Community "Basic Human Anatomy" Review: A Rough Break-up

Community S04E11: "Basic Human Anatomy"

I struggle to form an opinion any time a show attempts to pull a powerful emotional moment out of a story that's failed to work, or that hasn't been given enough attention before said powerful moment. It's even more difficult when the individual moment works, whether because of actor's performance, or the writers figuring out what they did wrong, or just sheer luck. Am I supposed to be satisfied that a crummy story at least ended on a nice note? Should I be angry that the story could have been better all along? Should I just shut up and be grateful that modern technology shoots entertainment into my idiot box for a small fee? I just don't know. 

"Basic Human Anatomy" made me face these issues head-on, and frankly, it made them worse. For a long time now—an entire year on the show's calendar, actually—Troy and Britta have been a couple. But even though the two exhibited some really fascinating chemistry at times throughout the first three seasons, the heat hasn't really been there since they became a pair. I promise this isn't one of those false Moonlighting assumptions where I'm suggesting that two characters immediately grew boring once they finally got together. Troy and Britta never had much will-they-or-won't-they, which is what I initially enjoyed about their relationship. 

Nevertheless, since they've been a couple, Community has truly failed to convince me of why they've stayed together, or even that there are things they enjoy about one another, other than sex and discussions about chips (which, to be fair, are two valuable things to care about). In fact, the show pretty quickly turned into the skid by making mild jokes about Troy's relationship with Abed taking precedence over his relationship with Britta, and that's all fine and good. We all know that Troy and Abed are this show's forever 'ship. But with all that in mind, it was a little tough for me to fully enjoy the A-story in "Basic Human Anatomy," which involved Abed helping Troy "fake" a round of body-swapping hijinks so that he could break up with Britta. 

To their credit, I did get the sense that Community's writers knew the relationship wasn't really going anywhere. Not only did Troy and Britta not remember their own one-year anniversary*, but neither was particularly excited about going out to celebrate it. Troy was more excited about a silly anniversary with Abed, and there was a sense of malaise permeating through his interactions with Britta. Yet before their misery could continue, Troy and Abed "experienced" a "body swap," resulting in Britta having to go on the date with "Troy" (in Abed's body), while Jeff pushed "Abed" (in Troy's body) to knock it off, mostly so that he could phone in another history assignment.

*I'm wondering if Troy actually did remember the anniversary, considering the he worked with Abed to craft the body swap plan. Or, more likely, Abed remembered.

The body swap conceit was very silly, but because it was carried out by Troy and Abed, and because the two characters committed to it so well while everyone else reacted fairly skeptically, it worked. It was a low-key enough concept that the show could pull it off within this diminished Season 4 state. More importantly, both Danny Pudi and Donald Glover were borderline tremendous in their performances of one another's characters. We've seen Pudi emulate his fellow cast members before, and though this episode didn't ask him to do as much as, say, something like "Basic System Analysis" did, he embodied Troy's slightly confused immaturity very well. This was far from his best performance ever, but it was truly a shame that Pudi won't ever be nominated for an Emmy; he's been wonderful for four years. 

For his part, Glover's been asked to play a regressive version of Troy this year, which is also a shame, because this episode reminded us that he can also do solid dramatic work when called upon. He mimicked Pudi's Abed nicely, but really thrived in the final scene when he admitted to Britta that he's simply too immature for a relationship, no matter how he feels about her.

That final moment, and the suggestion that the reason the relationship failed was that Troy simply couldn't let go of his childhood and friendship with Abed, was both smart and believable. It rang especially true with this version of Troy, the one who'd seemingly stopped caring about being an adult up until this episode, only to come to the conclusion that he's not much of an adult. If you told me three months ago that a difference in maturity level would be the reason Troy and Britta would eventually break up, I would've believed you, but I also would've anticipated that we'd see some explicit exploration of why it couldn't work. Instead, here's how Season 4 handled the story: acknowledged the coupling, quickly starting making jokes at its expense, and then orchestrating the split. There was something missing between the initial coupling and the break-up, and although I liked big chunks of the story, as silly as it was at times, I can't fully buy the conclusion of it for that very reason. I get why the show ultimately ended Troy and Britta's romance, and in this way—but now I just wish there were moments that made the story feel earned as opposed to an implicit apology.

