Episode 308: Documentary Filmmaking: Redux

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Intermittent Hairdresser

Hairdresser’s much anticipated review of “Documentary Filmmaking: Redux

This is going to be broken up into various sections. Fun!

I. The Pursuit of Perfection

To me, this is the overarching theme of this episode. The Dean is inspired by the news that Luis Guzmán will be appearing in the new Greendale commercial, so he goes all out in order to create the best community college ad the late-night syndicated TV world has ever seen. I’ll be going more in depth on the Dean’s psyche later, but his quest to reach the transcendent has some really interesting fallout. When I watched this, I was really reminded of “The Crash,” the best episode of Mad Men, Season 6. The situations mirror themselves: Mad Men has Chevy, Community has Luis Guzmán, they both want to do something they’ve never done before, and they’ll both do anything to get it. Both episodes have an anxiety to them that either paralyzes or kick-starts the characters into action, depending on the character. This anxiety is rampant in both cases: putting genius on a timeline is tough, and when it comes up short, the real hysterics start. Both episodes have a harsh falling action as the realization that maybe perfection is impossible.

1. Inception

In both cases, this is brought on by a catalyst, a spark, something big. Chevy, Luis Guzmán (I’m not getting tired of typing these things in succession).Both Greendale and SCDP (I think it was still called that at that point) were in a fugue state at that point. They got their impetus! Yay! Let’s go! That feeling of exhilaration with an opportunity like that is special. It’s burning, you can’t sit still, you’re almost compulsed to action. The Dean wants to throw everything away after he finds out Greendale’s most famous alumni is coming back. Don wants to make the ad campaign to end all ad campaigns, so he desperately searches old ads to find perfection. It’s an interesting analysis of each character: Don looks back at his legacy, his invented life, what he’s made. Dean Pelton wants to ignore his past and start anew. It’s a divergence that leads to the same quest with the same results. The excitement and inception manifests itself according to the person, which I found interesting.

2. Ruminating

Now you have the ambition, you gotta sit down and grind it out of you. Or in Mad Men’scase, do meth. That’s where the separation of the two becomes more apparent: The Dean thinks he can power through on his own steam, while Don relies on chemical inspiration. The Dean’s epiphany (if it can really be called that) powers some weird vibes in the execution.

3. Execution

Imagine the Mad Men ensemble working together on a project. Now imagine them on meth. They reenact the William Tell scene with exactoknifes and Ken does a jig. In other words, Don is the only one working, if you can call it that. He searches for an old ad he did that Peggy doesn’t think exists. They’re not really trying, or they’re trying too hard to find something that doesn’t exist. The Dean turns into a raging asshole of determination. The Dean has one path of success, while SCDP is willing to throw anything at the wall in hopes that it’ll stick. Not surprisingly, Dean Pelton is more dedicated than Don is. Don gives up, saying he doesn’t want the place to turn into a whorehouse. Apparently meth isn’t as powerful as Luis Guzmán.

4. Realization that this might not be all that great

The Dean peers over his work, an incoherent mess. It’s messy, it’s frantic, it’s awful. In SCDP, they didn’t spell Chevy right. It’s a heavy realization, getting a C on a test you thought you aced. The Dean has a total breakdown, smearing himself with ashes in the most surreal scene of the episode. Don just says “fuck it” and explains how it’s not his fault. Yes, Don, the moral relativist as always. Community has always been a very moralistic show, so it’s nice to see it continue in that vein. The Dean, for all his weirdness, is one of the most sympathetic characters on the show, and it’s heartbreaking to see him fall to these depths. I stopped empathizing with Don somewhere in Season 4.

5. Acceptance

Well, the Dean owns up to it. He makes a video explaining why he’s leaving. Don is an asshole and doesn’t care. Classic Don.

6. Accountability

I’m leaving this one up to you guys. I’ll put it down in the Discussion section to remind you.

