Community "Advanced Documentary Filmmaking" Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Community S04E06: "Advanced Documentary Filmmaking”

As this week’s episode of Community explored who Kevin/Chang is, I couldn’t help but continue to think about what this show is. I don’t want to talk about the past or what Community could or should be, I really don’t. But in its six episodes so far this season, the show has tried too hard to recreate some former version of what it was, which ultimately leads to the audience making comparisons. In the two episodes where the writers managed to break free a little from certain expectations about what Community is “supposed to be” (the two holiday episodes) in order to tell simple, but effective character stories, it felt like there was enough juice and goodwill (certainly in the cast and in the writers room as well) to make the season worth sticking with.

“Advanced Documentary Filmmaking” was a tough episode for me, because it begged us to compare and contrast how it stacked up against Community's previous two documentary-style episodes (and for the record, I adore “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking,” but I admire “Documentary Filmmaking: Redux” more than I enjoy it). But it also put together a nice—albeit unfortunately Chang-heavy—story that united the whole cast and Greendale for a specific purpose. While the new Community is still very clearly a work in progress, these last two episodes suggest that it might be building toward something.


I can’t really defend the choice to return to the documentary conceit. "Advanced Documentary Filmmaking" did make some attempt to justify why Abed was filming everyone again (he’s Abed) and why the Dean might be pushing him to do so (he’s the Dean), and there were a few new winks toward the process (Abed watching and reacting to footage on-screen; his line about crane shots conveying emotion and his constant desire to get better shots, which sort of reinforced that this was a sloppy attempt to re-create magic), but those moments didn’t overcome what felt like worn-out territory. Whereas the show's first two outings with the documentary style were used to take character-first stories to different extremes (along with the show’s typical convention-busting stylistics), this one doesn’t get to that interesting place. What could have been a cool moment for Shirley was bypassed so that the episode could use Britta’s technical ineptness to make a joke and give Jeff “evidence” to take Chang down. There was value to tracking Jeff’s journey from deceit to acceptance that made the confessionals beneficial, but they just weren't enough for me. Annie and Troy’s detective work too obviously recalled their prior experiences (Annie with Shirley in Season 1’s “The Science of Illusion,” and Troy with Abed in the Law & Order riff last year). It was a beat that existed so Jeff could use the two characters’ enthusiasm for fake police work to serve his minorly nefarious plan, but then the episode didn't do anything else with it. Jeff set them up, they took the bait and sure, we got a few solid jokes powered exclusively by Donald Glover making faces at the camera, but so what? And on a similar note, by the time the episode confirmed what we already knew—that Jeff was right and Chang is faking it—the show was back telling a story we’ve seen before: Chang trying to cause an insurrection, this time presumably with the help of City College (which we’ve also seen before).

All of this signifies something that’s both disheartening but also not just related to any behind-the-scenes changes: Community has reached middle-age, and the show is now more willing to open to that box on the shelf that’s marked “Things That Work.” You could argue that the show is pushing half-cooked versions of stories and character moments we’ve seen before solely because the new showrunners suck, but as The A.V. Club’s Joel Keller wrote a few weeks back, that’s not necessarily the case. The show returned to certain conceits in Season 2 and Season 3, too, and in my mind, often to diminishing returns. "Advanced Documentary Filmmaking" was an extension of that, combined with writers wanting to keep the peace, combined with the show simply aging.

It’s generally easier for me to stomach these things in episodes with strong character bits (like last week’s), but at least this one didn’t mangle everything like “Conventions of Space and Time” or “Alternative History of the German Invasion.” And what I like about “Advanced Documentary Filmmaking” is that, despite the familiar framework, it was a relatively calm episode. Community has struggled to balance multiple stories this season like never before, but this one brought everyone into one singular plotline, which is where the show has traditionally done its best work. The documentary allowed for every character to get their moment (even Chevy seemed lucid this week), and that makes me happy.

Plus, we got another solid Jeff story. Even though we “learned” that Chang was faking, that doesn’t necessarily invalidate Jeff’s recognition that he can’t always push things to the most insane, severe degree. We’ve seen him learn various lessons in humility before, but his willingness to start over with “Kevin”—even though he literally did try to kill everyone—was a big man move. It’s interesting to me that the show is so reliant on Jeff this year. Don’t get me wrong, he’s the lead character and Joel McHale has been doing great work in bringing his tough transition from Jeff to full-time New Jeff to life, but to me, re-centering on a lead character suggests that the writers are holding on to what’s a little easier to do while they attempt to find the other characters’ voices. So here we are, another week, another episode of Community sending us conflicting signals. I—along with a lot of the audience—am ready and willing to move on from the past. While I don’t think the show should completely break from what came before, it can’t keep trying to be what it was, because it’s only reminding us of how it can’t get there anymore. 