Elsewhere in the episode, Jim Rash (who also wrote it, btw) simply slayed as Dean Pelton tried to make a body swap happen with Jeff. The Dean's actions underscored the goofiness of the entire story, but also reflected just how badly he wants some kind of connection to Jeff. Rash did a pretty solid Joel McHale impression, and his ability to commit to it made it more entertaining than it probably had any business being. Annie's uncontrollable attraction to the Dean was also a nice touch. In some ways, "Basic Human Anatomy" felt like a throwback Jeff episode because all he was asked to do was react incredulously to the stupidity of his friends. McHale was still great at that, and somehow, the show managed to work in a Winger speech about adulthood that worked better than some of the other monologues he's been saddled with this year.

But ultimately, "Basic Human Anatomy" was about Troy and Britta, and mostly just Troy. It's possible that his break-up with Britta will push him toward the adulthood he's so clearly wanted for a few seasons. We know that he saw a relationship with Britta as a big step toward maturity, but now that relationship has failed and he recognizes that it was mostly his fault. But I'm not sure anything will actually change (whether Community gets a fifth season or not). And although I really enjoyed most of this story, particularly the final few scenes, it still feels a little like the show is right there alongside Troy, saying "my bad."  



STUDY NOTES

– Very little Pierce this week, which isn't a surprise since Chevy Chase was on his way out by the time this episode was shot. But I do like that he's basically turned into a harmless—and damn-near warm—old coot. If the show returns for Season 5, I'll miss him.

– Leonard's pass/fail plan to keep his perfect GPA was genius, and I'm happy he's still first in the class. But, isn't Leonard just going to be at Greendale forever? He's not actually in Annie and Shirley's class is he?

– This episode brought back Senor Frogs and the custodial crew, two little touches I enjoyed.

– The outtakes riff in the end tag was really fun, but the messed-up sequence of episodes ruined its impact a little bit, considering the show did outtakes two weeks ago, not last week. But how desperate is the Dean?

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Hey, look. Another solid episode that you hated. Please don't do these next year.
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I dunno. I feel that the review was fair, and it mirrored a fair episode of the show. Britta x Troy always felt wrong. Sure, the moments they had in the past were somewhat touching, but they shouldn't have acted as foreshadowing for an actual real relationship, ever. I really feel like it was a mistake on the writers' parts to include a serious relationship into this season. It not only created a relationship that didn't make sense, but as a result, both Troy and Britta felt disconnected from the rest of the cast this season because of it. Britta has been all over the place, and even Abed/Troy moments just didn't feel momentous at all. Worst decision ever made.

That being said, now that their relationship is over, we can all sigh in relief, but unfortunately, we're nearly at the season's end. This was the culmination of both Troy and Britta's stories this season, and it's doubtful we'll see much more from them.

As for the break up scene feeling earned... I don't see that for one simple reason: we weren't shown enough of Troy and Britta's relationship to begin with. Even though the writers wrote the relationship in, it seemed like they wanted to ignore their relationship for the whole season and then end it... which is fine. A lot of us wanted it to end, but to devote a whole episode to something that never should have been and something that was never cultivated seems kind of pointless.

I didn't hate this episode, but I didn't like it a lot either. I guess the bottom line is that it would have been better to have focused the episode on something else entirely and just let the Britta/Troy relationship gradually fade into obscurity, because really, we never really saw much of a romance form between the two of them in the first place.
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I am actually shocked at this review: I can only guess that the reviewer does not appreciate the brilliance of community, Jim rash and Troy and abed. So many parts of this episode where miss understood in so many ways. Firstly and most importantly: Troy and abed did not plan to do the freaky Friday swap as illustrated by the way abed said at the end "that's the best way I've ever been woken up", when Troy wakes abed up there is a moment of realization on abed face that tells him to go along with troys plan. Abed understands everyone more than they understand themselves, mostly with Troy and he was able to know that Troy needed to say something to britta that he was afraid to say because Troy is such a loving, and kind-hearted person. Britta and Troy haven't been dating for a year, after their first date at senior frogs a lot happened before the summer when they actually started dating (Troy went to air conditioner repair school etc). And I think their relationship could have worked if the writers had more time and more episodes to work on it and explore it but also Brittany is older than Troy and Troy knows he has to grow up before he can give Britta what she needs.