II. The Commercial’s Effect on the Study Group

Jeff: This is pretty much Jeff’s worst nightmare: he has to portray the Dean. So, in a very Jeff decision, he turns it up to 11, interspersing every third word with “Dean” and claiming “this is my sister’s outfit,” a nice callback to “Intro to Political Science.” In typical Greendalian fashion, this plan backfires and the Dean loves it. He wouldn’t be Jeff if he just gave up here, however, so he intentionally shoots his scenes in front of the Luis Guzmán statue in order to incite copyright laws. Stupid sexy Jeff. He calls Guzmán’s lawyers to advise them of the commercial, and surprise! Luis wants to be in it. Even with the total reworking of the script, he’s still gonna be in it, with even more screentime. Greendale seems hellbent on teaching Jeff lessons, so it’s fun to see him just get screwed over sometimes. He seems more frustrated than disturbed compared to the other characters at first. He just wants to get out! But when Pierce mistakes him for the Dean, he loses himself completely. He becomes the Dean, and when the Dean tells him the bald cap is phony and to take it off, Jeff refuses. It’s a weird little meditation on identity, and when Chang rises to the occasion (hilariously wearing a bald cap over his Jeff wig), he’s booted out. This is the last we see of him until the end of the episode, when he’s naturally the first to forgive the Dean. They’ve all been to dark places, and while Jeff’s may have been quieter, he knows all too well the feeling. He even hugs the Dean! Aww.

Annie: She wants to work in hospital administration, so being a script supervisor, or “supervisor girl” according to the Dean, is right up her alley. Annie is meticulous with everything, so ostensibly she’d be the perfect woman for the job. As she puts it, she’s basically the star, and it’s hard to argue with that. The Dean’s impossible expectations start to come out when she can’t find a movie he’s in (I am shocked Boogie Nights didn’t come to the Dean’s mind). As the episode continues, she determines the Dean is a genius, because why else would she be wasting her time doing this? It’s a brilliant little piece of cognitive dissonance that’s totally consistent with her character. This episode does a really good job at pushing the characters to dark, weird places. Of course, having Chang play Jeff play the Dean is the breaking point, and she finally acknowledges that he is insane. Then, group hug!

Britta: Of course Britta will hug Troy for the commercial! They’re best buds! Air buds! But their hug isn’t good enough to pull a 400 year old dagger out of the nation’s heart, and they’re compelled by ropes to hug. It breaks them in a hilarious fashion (I can never get enough of Troy crying). Not even Psyche 101 can explain what’s happening to her. Her and Troy going for a comfort hug, then freaking out is one of the funniest parts of the episode. She declares it to be a violation of human rights (and she’s not wrong).

Shirley: Shirley has a great reason for coming to Greendale: she needs to balance school and homelife without breaking the bank, and Greendale offers that. However, her segment isn’t happy and threatening enough (the word he’s looking for is sassy). The Dean’s egomaniacal tendencies manifest themselves first to Shirley, who’s one of the more aggressive members of the group (in many cases passive!). I think it’s interesting she doesn’t really have interaction with him after the Heart of Darkness scenario. What do you make of that?

Troy: this is the first step to a real relationship with Britta, aside from the confusion of “Competitive Wine Tasting.” It’s cute, then is subsequently ruined in Season 4.

Pierce: Pierce’s ambitions of showbusiness have always been a favorite part of his character. He’s a sympathetic David Brent with a bit of an attitude problem. When he finds out he’s going to be put in a commercial, he demands a trailer. When the Dean says that’s not going to happen, he rents his own trailer and won’t come out of it until he gets his own trailer (and catering). He then ends up in Hollywood. Classic Pierce!