And yet, the show also keeps giving us great moments like Jeff reaching out to shake Kevin/Chang’s hand, which totally hit the mark. Figuring out your lead character and giving your star good moments are big steps forward. But then you've gotta keep taking those steps.



STUDY NOTES

This is where I talk about Britta’s new glasses. Hey there.

– I appreciate that Jeff was willing to pony up the rights for that New Radicals song, and I enjoyed the show’s use of it (and the crane shot).

– Ken Jeong did a nice job in that final cafeteria scene. Chang no longer fits into the show and hasn’t really for two seasons, but that was a good moment for him.

More History of Ice Cream diabetes drop-outs. We just need three more!

Comments (78)
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For the record. I love this show...but IMO with the Dan the Man leaving there is something off this season, I will continue to watch but this Chang storyline is played OUT..
A couple of episodes back they played up the other students hating them for hogging the study room..The need to bite a little more on that idea..Them vs Greendale...Your Welcome!!
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For the record, this review was several paragraphs of opining for Community seasons past, followed by 4 bullet points discussing the rest of the episode.
I found this episode, if nothing else, thoroughly enjoyable television. Plenty of funny lines (and none that tried but fell flat) and some nice character moments. Joel McHale is turning into quite the actor this season.
Also, there's a giant elephant in the room that hasn't been mentioned -- Does anyone realize what a MacGuffin is? A plot device with no inherent meaning that serves purely to move the plot forward. So for the entire episode, I was wondering if the MacGuffin was the grant, or if it was Changnesia itself and that we were headed for a giant swerve. It was fitting for them to throw that nugget into a documentary-style episode, too, since it originated in Citizen Cane, which was itself part investigative mystery.
Overall, I thought this episode was very well done and one of the season's stronger showings.
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The fact that users of this site have rated it a whole point higher than the very touching Thanksgiving episode makes me think Community fans just want more of the same tired crap instead of actual character driven stories.
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The joke with Abed reacting to the footage because it would be too hard for the viewers to watch was a reference to the documentary Grizzly Man.
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The show is definitely going through a Chang. Ken Jeong is doing a pretty good job acting as a nice-having-no-clue guy. Although, the evil laughter at the end was kinda predictable, the show is taking the Community fun path.
I really love it! It's like watching cartoons...but with people.
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Chang puns!
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Maybe I'd have thought better of the episode if it wasn't so Chang-centric. Not only have I not liked Chang's character since he became Greendale security -- and teacher Chang was the best Chang -- I also hate this idiotic version of him. You KNOW a show is trying to dumb down when they start incorporating a seemingly mentally retarded character pretty much only for cheap comedy (Abed has a psychological condition, but he's never been an idiot or 'tool' for laughs). Derp, what's a microscope? LOL.

Maybe I'd also have thought better of the episode if I had laughed at least once. I've always loved Community for its heart and morals, but for most of its run, it was also a legitimately hilarious comedy. I don't see the hilarity anymore. I can still give this current Community a couple daps and props every other episode or so for still conveying the heart and morals side of things, but it's just not funny. It may not have been as horrible as the wishing fountain scene, but Pierce's idiocy wasn't funny... Britta's idiocy wasn't funny... Troy's idiocy wasn't funny... Ugh, the characters are all just idiots now.

So with that said, this wasn't the worst episode of the season and I can still see certain aspects improving. Hopefully the jokes are next to improve because a 20 minute melodrama with a touch of 2-Broke-Girls-jokes doesn't do much for me.
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Teacher Chang was definitely the best Chang. The show's been sort of screwed with the character from the jump once The Hangover turned Jeong into something of a star.
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Still enjoy the show but Chang... haven't really liked the character since he stopped being the Spanish teacher.
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I didn't think the episode was 'bad', but it wasn't that good either. And that's the problem with Community this season, 6 episodes in and none of them were great. How is that possible?