I loved that Oscar-winning screen writer Jim rash wrote this episode because I think he understands the heart of community and this felt 'introduction to film making' (s01e03) because it made me laugh and made me cry. Troys deep emotional issues where lightened by the deans need to connect to Jeff and his brilliant acting while pretending to be Jeff. Like in intro to film making when abeds father watches his film and realizes that abed thinks his father blames him for his mum leaving: Troy has trouble saying to Britta what needs to be said so uses abed to do what he doesn't feel he can.

This was a beautiful episode that felt like community at its best and how community should be all the time. Please Jim rash should just be made the show runner and write all the episodes from now on!!!
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I really liked the episode, this review... not so much. Kind of a sad, dark review for a comedy, also like the reviewer was using the thesaurus to impress us...
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My thoughts as I watched this episode
-Oh God no, it's a Freaky Friday episode.
-Oh good, they didn't actually swap, it's not a Freaky Friday episode
-Oh crap, it IS a Freaky Friday episode after all.
-Oh well, that was OK I guess.
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I'm getting the feeling that the whole disappointment over Harmon leaving has almost evolved into some kind of hatred or something.

There are many fans of the show who just watch it and don't follow TV news at all. I wonder how they would evaluate this season. Yes, they would definitely say it's worse, but this episode was good. It was quite funny and with an interesting bit and it FIXED something that didn't quite work.

I'm surprised how people are upset that they broke-up Troy and Britta because they had no connection in the first place. Well... That's what happens when people don't have a connection - they break up. And from a TV point of view, something was not working which people agree on and the writers fixed this in a logical way and now people are angry they did that. WTF?..

The episode was fine, we need to relax. Try watching the show and pretend you don't know who Harmon is, what happened behind the scenes and all that. Just watch and enjoy, it's not the worst show in the world like it's being painted as in the comment section.
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I agree with most of your points, especially the point of them fixing something that was broken. Unfortunately though, they fixed it too late in the season. Troy/Britta simply either never should have happened, or ended just as quickly as it began. Having it end at the end of the season kinda wasted both of their characters for the most of it.

As for the absence of Dan Harmon... I loved Aliens in America and was so glad that David Guarascio and Moses Port were replacing Harmon as showrunner because Aliens in America had a similar feel to Community in general. I won't say I think I was wrong, because I really don't think anyone else could have taken it over and done better... but something tells me that the new showrunners had a lot of respect for Harmon and were afraid to take the show into new directions, and instead tried to stick with what worked, and as a result, the show felt lackluster.

I still have a huge conspiracy theory regarding the way they canned Harmon. He has such a huge following that the last attempts to cancel Community were nearly impossible due to the fanatic fanbase. So, they canned Harmon... this didn't go over well with the fans obviously, but it wasn't as bad as a cancellation of the show, so no fan uprisings resulted from it. Now that there is a division between Community fans since Harmon's departure, they will have a much easier time of cancelling the show. I really feel like it was planned that way, and it was undoubtedly well played, but it doesn't make it suck any less. I really doubt there will be a 5th season.
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So glad that I'm not the only one.
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I agree completely with you! In the beginning of the season I was also very dissapointed in the show, post-Harmon. But I think the show is doing a good job the last couple of episodes. I don't know if "Basic Human Anatomy" was the best episode this season, but I do think it was the funniest episode of season 4.
Only 2 episodes left, so please Community, lets finish season 4 with a BANG. Please NBC, don't cancel Community!
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Best Review Ever! I don't understand why people liked this episode. Honestly, it was just bad. There was never a connection between Britta and Troy. I was stunned they even dated.