Abed: This, for me, was the most interesting reaction to the commercial. Abed wants to be a filmmaker, and he knows an Apocalypse Now scenario when he sees one, so he pulls out his camera.Community has established that Abed’s films are incredibly meta and self-referential (a bit like the show). When the Dean has a mental breakdown, Abed has something to break down and according to him, he “follows the fire, not the smoke.” Abed’s meta infatuation makes him the perfect person for documentation. He’s more interested in the execution and style of the Dean’s documentary than the finished product. Abed clearly has some prescient qualities, and in a scene with Britta, he tells that this is all going to end in self destruction. He might even try taking it to some festivals! Abed’s films have always been pretty self serving, from the Jesus meta meta meta (I’m missing a few metas) film to the piece about his parents to Piece’s bequeathings. Abed’s detachment from emotion makes him the perfect documentarian, searching for objective truth. He’s the only one who has a full grasp on the situation. Here’s the moral conundrum: should Abed stop it? He only has so many cameras. This is a telling line for Abed. He wants perfection too. He wants to see the Dean collapse for the sake of art. I think Abed knows he should intervene, and the ensuing moral struggle is difficult for him, but it’s been shown before how unrelenting Abed is. Even when the Dean realizes what his relentlessness has done and asks for privacy, Abed keeps rolling. The camera is his way of understanding emotions, a way to replay scenes from his life. It’s an interesting concept, one that makes Abed less robotic. He wants to understand and empathize, he just needs some help. When the Dean finally hits rock bottom, Abed does something he doesn’t regularly do: he sacrifices his art for the Dean. He makes a commercial that’s better than good: good enough. As he puts it, “some flies are too awesome for the wall.” I really liked his final monologue, where he says that telling the sad stories can make them happy. He decided to tell the story, so no matter how objective he wanted to be, he still had most of the control. It’s a great moment for Abed, and his stories will only get better.

III. The Commercial’s Effect on the Dean

Was there any doubt that the Dean wouldn’t pick the study group for the commercial (lack of hispanics notwithstanding)? It’s made abundantly clear that they’re his favorite students (especially in “Paradigms of Human Memory”), and of course he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have Jeff portray him. He just wants to portray a typical day at Greendale, “except for that the students look happy and you can’t smell that smell.” Well, when Luis Guzmán calls, shit gets real. He loves Luis (he even loves him in IMDB)! With that spark, he goes off to greatness. His descent into crazy artist mode is quick, but it feels natural, as the Dean is crazy. He uses the PA system for casting calls, makes Fat Neil play a book reading a book, and berates Garrett’s motion capture performance. He even wants an orange to be in it! Symbolism! Then he yells at Britta and Troy for not hugging correctly. He’ll even segregate the school if they get it wrong one more time. He’ll go back on everything he believes just to get this damned commercial right. He’s even willing to lose his job over it. This is a terrifying new side of the Dean, but somehow it works. His desires for Greendale to be taken seriously is so potent that it eventually had to manifest itself as a monster. When he puts up an ultimatum, everyone leaves in a hilarious bit of editing. When Luis finally arrives, everything is in shambles. No one is there, except for a possum. Luis thought the original script was pretty good! But of course he went to Greendale, he went there. The Dean’s self loathing really comes out in a nice piece of acting by Jim Rash. He finally realizes how special Greendale is, and that he knows how this will all end. When Abed fixes the commercial, it’s a special moment. He got most of what he needed the first day! The study group forgives him quickly, saying “they’ve all been there.” It’s a wonderful culmination of forgiveness and acceptance, the things Greendale are made of.

IV. Notes from the Commentary

Participants: Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jim Rash

This episode is pre-Pudi twins. Jim Rash is going to be the godfather (according to him). Gillian Jacobs’ godfather didn’t acknowledge her in public due to his divorce. Sad.

Dan calls everyone knuckleheads.

Gillian is pretty much Britta.

People thought the orange was a Coppola reference, but it wasn’t.

The trailer was the “perfect Chevy solution,” according to Dan.

Dan was hungover.

Megan Ganz wrote the episode, and the script got away from Dan.

Joel claims this is Jim’s 4th best performance.

Alison made a chart of how many pencils she should have per episode.