Luckily we still have Parks and Rec :)
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I decided to give the show a chance after the disappointing premiere being one of the optimists. 6 episodes in I don't see much hope. Half baked, recycled, worn out ideas everywhere while it seems that they try way too hard to bring something new. I miss the creativity which made this show unique. I really like Cory's analysis; this is not the first time Community recycles and tries to play it safe. I don't think this is only a Harmon-thing. But yeah, whatever it is - it kind of doesnt matter anymore as this show is finished...
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I'm out. Gone from my DVR, gone from my active TV show list. What a TV shame.
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didn't laugh once. plz cancel now. just makes me sad. concerned one of the friends i recommended this show to will see one of these episodes, which will just make me look like i have bad taste and embarrass me.

also, opening the article by praising the widely panned thanksgiving ep not wise, starts off a lot of readers in a skeptical frame of mind.
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well half way through this season (wow is it going by fast) and i still dont know quite what to think. When I first watched this episode I enjoyed it and found parts funny but then I watched the Parks and Rec episode after and since i liked that one so much I switched to a channel that was from a later timezone so i ended up watching those two shows again and I just saw how much the parks episode surpassed this one on the funny scale. I guess the point Im trying to say is that this episode did nothing for me when i rewatched it. Usually when i rewatch a community episode i find it as good or greater but this one somehow lost something for me upon rewatching it... weird eh?

well as for the episode I guess it kind of fell flat for me b/c we have already seen 2 other documentary episodes. And once again they were relying on tropes and situations that were funny in past episodes which i really hope they dont continue to do for the rest of the season cuz really its getting repetative and its like they are beating a dead horse( i am looking forward to the Freaky Friday one that Jim Rash wrote tho). All i want to see for the rest of the season is something NEW. (and too bad they aired so late cuz at least if they aired stuff early in the year the writers would have been getting feedback and could have attempted to chang the writing for future episodes)

And then there was Chang.... Let me just say that I kind of wished Changnesia was a real thing for the show and he wasnt just faking b/c over the past couple year the wackier chang got the more i wanted him gone. I liked his character in season one and his character for season two but by season three he got too crazy and started to get annoying. At least with Kevin they would of had a fresh slate and could of made him something more like S1 Chang oh well. Also is there a point in hiding the fact that hes working for City College I think ppl prob got that from the S3 final.

Wait was there no new costume for the Dean?? if there was could someone tell me. Cuz i cant remember
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I agree about Chang not fitting right into the show after the 1st season but I really liked this episode. I don't see why doing similar stories to ones done before is so bad, they did repeat certain styles in the previous seasons before Dan Harmon's departure y'know and we liked it then. So if they do another paintball episode this season are we going to criticize that one too even if it's just as funny? I mean don't get me wrong, I've been watching the previous season's and can tell it's not the same and missing... something; but I'm still finding it enjoyable.
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Yes, the series has repeated some concepts before, like the documentary episodes, paintball episodes, and fake clip-shows. However, whenever Dan Harmon repeated an idea, it seemed to be because he felt he had something more he could get out of those ideas. For example, the two previous documentary episodes were modeled after mockumentary shows and actual documentaries (specifically Hearts of Darkness). The paintball episodes all were very different, referencing action movies, westerns, and Star Wars. And they were able to get enough out of the clip-show idea the second time, and connect it with the main story well enough to make it worth while. Now, I did enjoy this episode for the most part, but felt that the documentary aspect seemed very forced. They didn't seem to do anything with it to warrant even having it this time, and the documentary aspect seemed pretty half-assed as it is. Abed asking people to re-do their scenes, and then leaving that in the final version of the documentary? And some of the other documentary scents didn't really seem documentary-like either. As I said in my first post, this was actually their best use of a concept so far this season, but considering the fact that it felt like a half-assed attempt at a documentary episode that didn't really seem like it needed to be a documentary episode, that's pretty sad, and helps to emphasize that the writers need to re-think their desire to force the show to be exactly like it was when Dan Harmon was there, when they can't even get that Harmon-ness right.
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Yes, I do agree that this time the style seemed forced, like they just did it for the sake of having a documentary-style episode. But I realized if I just stopped trying to see the show like it was before, it's more enjoyable. Like I've said before, I'm just going to sit and watch the actors do their thing with whatever material is thrown at them, they're still brilliant.
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true they redid certain stories (like the flashback episodes, paint ball) but i think its b/c we have already seen 2 documentary episodes before and 3 just seems alittle much (im counting the paintball ones as 2 storieslines one needing 2 episdes too tell it)
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I'm finding it hard to put my feelings about this episode into words. It was still a weak episode but it had elements that I liked. I think that so far we can classify season 4 episodes as either giant messes that may or may not have had the odd redeeming character moments (eps 1-3,5) and episodes showing better discipline with their structure and writing that nonetheless had serious flaws in execution (4,6). Like some of the commenters below I've liked the latter type of episodes more, probably because they better demonstrate the potential for the show to improve with just a little more care in the exeuction of episodes. I can't currently decide whether 4 or 6 is my favourite of the season so for now I'll call them about even.