Leonard likes this post!
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It really is a travesty that both Donald Glover and Danny Pudi have not been nominated for awards. This episode also really reminded me of this fact.
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I think this review definetly overanalized the mistakes we saw this week.
This was a really fun episode, in my opinion the best this season. All the quirks and charactes were well placed, quite opposite to last week and I actually kind of felt the adventorous spirit of the first paintball episode. Well lets not oversell it, but you know, that feeling when everything kind of feels exciting and goes right.

This made me look forward to Community again.
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I loved this episode, considering I actually laughed out loud at the scenes where they pretended to switch bodies. Plus, light switch checks should totally be a thing. I really hope they get renewed for a fifth season because I'm not quite ready to let go. I can deal with Pierce being gone and even though it's been challenging this season without Harmon, it's still Community with characters I love and adore. Six seasons and a movie!!!
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Finally got around to actually watching this episode....and now have two questions. 1) Why did Jim Rash not write episodes before? 2) Where can I send letters demanding he take over as show-runner should the miraculous fifth season happens? This was a great episode, perfectly blending the funny and the touching moments. For the first time in a good while, I forgot this was a different and lesser version of the Community I know and love and the characters actually felt like the characters I had also come to know and love over the last few years. Hilarious but also deep and more multi-layered than characters adorning most sitcoms.
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This was the most hilarious and touching episode I've seen this season, I would put it on par with Harmon Community! (I know, bold statement)
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I think I had about 5 good laughs this episode, give or take a couple... Which automatically makes this the funniest episode of this season so far (as sad as that sounds). That being said, I liked this one for the story it told, more so than the comedy it had. I haven't really cared for Troy and Britta as a couple this season, but this episode took their lack of chemistry, and as a set-up for the best character-driven story this season.
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That being said, it still doesn't make up for the fountain scene, which remains the worst Community scene ever. :P
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Jim Rash deserves a big thumbs-up for this episode, it wasn't perfect but it came from real, honest characters and it made something out of them (except Shirley and Pierce). Even Dean Pelton's silliness was written smartly and deftly, no grotesque costumes, just a performance that made Annie's reactions to the Dean believable and funny (especially her own recognition of the behavior problem).

As for Britta and Troy, I liked that they originally clicked on a level the rest of the group didn't have, but for some reason the writers never picked up on that again so instead of having a relationship on their private little level, they became a generic TV couple and it was boring and weak. This breakup made sense, Troy isn't emotionally ready and is afraid of his own inabilities, it's not working and he doesn't have the tools yet to understand why, but part of why that all happened seems like it's due to the writers not understanding those characters in the first place.

I wouldn't say it was a home run of an episode, but I enjoyed the experience overall quite a bit. Abed's Troy voice was a little stereotype black guy for me, but other than that his performance was quite good. I enjoyed incredulous Jeff, his big speech seemed like a lot more emotional maturity than the character has but maybe he has a richer inner life, and that was ok.

I can totally see why Chevy wanted to leave though, his character throughout this season has been like this arc, almost nothing to do and then he has a big moment at the end that is a gimmick.
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Wasn't a great episode, another one of those where they tried too hard, standout was the Dean doing Jeff, that was pitch perfect and just superb acting, equally funny was his repeated "when Jeff was inside me" which really cracked me up, only times I laughed out loud this episode was Jeff "inside" the Dean ;)
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Correction: Senor Frogs is a real restaurant chain, you're thinking of Community's "Senor Kevin's".
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I was so happy when I heard Pierce was leaving the show. But now... I'll miss him. I've really started to like him this season. And those episodes when he was gone/had little screentime, I felt something was missing. Season 5 is gonna be sad without him.