Ken was very excited for the wig/bald cap combo.
According to Jeff, the bald cap was painful.

At first, Mark Hamill was approached to be the statue. He rejected Dan in such a way that made Dan think he was the coolest guy ever.

LUKE SKYWALKER LIKES COMMUNITY. LET’S ALL APPRECIATE THAT.

They were very excited to watch Jim strip.

V. General Discussion

How does the Dean show his accountability? Does he run and hide? What’s significant about this? How is it different than Don?

What do you make of Shirley not having any Deanteraction after his breakdown? Is there anything meaningful there or was there too much to put into 22 minutes?

What’s up with Chang in this episode?

How do you feel that the mockumentary style works for Community? Would you want to see another episode like it, and why or why not?

I don’t feel like I talked about what was funny in this episode. So, what made you laugh?

 

08/26/2013 – 11:33 AM – 20 LIKES

On the AV Club: http://www.avclub.com/articles/advanced-introduction-to-finality,97134/#comment-1017937758 (page 183)

 

Discussion 

  •  i always forget how much i like this episode.

  • Yeah, this is one of the episodes I'd use to defend the overall quality of Season 3. Even though it is the weakest of the Harmon seasons, it still has great episodes like this.

  • Annie's quick descent into Stockholm Syndrome over the course of the ep is a real highlight for me, with the sight-gag of the increasing number of pencils in her hair and then her crazy-eyed defensiveness of the dean in her talking heads.

  • "Did the Dean invent that? If not, I don't care."

    One of my favorite lines from the episode. Alison Brie does crazy so well.

  • It's also a call back to the last time Annie had a psychotic breakdown.

    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

  • Excellent work, Hairdresser. I want to elaborate on what you wrote about Abed because his role in the episode is my favorite part and you made some similar points. I'll copy over a comment I wrote in the Advanced Documentary Filmmaking review. Think of it as another extra.

    My biggest issue with this episode [Advanced Documentary Filmmaking] is actually the lack of Abed's presence as a filmmaker. The prior documentary episodes are part of a series (plus the films in Debate 109 and Messianic Myths) that draw a clear arc of Abed coming to understand human character through his filmmaking. Not only did this episode not require the documentary format, but it has nothing to say about Abed's progress. Unless that something is that Abed has graduated and we're to accept that he just does this kind of thing now, but I doubt that. I think this is just another in a line of episodes that reduce Abed to the most basic aspects of his character as a storytelling device rather than writing to a defined character.

    This is the arc that precedes:

    Intro to Film – Just discovering film and cameras after having registered for the class thanks to Britta. His first assignment is a documentary; he doesn't show much understanding of the medium and describes them as "like real movies but with ugly people." He's very passive about what he is filming and doesn't seem to be taking ownership of his narrative. He sees his subjects more as archetypes playing a role (Jeff and Britta as his parents) than real people, let alone his 
    own friends. He used and manipulated Britta to get the material he needed. Nevertheless, he still created a film that, while "not exactly Citizen Kane", made a profound impression on his father, which Abed wasn't expecting. His father agrees to let him continue studying film, with felafel as a fallback of course.

    Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking – Abed comes in with a cocky attitude about the medium: "It's easier to tell a complex story when you can just cut to people explaining things to the camera". Here he has a clear idea of his subjects, having become friends with them, and shows a more refined technical skill behind the camera. Through the course of the documentary, he has to witness his friends unraveling before him but he can't/doesn't do anything, even aggressively toying with Jeff's emotions to get the juicy footage. By the end, he's left feeling disappointed at the ease with which he could simply edit the film to "suggest a profound thematic connection", despite the messiness of the real events. "I'm not knocking it. It works."