This all means that personally I need more out of Community than sporadic character development, I strongly value the plot component of episodes. Now no doubt many people would think that my negativity about season 4 is thinly veiled Harmon-loyalty conservatism but those who actually take the time to objectively read my comments and others with similar views would see that for the weak straw man argument it is. Season 4 is more than anything failing in the some of the fundamental components of fiction: character, plot, writing, humour. At least the acting is still good. If the showrunners can produce episodes whose quality is satisfactory then I don't mind if they take the show into completely different directions from Harmon. It all comes down to quality.
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I kind of hope the show gets cancelled. Then 6 years from now someone starts a kickstarter account and we get a movie.
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#sixyearsandamovie?
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*Sigh*

I'm just not up to writing another negative review ... unless people goad me into it. (I rewatched "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking" directly after this episode, so that should let you know what I think of it.) I'm slowly coming to the realization that Tim did the right thing handing Community over to Cory. No matter how many haters, criticizers and complainers there are, people always respond better to positivity. I've been rewatching quite a lot of seasons 2-3 these past few weeks (even the "normal" episodes), and I can say this without bias or glorifying Harmon/Community's past, even Harmon's misses were better than this seasons hits. With that being said, I'll leave writing about Community to the cockeyed optimists, because they are better suited to deal with what this show has become.

Goodbye, Community review forums. We'll always have "Pillows and Blankets".

(P.S. I may be back with the occasional snarky one-liner, or if I love one of the new episodes ... I'm going to get to work on my snarkiness.)
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Goodbye, FF. I'll create a blanket fort in your name, between the western portion of East Hall and the eastern half of the North Cafeteria, which is located in the western half of North Hall, with a great view of a painting of English Memorial, oddly placed north of the South Wall and not by the English Memorial Spanish Center.
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It's sad that we won't get to read your thoughts, because whether I agree with you or not, your reviews are always interesting. Having said that, I understand where your decision comes from. I also decided not to comment on this episode. After last week's negative reviews of the negative reviews, I thought that maybe if I didn't have anything nice to say about the episode, then I shouldn't say anything, and leave the positive thinkers to their own. Hence, my silence. I think that there are different kinds of fans. I'm not the kind of fan that blindly defends the object of her affection no matter what. I like to look at things objectively (if there's such a thing as objectivity), and I take pride in the fact that I still love the shows I love in spite of their flaws, "mistakes", etc. I don't particularly endorse the attitude of "I love it thus it's great". A person can still love something even if it's flawed, and I think it speaks well of one's judgement if you're able to acknowledge those flaws. I also believe everyone's entitled to their own opinions. I won't judge anyone who thinks Community's still great, and I don't expect to be judged if I happen to think otherwise. I also believe the world would be quite a boring place if we all had the same way of thinking and perceiving things. But the response to "negative" reviews in the Community posts has been hostile, to say the least, and they leave no place for deep discussion of opposing ideas. So, to sum up, I understand your decision, and I had pretty much decided to do the same. Hope to read you somewhere else!
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awwww.. well there are still 7 more episodes there should be at least one good one somewhere
I would like to know why you have decided to give up at this point tho (try one sentence or two so you dont accidentally go into a large rant about the episode)
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I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. If you are, screw you, if not, sorry about that "screw you" confusion. And my comment already explained why I'm going to stop writing about Community.
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sorry i didnt mean to be sarcastic, maybe it was b/c i was reading your comment at like midnight that i totally missed your point. but i still mean it when i say that there should at least be one really really good episode out of the 13 that you will like (im also saying that cuz i want that to be true too :/ )
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"even Harmon's misses were better than this seasons hits." Here here! Admittedly, I went out of this episode happier than you seem to be, but I still don't think it's as good as it could be, even with the new showrunners. And when you compare it to what came before it, and imagine what could have been if NBC didn't screw the show over, it's honestly kind of depressing just what a good episode of Community is these days.
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I really don't enjoy disliking Community. Writing negative comments isn't much fun. But I honestly believe when people look back on this show, the 4th season will be considered a separate entity from Dan Harmon's Community. Thanks for your comment.
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Chang was great as the weird Spanish teacher, but everything else was pretty bad. And I have no idea why everyone at Greendale want to help "Kevin" to be Chang again, when Kevin is the much nicer person.
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i think this is a good sign, this was the best episode this season. it was quirky, dark at times and funny. compared to previous episodes it was also a lot more balanced
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I've always strongly disliked Chang. So for me this was by far the worst episode of one of my favorite shows. Chang is AWFUL.
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The only thing I greatly dislike about this season is the Harmonatics who deride anything whatsoever about it. Quite honestly, Harmon was losing me last season as I felt the characters becoming more unlikeable. I felt like an extension of Harmon himself, an outside who thought WAY too much of himself and looked down on everyone else. He IS a damn funny guy, but there was an ugliness creeping into the show I didn't like. I give credit for the showrunners this year for trying to address is via the German exchange students, as it showed the group how unlikable they had become, but it didn't quite work.