Sidenote: Loved this episode.
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I have a crazy theory about this season in general. I think the writers are purposefully making the show kind of bad and poorly executed during the first half of each episode, then doing a total 180 and finishing the episode on a great, emotional note that is also funny. It just seems like the acting and writing is really slow and awkward up until the second half, and it has to be intentional, I think. Every season has represented a highly conceptual theme that Abed always announces. The first season was all about romance, the second season was all about escapades, the third season was dark and introduced a running plot for the first time, and I think this season is pointing to its absence of Harmon in a "meta" way by making each episode feel "off" and then making it good by the end. My two cents.
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I really have to applause the cast for being so incredible. Pudi, Glover and Rash were amazing. Overall the episode was funny and I love Freaky Friday (they should make more of these!). I'm kind of glad Britta and Troy broke up because they clearly weren't going anywhere. I just hope they won't push Britta towards Jeff again.
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Interesting to see so many people saying it was their favourite of the season.

For me it wasn't the best, but certainly better than most. Last week's episode was the worst I've ever seen of this show.

Only two more episodes left, possibly/probably ever. Am intrigued for the finale, the season 3 one was so well handled as a possible farewell. Which reminds me, where is Starburns?!
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he is dead
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Is he now? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r9wHR-d_68
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From what I gather, it was loyalty to Harmon. Because the guy who played Starburns was not an actor, but rather someone who worked behind the scenes - doing what, I can't recall - that was just asked to step in front of the camera one time. One time which led to more times as his side-character popularity grew. Apparently, he was never overly fond of being on camera....and when Harmon was fired, he and others left the show too. That is why a lot of new names and previous directors - like Tristan Shapeero etc... - stepped into new roles, like producer.
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There is no chance of him returning, not since Dan Harmon was sacked. Or so I have heard.
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Really? I don't understand why that would matter unless the actor refused to be in it due to loyalty to Harmon.
We have Leonard and others so I don't really know if there's any reason other than it being a story left dangling by Harmon and co. that hasn't been followed up on yet.
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This was definitely my favorite episode of the season. Maybe it's because my expectations were really low -- when I read about the body-switching a few days ago, I kinda wanted to skip this episode entirely -- but I think they handled it quite well. Despite the fact that I didn't like the early episodes of this season for wasting concepts, I appreciate the Dean -- uhh, I mean Jim Rash -- for the way he kept this (possibly big) concept low-key.

I personally liked Troy's performance more than Abed's, just because I think he was able to match Abed's voice better than Abed was able to match Troy's voice, but both did it well. Hehe @ Rash's Dean's Jeff.

I didn't care at all about Annie and Shirley's valedictorian plot. And while Annie finding Deanfrey attractive all of a sudden seems funny on paper, I couldn't help but groan at it on screen. I know there have been a few times where Annie gets caught up and silly in moments during previous years, but her silliness just hasn't seemed right this whole season, including this episode.
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I think I'm the only person who liked Pudi's Troy more than Glover's Abed. I thought the finger-wag was a bit of a crutch and overused by Glover. In my opinion, Pudi definitely had the harder assignment. He had to *sound* black without making it seem offensive or arbitrary. And the cadence and inflection of his voice was spot-on. I'm not knocking Glover. I liked his Abed-like eye movements and subtle head-tilts, but Abed's monotone voice isn't that hard to imitate. They were both great, but Pudi gets my vote.

Oh, Jim Rash KILLED it as Jeff.

(P.S. Totally with you on the Annie criticism. What has she even done this season besides play house and complain about grades in her vain attempt at becoming Valedictorian? The writers had no idea what to do with Troy in the early going, but they're slowly finding his voice. But Annie's been one-dimensional all season. Annie used to be the moral center of the group. She used to be Jeff's conscience, telling him when he erred and helping him be a better person. Now she's a silly girl who rubs feet for grades and bickers with Shirley. Don't get me wrong, she was always very driven and neurotically obsessed with good grades, but she was so much more than that. Now that seems to be all she is. Alison Brie is so talented. It's a shame we haven't really seen it this season.)