    Documentary Filmmaking: Redux – Right off the bat, he recognizes the central conflict and where it's going: "As a student of character, I have a feeling that trying to make this commercial may cost the Dean his sanity." He is still unable to bridge Filmmkaer Abed with Friend Abed as he watches his friends squirm while doing nothing in order to maintain the distance he believes he has to keep. But for the first time, the arc in this episode concludes with Abed understanding the effect documentary cameras can have on people; that a documentarian can't simply pretend to be an emotionally detached fly on the wall as he did. He recognizes he has control and thus responsibility for his subjects. And he comes to an epiphany about the art of storytelling:

    Abed: Documentarians are supposed to be objective to avoid having any effect on the story, and yet we have more effect than anyone, because we decide to tell it and we decide how it ends. Will your story be yet another sad one about yet another man who just wanted to be happy? Or will your story acknowledge the very nature of stories and embrace the fact that sharing the sad ones can sometimes make them happy?

    There might not be a more apt description of Abed's role on this show than "Some flies are too awesome for the wall." He could be a glib stereotype if the show wanted him to be one but the writers are so generous about making him heroic and empathetic.

    Remember that link Stephen posted recently with quotes from filmmakers about other filmmakers? They're all assholes to each other and that's fascinating, but only to a point. Abed was no different until he came to his own epiphany about the reason we tell stories at all; the brass tacks of it all, without the self-involvement and showboating. I hope to see another Cool Abed Film episode in season 5 that 1. actually pays attention to Abed's role and 2. further tracks Abed's understanding of humanity through his films. What kind of films is he making now that he's more empathetic and understands his responsibility as a filmmaker?

  • This episode is perhaps my favorite-ever Abed performance for the reasons you and Hairdresser highlight so well.

  • Thanks, this is great. The filmmaking arc is one of my favorite things this show has done. It manages to be meta but not overindulgent, and it's such a great vehicle for Abed's development.

  • I remember when you originally brought all this up way back when Redux first aired (just a week after the hiatus had been announced iirc), and I just wanted to take this time to /praise you for inspiring me with said astute and wonderful analysis even years earlier.  

    It made me realize just how deep this show can get beyond even an episode-by-episode basis and encouraged me to rewatch all of Season 1 & 2 at the time.  It's certainly a shame the followup in Season 4 did little to nothing to compliment these earlier efforts from the production crew and actors, but your detailing of this arc was not unread or unappreciated at least, nor your later disappointment unshared– thank you again for your Cool Abed thoughts. /cheer

  • 1) I think the Dean is much, much more accountable than Don. Yes, they both completely lose their shit, but the Dean ends the episode asking for help (and getting it). Don ends his episode by rejecting Chevy and continuing to pretend that nothing's wrong with him, even though he completely abandoned his team in favor of some crazed personal quest.

    3) Chang is fucking hilarious in this episode. It might be the last time I really love him as a character.

  • Yeah it was really interesting to see how both episodes started in a very similar spot and really diverged, based on the characters driving the plot. Maybe in another life Don can be the Dean of Greendale. He and Jeff would be buddies!

    I totally agree about Chang. Him following Jeff around, mimicking his actions was awesome.

  • What do you make of Shirley not having any Deanteraction after his breakdown? Is there anything meaningful there or was there too much to put into 22 minutes?

    Shirley was the person least sucked into the movie. Possibly because she is the person who has the most satisfying home life. Right from the start she has one foot out the door, and throughout the process she remains detached and sardonic. She takes over Jeff's typical role in the series.

  • Nice! Shirley is usually the least invested in campus antics (along with Jeff). I think it was good to have one of the group to recognize the insanity for what it is.

  • Shirley also has the most clarity (and perhaps, least disappointment–for her it's an achievement to be back in school, not a fall like Jeff, Troy, and Annie) about why she's at Greendale, which I think helps her not get tied up in the insanity.

  • Imagine what Don would have done to the ice cream machine…

    Interesting comparison, especially about where the two characters look for inspiration.  This is one of the first episodes where we really understand that the Dean isn't just a crazy, wacky guy who loves Greendale for no apparent reason other than that he's a crazy, wacky guy, but because it's what he got stuck with and by gum, he 's going to make it not a disappointment.  Few sitcoms would bequeath their wacky character that modicum of grace.  