I think the show is stuck between trying to change and not upset the Harmon loyalists. Fact is, THOSE people will never like it again, so stop trying to even attempt appealing to them. Maybe they'll come back, but for now all they'll do is take you apart. Focus on the people who still like the show and the characters and hope for it to continue. We'll wait for you to work out your kinks.

I think the reason Pierce is being shafted is simply because Chevy became too much trouble to concern themselves with. He had already made it clear he was unhappy and wanted to go, as well as been less than kind in the media, so why waste time trying to do anything but spin the wheels until he leaves? It may be a waste of Chevy, who can still pull off a good laugh or two, but I can understand the rationale.
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Im not a Harmon Loyalist but I will say that I do miss the episodes that were on when he was in charge. Do i think that the show was great soley on his work? No , but i do think thnk that the problem is that the new guys are trying to be like him sooooo much and r trying to show people that they can do the same things that happened when he was around that they are just cherry picking fan favorite episodes and situations and sticking them into each episode which is why im gettinng irked. I do agree that they need to do their own thing bc im all up for change as long as the stories are funny and unfortuantly we havent really seen that yet.

And i agree season three was starting to get weird but i still find those episodes better than what we have so far.
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While I strongly disagree with you about Dan Harmon, and season 3, I have to agree whole-heartedly with what you say about the direction the new showrunners should take with the series. As much as I loved Dan Harmon's Community, and wish we could still have that show in this 4th season, these new showrunners aren't Dan Harmon, and never will be. To try so hard to re-capture that magic seems forced, and honestly depressing, because they probably never will. They do admittedly have some good qualities, they just need to realize what those qualities are, and run with them, so that we can still have a decent show instead of a wannabe Harmon season.
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Totally agree with you in relation to the direction the show was heading in. I thought in season 3 the characters where getting borderline obnoxious and that they were more like caricatures. Britta especially, who I loved at the start but then got super annoying (Troy was, and always will be perfect however). I'm glad it's been toned down this season.
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Troy is definitely the best and I feel Donald Glover can do no wrong with that character... in my opinion.
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Obviously different people will have different opinions, and you're entitled to yours, but I honestly can't see how anyone can say that season 4's characters are less like caricatures than last seasons. Pierce's racism has been pushed to new extremes, and that seems to be the only defining characteristic for him when he's not being under-used. Troy is little more than a man-child. Granted, he could act pretty childish before, but he could also be mature when he needed to be, and he wasn't nearly as ignorant of the world as he has been this season. He seems less like a childish adult than an adult possessed by a 5 year-old kid. And don't even get me started on the whole horrible-at-psychology-but-always-right-when-it-matters direction they've taken with Britta. Abed hasn't been quite as bad as those three characters IMO, although he's been a lot more emotional than he should be this season (see all the times he has smiled). Annie And Shirley aren't caricatures like the others, but they are barely even characters anymore, just shadows of their former selves. Admittedly, though, the writers have done a pretty good job with Jeff's character, especially last episode. Again, it's ok that you feel differently than I do, but I do have a hard time figuring out why somebody could call the characters of season 3 caricatures, while saying they're not that way this season.
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I agree. S3 grated on me quite a bit and I think the perception of the show and Harmon is difficult to escape. But the show needs to do a better job of trying to do so.
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I thought that this episode had the best one-liners of this season. Without going into the larger story arch or the character development, I really thought there were many quite sharp jokes, especially in the beginning, for example:
- The MacGuffin Institute
- Chang estimating his age to be 15 and learning that a microscope makes things bigger.
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This is a decent review, but I feel like it's stretching to find the good in an episode that on its best day could be called a giant mess. Chevy was written to be more lucid, yet he has the most racist puppet show moment, and his lucid roles don't feel particularly funny. Jeff gets ostracized for being right about an attempted mass-murderer, that felt entirely forced and clunky, as if it needed to ensure that Jeff had a Freaky Friday moment with Chang, but they've pulled that before with Pierce to much greater effect. Pairing off Troy with Annie seemed simply like an afterthought of "how to separate Abed from Troy", and having Troy be reduced to an arbitrary misunderstander of the police detective partner motif smacks of a special needs child, not a naive but functional adult. Nothing about this episode felt honest or original.