(P.P.S. Did you know Alison Brie is 30-years-old?!!!)
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Glad I'm not the only one who is dissapointed with Annie's arc this season. Alison Brie's talents are indeed wasted. And no I'm not talking about her boobs. (although I'm definitely thinking about them now)

And Alison Brie being 30, I thought it was a joke when I saw it on FB earlier this year. But she will be able to play a 20 year old for a long time.
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Totally agree that Glover's performance was better than Pudi's. Danny Pudi will always be my favorite actor on Community. But this week the performance of Glover & Rash was just perfect!! They did such an amazing job imitating Abed and Jeff's voices.. So yes Jim Rash, please write more episodes if NBC doesnt sack the show..
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Loved his episode, probably my favorite of the season so far.
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This was actually really funny imo. And it wasn't as corny as some of the other episodes...Plus, Dean Pelton writing it makes sense, considering how demented the whoel thing was....felt like a Harmon!
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Jim Rash is such a good writer. He should do alot more movies. Loved the episode.
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Troy and Abed were terrific. But they always are. And Dean Pelton pretending to be Jeff - that was just epic, Annie's reaction - priceless.
Very good solid episode!
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I loved this episode! Jim Rash, Danny Pudi, and especially Donald Glover were fantastic in their switched roles. For me this episode is definitely the highlight of the season so far, and on par with much of the previous seasons (though not the classics).

From what Abed said at the end, about it being the best way to wake up, I think he didn't know what Troy was doing until that morning. Troy must have planned it, though. I can totally buy the relationship the way it was portrayed. Surely there are couple who stay together for convenience even though they don't really have chemistry.

And where did you get Troy saying he was breaking up because he's not grown up enough for a relationship? I totally missed that. I only saw that he knew it wasn't working, but he wants to continue to be Britta's friend.
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I... liked it? Am I saying that right?
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You're wrong.
Now go into the corner, facing the wall and think about what you said.
Bold FringeFanatic, bold
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Feels weird, eh?
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Definitely.
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It hasn't been thaaaaat bad. Some episodes have been funny> sure, if you analyze and dissect them under a microscope (from a 25 cent machine at the local pizza store) you could find flaws, but Community's season 4 is still better than most shows season any number!! Just sayin.... and that's my rant..
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lol... I kinda liked it too.
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You actually liked a season four episode of Community? Right, who are you and what have you done with the real Fringe Fanatic?
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Jim Rash is a brilliant Writer and actor. His Jeff impersonation was kind of eerie. His voice inflections were perfect.
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The bottom line of this episode was that it still felt like a luke warm episode that couldn't execute its concept well. So much of it was just bland. But there were some real highlights in the acting. Jim Rash may have done his best work here with an eerily good Winger impression. Glover's Abed impression was also very good although the material wasn't great. Pudi was solid but not quite on par with the others.

