      up…about his baby. Duhhhh, I got a turtle! And his stupid haircut. (Donald ad-libbed this)
      -Jeff: "Were you gonna bail on me?" Dude is feeling really insecure right now.
      -Annie: "Hmm interesting. The highest carrying the lowest? I can see how you might want that." I like the idea that Annie might have a somewhat Randian ideology. It was also hinted that she reads the National Review, and she prides herself on self-sufficiency. Of course, there are plenty of indications that she's far from an objectivist, but it's good color for the report.
      -Pierce's reaction to the group dumping on Todd at the end is very interesting. Pay attention as he starts it off and then looks around at his friends as they pile on, probably disappointed that they'd stoop to his level.

    • Yeah as usual Donald has some sensational line readings here– on par with "Wait- how'd you figure that out, we submitted anonymously-whoops (I can't even PRETEND SAY it or type it as well as he said it in BRS)."

      I also want to give a shout-out to Pierce's earlier put down of Todd.  "Don't tell me what I'm feeling or thinking, it's petty. Goodbye Todd."  And agreed– Pierce is the most direct about what he wants and yet he does seem visibly disappointed everyone matched that stance and attitude by the end of things.

      Finally– back around the anniversary of Reservoir Dogs I was thinking of doing a Community Theater gimmick on the intro in the restaurant with everyone from the show as one of the main characters.  

      I bring this up because Annie's self made creed and instincts make her ideal for Mr. Pink's part, being against tipping and all that.  "Where were my tips when I had to get through rehab and then live on my own?"  Shirley'd be Orange, Britta's the wild card Blonde, Troy is Nice Guy Eddie, and of course Abed is Mr. Brown but he's explaining the real meaning of Jem and the Holograms at the beginning of the conversation.