    Fantastic episode, particularly for Abed, Jeff, and the Dean.  I think you've already commented on the Dean, and on the fact that Jeff, in going out of his way to screw over this project, actually helps Greendale and the Dean.  I also like that we get a glimpse of the old "self esteem falling out of my butt" Abed with the "too awesome for the wall" comment.  For the most part, I enjoyed that S3 was increasingly about breaking him down, but the confident-if-dysfunctional Abed of S1 was a really interesting guy I would've liked to explore a little more.

    I can't recall how that Mad Men episode ended, but I'm going to guess it wasn't with hugging and learning and possum-ridding.

  • I really miss that Abed too. Remember when they want to make him flirt with girls and it turns out that he's really good with it? He's a confident guy, he just has troubles with complex emotions at times (plenty of us do). 

    Don pretty much says "fuck you I'm not working on Chevy anymore" and leaves it to the partners. It fits well with the Season 6 "Don is a raging asshole, even more than usual" theme.

  • I read that as "Dan pretty much says 'fuck you I'm not working with Chevy anymore' and leaves it to the partners," which is almost accurate.

  • ehsteve14, I like your 'Dan' typo there because it works perfectly both ways.

  • So I wasn't really feeling the Dean's half of this episode because I felt he was basically playing Dan Harmon (like, way more than usual for a Community character) in the meta story and thus I couldn't fully empathize with the Dean. That's mitigated somewhat by the other half where Harmon negotiates his paranoia and petulance regarding NBC and "perfection" through Abed's more level-headed conclusion. Harmon is nothing if not acutely self-aware so I like that he had his tantrum and then also immediately apologized through Abed. Classic Harmon.

    I think Gauephat might have some other criticisms and I know Eric wasn't a big fan of the episode either.

  • That's definitely a great criticism. Community is at its best when the Harmon-ness is wrangled in. It can work in large doses, but it's hard to do so. I'll argue that it works here because it goes to great lengths to portray the Dean in a negative light as he strives for perfection.

    I'd definitely be interesting in hearing some non-positive feedback on this episode.

  • 5. "I don’t feel like I talked about what was funny in this episode. So, what made you laugh?"

    -"Hellooooo. It's me, Luis Guzman!"
    -The return of the "basketball team best known for being really gay"
    -I loved Dean Bigley and how excited he was about the school's keyboarding program.
    -The old Greendale promo was hilarious and a frighteningly accurate depiction of the 90s:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…
    -"Troy and I are buds. Best buds. Air Buds even."
    -"STOP SAYING I'M DIFFERENT!" (WHY DONALD, WHYYYYYY)
    -"I made bald friends!!"
    -Gotta agree with Scrawler that Chang is great here. Him shadowing Jeff is a metaphor for his role on the show as someone always lurking in the shadows, on the outside looking in. Ideal use of the character.
    -Board member as stand-in for NBC suits: "Is there any more of the crazy Chinese guy. He pops!"
    -The Board guys relaying NBC's new philosophy: "It's good. You know what, better than good: good enough." It's crazy just how many references there are to the ongoing NBC situation and now with hindsight it's even haunting as a sign of things to come.
    -Garrett in the motion capture suit was sublime. Props, ECN!
    -Not a joke, but I'm interested in learning more about the Dean's "two-faced mother" who sold embarrassing photos to the Greendale Gazette Journal Mirror.

  • Other Hilarious Bits from this Episode:

    I also love "Anarchist Cat Owner":http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

    And I frequently try to infuse "you know I love to be seen agreeing with you ____" into conversation:
    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

    And let's not forget the wonderful headlines:
    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

    "I just want to see my hair again."

    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

    "This man holds your tuition dollars."

    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

  • Affrosponge88

     Great review.

    Just don't let these all these likes go to your head, Wilford.