Now to the Troy and Britta relationship. I'm bitterly disappointed with the way it's transpired. The relationship was written in the first place because of the amazing chemistry between the actors and because it's clear from the scenes they've shared that they bring out the best in each other, Britta warms and Troy matures. The relationship was essential to the show but like everything else this season it's been grievously sabotaged. So instead of showing any kind of progression in the relationship we got fountain-gate and a regressed Troy, with the relationship has been mostly ignored. And now the writers would have us believe that it's Troy and Britta's supposed indifference to each other that not only led to the relationship's demise but also its lack of screentime and plot progression this season. What a cop out! It almost seems as though the writers don't feel that any stable, happy relationship can exist in a comedy, which is both lazy and wrong.
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It feels like the producers/new writers really wanted to try to kill off the ships that were actually natural and brought out the best in the charaters- Troy/Britta like you said made Troy more mature and Britta a warmer, less shrill person, and then Jeff/Annie where Annie makes Jeff a more caring person and Jeff grounds her obsessive and neurotic side. But no, There is a push to bring back Jeff/Britta, the pairing where the two characters brought out the snarky and selfish sides of each other.
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Uh uh, just no to the whole thing.
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Call me a conspiracist, but I feel like the whole "Troy/Britta" 'ship is some crappy studio exec note that the writers were never on board with from the get go. Look at the office's Jim/pam schmaltz fest that basically spelled the end of that show's creative arc. But hey "Idiots love tv weddings!" Jim Rash killed this lame arc with gusto. More power to 'em.
As a HUGE fan of the Reinhold/Savage classic "Vice Versa", I was on board 100%. Its fun to see talented actors try out their peers quirks and ticks (look at Glover's hands when he's doing Abed; the way Pudi raises his voice at the end of a sentence.)
I thought this was good 'ol Community I love, done by a talented writer (academy award winner/Dean Pelton, Jim Rash) who knows the characters well. Its wasn't trying too hard (hey...uh....puppets!) it was a show with a funny satirical conceit, with some heart to boot. More of THIS please.
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The puppets were really the absolute worst!!! I don't know how Codey Barber declared that the best episode of season 4 by far! Simply mind boggling....
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I hope that you totally messed up my name on purpose. Otherwise, I'd think you didn't like me.
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it could be a cool new nickname for you
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Well the genesis of their 'ship was in seasons 2 & 3, firmly under the stewardship of Harmon. Does Harmon strike you as the kind of show runner who is governed by studio notes?
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I don't think Harmon was too particularly beholden to exec notes (except, "You're Fired, we can hire someone cheaper than you"). But he acknowledged that there were 4 young people in close proximity of each other, who might hook-up. Abed's Don Draper/Han Solo impression's implied he and Annie had a shot (!) but we didn't see them holding hands, saying 'oh yeah, we're dating now' (s4ep1). Like so much stuff this season (Dr. Who parody, Remedial Chaos Theory being played out to the Nth degree) they took his ideas and wrung alot of simple, formulaic, tv sitcom trope, bs from it. Because it's easy, and again, Idiots love a tv wedding. Dan Harmon m.o. was to give us an episode about a drug dealer getting a green screen funeral after a meth lab explosion. RIP (?) Starburns....
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Between the last episode and this one, they're getting back the groove they lost. This is the kind of thing I watch Community for -- old storylines handled in refreshing new ways. There are plenty of breakup episodes for sitcoms, but none take quite the approach of "breakup by way of Freaky Friday parody." It worked for me.
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Brita and Troy aren't the only ones that forgot their anniversary. Nearly everyone did. Why? Because it was given such little screen time that I am not even sure you can constitute it as a TV relationship. It has had its moments mind you. But that is all they were, moments, seconds, milliseconds, freaking Plank Time Units. It was a non-relationship relationship. In that it only really occurred off screen. So at what point am I to care about the breaking up of a relationship that we never really saw? Answer; At no freaking point do I care. It wasn't a funny relationship like Brita and Jeff. An awkward/ will they won't they/ kind of odd relationship as Annie and Jeff. Not a feel good relationship like Shirley and her husband. Weird, like Abed and coat check girl. Funny like Jeff and professor. Or Annie and Shirtless guy or even Britta and shirtless guy. It was nothing. So I can't really say I felt one way or another about their break up. It was another in a series of plots that was diluted with trying to incorporate the rest of the cast in needless ways to give them screen time.

Saying that, the concept of the episode I didn't mind. It gave Donald Glover some much needed screen time. It gave Danny Pudi some screen time and they did a lot with it. Though I have to give to Donald for the win. he really pulled off Abed well. But again with this episode it felt like too much filler and not enough substance. The whole Die Hard thing was dumb. I know it was tried to illicit a reaction from Abed. But it lasted way too long. Annie And Shirley's quest seemed like it was only there to give them screen time. And it was only saved by Jim Rash and his spot on impression of Jeff. That was the only thing that saved that bit.

Chevy is gone so that doesn't really matter. And frankly after his absence the last couple of episodes I was surprised to see him. I still can't really blame him for leaving. His has been given crap to work with all season.

But the episode though it did make me laugh was still based on a relationship that wasn't given to the viewer enough to care about. And for that it just makes it bad. It pains me to say that because Community truly might be my favorite sitcom of all time.
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I would be so bold and say that I feel this conclusion worked best because of the way the show handled their relationship.
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Thought it was one of the better ones and felt more like the Community from previous seasons. As for the relationship.... I think you might be watching the wrong show. They have never been serious with relationships on this show. I'm pretty sure they're trying their best to be the anti-friends here and you might just be reading way too much in to it. Think about it: The Troy and Annie attraction/back-story never went anywhere and Jeff and Britta was pretty much just physical. The whole Annie and Jeff thing hasn't really gone anywhere either.