The episode wasn't even effectively handled, at first it's a pure documentary, then it devolves into a standard episode with documentary pieces that don't feel authentic to the moment's of the regular show. It's as inconsistent as Abed's facial expressions, wanting to stay in character but somehow forced into showing some "normal person" expressions. And the "MacGuffin Institute" joke fell flat, an easy but workable deconstruction of an idea turned into a one-note gag that went nowhere new despite being thrown back at the screen several times.

Ironically, the only moment to get even a smirk out of me was from Chang throwing his phone away then realizing it wasn't a burner phone - that felt like both a stupid thing Chang would do because he lives in his own inner world, and something honest because anybody might do by accident.
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This is almost word for word my feelings about the episode. Well, okay, maybe not word for word -- JT_Kirk certainly expressed it much better than I would have.

Like you, the ONLY scene I kind of laughed at was Chang throwing his phone away, starting his maniacal laugh, then asking himself why he threw his phone away.
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Keep fighting the good fight, JT!
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I'm an optimist!
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Prime!
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I would say this is close to the best of the season thus far. For a couple reasons. One it all flowed together. All of the characters were working toward a common goal. And that is when the show is at its best. When it separates them out and they are each doing their own thing it becomes too erratic and it dilutes what they are trying to do. Second, their documentary stuff is always fantastic. Was it as great as the previous ones? no. But what is?

I am however starting to understand why Chevy left. Granted I have never really liked the character, which was probably the point of the character. But he has been given crap to work with this season and I can understand why he would want to leave.

Overall it is another step in the right direction. But throughout the episodes it still hasn't addressed what was brought to us in the first couple of episodes. Namely, Brita and Troy and Annie and Jeff getting closer. I am not sure why, I would think that there would be a lot of funny in regards to their personal and group adjustments that would be hilarious.
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I'm kind of with Hungry Homer in that I feel better about the show when they aren't trying to force the relationships, especially Annie and Jeff just because they aren't actually a couple. It just feels weird with those two this season. Britta and Troy as a couple hasn't been funny yet, but I can see why they're together... season 3 was pretty much pushing them together. But while I do prefer these episodes without em, I can also see why it'd be better to try and develop those relationships instead of just ignoring them or bringing them up a little bit every few episodes.

As to WHY these later episodes haven't been addressing it, I think that has to do with episode order. The German Invasion episode two weeks ago was supposed to be the second episode of the season, while episodes 2 and 3 were supposed to be 3 and 4. This episode was written to be the eighth episode, but aired as the sixth. So I figure the writers initially wrote these episodes spreading the relationships out a bit, but NBC decided to change the order, causing 3 straight episodes to show the relationships and 3 straight episodes to ignore them.
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I agree with your first two paragraphs 100%. The show, especially this season, works a lot better when the group is together. That is a big part of the reason why I have this episode and episode 4 as my favorites of the season. And as for Chevy Chase, when he hasn't been ignored this season, he seems like to much of a caricature of Pierce's eccentricities, most notably his un-PC attitude, which has become pure racism. Granted, season 3 also under-used Chevy, but this is a new low for the character, who I actually liked before, even when he was being under-used in season 3. As for the relationship stuff... Honestly, I'm kind of glad they've gotten away from that stuff these past few episodes. Those relationships were handled really poorly in the first few episodes, even creating what I think is the series' worst scene ever, Troy and Britta in the water fountain.
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When looking at what it did with the documentary aspect of the episode, I'd say it's the best concept they've done all season, but it definitely didn't live up to the previous documentary episodes. As for the episode itself... I actually liked it! I thought it did a good job with the story, and while it still had a few jokes that fell flat, I do think the comedy worked overall, which is a lot more than I could say for previous episodes this season. So far, my rankings for this season's episodes are 6 >> 4 >> 5 > 2 > 3 > 1. If the rest of the episodes can be about as good as episodes 4 and 6, I'd actually be willing to stick around until the end.
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Loving these weekly Hungry Homer episode rankings.
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Like this comment if you think this was the best episode this season
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Well, yes you said, it is difficult to compare. Especially if they insist on using stuff that has worked on the past. Still this ep and last one were pretty decent... we might get somewhere...