  • I kind of hope I never live that down.

  • Sensational review, Intermittent Hairdresser /cheer.
    This is one of my top 5 favorite episodes, but between your review, LB's expert breakdown of Abed's actions here, and everyone else's wonderful comments on all reviews/threads for these ~22 minutes, I can't contribute much more of use than my version of The Chris Farley Show.  "Remember when Luis Guzman showed up?  THAT was awesome!"

    One thematic thread I shall present:  This is a semi-closure to an arc that's been around since the first few minutes of Season 1, if not its entirety– the Dean trying his best to push Greendale into the big leagues.  Whereas everyone else at Greendale shows up with an aire of defeat and resignation, the Dean has always embodied ambition and grand dreams for this campus.  And the true start of the arcs that are finalized or brought to the forefront here all began with this shot:

    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

    Unveiling the Luis Guzman statue and trying to make Greendale into something "respectable" or "exemplary," something greater than the sum of its parts– and the old Greendale ad is ALL that and more to the Dean– to his view of what Greendale WAS.  And it takes this episode for the Dean to see what was REALLY going on in the foreground/background of Advanced Criminal Law.  

    "WORSHIP the people who are here– it changes peoples lives!"  In ACL– you have Jeff truly befriending Britta with his defense, Britta finally pushing away ever so slightly from her anarchist, defeatist attitude, and Pierce taking a pop song and tweaking it to reflect the simplistic joy of going to Greendale– and worshiping the brightest aspect of one of its best– Annie's belief in all Pierce can accomplish.  To the Dean, it's all about that statue being unveiled and the sound system poolside– the cherry on top of his reformation plan.  But Greendale was unique and beautiful all along (You even have Abed and Troy fortifying their friendship finally by outlawing deception).

    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

    That's what makes this episode so wonderful– it takes everything we've already seen of the Dean and emphasizes and exemplifies his strengths and weaknesses throughout these past 3 seasons.  AND it utilizes Luis Guzman at the perfect time for this cameo– his speech to the Dean is monumental.  The Dean needed to "raise" Greendale up to something extraordinary in order to feel extraordinary himself– to feel accomplished– and pushing through everything he deemed too pedestrian and/or simplistic was just the Dean's base characteristics on steroids.  

    Dean's eventual confrontation with Jeff this episode illustrates that perfectly.  When Jeff is lying and insulting the Dean with the phoniest, most grandiose Dean performance ever– the Dean's all for it.  When Jeff goes through another Communication Studies transformation and develops a performance "informed by feeling,"— something REAL and deep and meaningful but subtle– the Crazy Dean hates it.  

    While a lot of Season 3 may seem deliberately jarring for the sake of jarring– this backlash to Jeff is true to the Dean– he doesn't want the truth– he wants The Truth©.  Chang as Jeff as the Dean can be ANYTHING– can symbolize anything and everything and bring Greendale up to the heavens– all Jeff as the Dean as this point can do is reflect reality– and the Dean doesn't want to see that.

    And of course, the group hug at the end here with Jeff especially leading the charge is one of the more heartwarming moments of the show.  "Because we've all been there, and that's why we're all here."  What an episode.

    Doppeldeaner Count for this Episode:
    Practically the whole episode is a series of duplicates and replicants of some sort.  Everyone as players/actors/directors/themselves (The desired Sassy Shirley vs. Real Shirley, etc).  The old Greendale commercial and Dean vs. the "new" Greendale and Dean.  All the different versions of the commercial throughout the over budget shoot, Dan Harmon/Coppola and the Dean in his talks with NBC/SONY/his crew.  The multiple trailers, the Dean, Jeff as the Dean, Chang as Jeff as the Dean.  The pseudo-relationship of Troy and Britta on screen and off and their real hug at the end.  And of course, this fantastic shot:

    http://fishsticktheatre.com/TV…

    LIGHTS, CAMERA, DEAN~! /cheer