I wonder if a show can re-invent itself... I mean you can never go back, in this case it is impossible... but can they go forward with something new?
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The problem is that the episode itself is inviting for the comparison, begging for it really.
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Really enjoyed the episode, personally I think all this negative thinking of "I really don't want to be comparing it to the old Community, but...." is kind of overblown.

Sure it was a concept they've done before but it was entertaining and most importantly I laughed quite a few times. Donald Glover was hilarious in particular but I thought every character had good moments.
Best episode of the season so far in my opinion, but I guess each to their own as I expect plenty of people still won't have enjoyed it and can't get past the whole comparison thing (I wish the reviews do at some point this season).

"oooh Partner, that's good. I'm gonna call you Hoolihan!"
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The memento joke/reference was amazing
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Staff
It was pretty solid!
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It was funny, but I didn't find it solid, it felt like a joke that could have gotten deeper, but instead it sat on its one note and stuck with that. It could have been a joke from Scary Movie that way - "oh, here's another pop culture reference."
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I can't seem to hate this show. Which is a good thing.
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Staff
Never!
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*waits for the Community complainers to arrive*
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The new show runners were left with a dangling Chang story line that they had to do something with. I didn't hate this episode. There were a lot of good lines.
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Actually I thought Chang was probably about the best part of this episode, I really liked the extended Shirley said you were a lawyer bit.
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No, that's a fair comment. Chang is just a problem the show's had for 2-3 seasons now.
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Ok, so we are six episodes in and I still think that the most authentically Community moment we have had has been the October 19th promo video.

I don't so much have a problem with them doing the documentary concept again, it's more all of the recycled jokes within the recycled concept that is too much. I could almost stomach it if the show was just bad, but it is doing a bad job of imitating itself.
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That's my problem too. When it avoids such obvious imitations, it's solid.
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Seriously? No mention of the awesome moustache that that guy behind Chang was rocking in the end scene between Chang and Jeff? That is some amazing facial hair there dude! During the scene that's what I could only look at. It's mesmerizing!
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Hehe, thanks for pointing that out, I hadn't noticed him through my first watch.

He actually looks a lot like the guy from the Physical Education episode in season one, when Jeff and the gym teacher begin their epic game of pool, except maybe aged three years and a slightly more groomed head of hair. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's the same guy.
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I don't recall it, sorry.
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Couldn't help but point that out last night, too!
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Maybe I need to think about it a lot harder but this may have been the worse ep. of Community I've seen. To have Chang just float around changing every season has just been ridiculous to me. Spanish teacher Chang was such a classic and it's a crying shame they destroyed Ken Jeong's talents to some Schizo since Season 1.
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I'm close to agreeing with you, this was an inept, unfunny mess. The wackier they make Chang, the less funny he gets, and it really is a waste of the good talent he has - the ability to dial it back. I'm not sure it was the worst episode, but it was up there in my book.
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It's definitely not the worst. There have been worse episodes THIS SEASON. The show is still finding its legs, I guess.
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I think the "finding its legs" excuse has just about been used up. How long can a show try to find its legs before we realize it doesn't have any legs to find?
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Totally right. And especially with all the talent left on the show, it shouldn't have to work this hard to find its legs. This feels more like the good elements being overwhelmed by the studio mistakes, and that's not going away anytime soon it seems.
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This is the first episode I laughed at zero times, that's a really bad sign. We actually chang'ed the channel (yeah I just made that reference, what?) halfway through because we were so bored, I ended up watching it start to finish on DVR later.
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