The show abandoned a deeper plot for any of the characters way back in season 1 and have barely touched on any of them except for a random episode here and there. I find it refreshing actually.
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There's a difference between the show avoiding romance and neglecting an established romance. When they've gone to the trouble of building up Troy and Britta then the writers deciding to not take it seriously is actually harmful to the characters.
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I enjoyed it. That said I saw this review prior to viewing it, so I skipped the last minute or so during the credits because I don't want my memory of a good Community episode tarnished with crappy outtakes.
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That's reasonable.
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It worked. This wasn't as dramatic a relationship as say, Jim and Pam on the Office. It just kind of happened, then just kind of ended.The relationship was filler. This whole season never really had a main story arc like the last season, and just kind of felt like it was going through the motions, so the relationship fizzling out seemed fitting.
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You say that you feel they didn't focus enough on the dissolving of Troy and Britta's relationship, but I think that's kind of the point. There was really nothing there to focus on. Yes there were some cute moments leading up to it but once they started dating nothing really changed. They went from friends to friends who sleep together. Nothing was really progressing at all, and I think that once someone pointed out that a year had passed, they both realized that.

Fantastic acting by Danny, Donald and Jim. Everyone was just great as their character pretending to be another character.
My favourite moment was Troy and Abed pretending to be Abed and Troy, pretending to be Troy and Abed. (the sitting in the wrong chair bit, hilarious)
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I always feel Danny Pudi is under appreciated as an actor and should be up for awards. I have to say for the body switch though, Donald Glover truly won becoming Abed.

I've said it tons but I just feel Community has really changed since it's gone away from it's true roots. In no way would I want Community to mimic Season 1 always but that set it all up and they've strayed from that so far.

Never quiet get this Shirley / Annie pairing all the time lately even though they've done stuff for awhile. Just seems much more now.

Overall from what I read, I'm actually stunned that Community could be renewed?? Think we all ultimately thought when this season started it was nearly "nail in the coffin" over. The route they're going maybe it's good to say goodbye but we shall see.
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Loved the episode. It was one of those that didn't need a lot of jokes because the characters were developed enough to actually pull this off. And the performances, just wow. There were a couple of moments where the Dean was not oncreen as he spoke to Shirley and Annie, that I would have believed it was actually Jeff speaking. Jim Rash needs to write more episodes!
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Totally agree. The voice impersonations done by Rash were almost eerily accurate. There were times that I wondered if they were doing voiceover work. (I'm sure they weren't).
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well I was really looking forward to this episode and after watching it im not to sure how I feel. I found that Glover was really good at playing Abed and that Rash was really good at playing Jeff (the thing with Abed playing Troy although it was good Im used to Abed switching personas so much that it wasn't as 'special')
Over all plot I thought was good and well written I just think that this episode might have been more effective for me if they spent more time building up a relationship b//w Britta and Troy this season (but I guess their lack of development was the point)
I don't know what to think when it comes to Annie, I had Shirley's exact same reaction when watching those scenes. I did laugh at all those scenes but I think it was more of a weird "why are you doing that" type of laugh.
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Also I think Jim Rash should write more episodes, I think is the first time that I have felt like the characters were being more themselves and not a shell of who they once were, also loved the fact that it DIDNT rely heavily on past gags (didn't notice any inspector space-time stuff!)
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Abed is actually wearing an Inspector Spacetime shirt the first day, but I don't know what everyone's problem is with recurring jokes. Sure they did one ep all about it, but the rest has been subtle stuff, shirts, hats, etc. Abed LOVES the show, it's gunna show in his character. I don't get why people are up in arms over it. People love the recurring Daybreak or "Troy and Abed !" Why is Spacetime getting dirt-roaded?
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It all comes down to how good and enduring the gag is and Spacetime is a bit of a stinker.
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I don't mind recurring gags its just that that one has really been over played this season.
Oh and I totally didn't notice the shirt then :/
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Weird, I feel like my opinions have been the total opposite to Cory's all season (the puppet episode being the absolute low point of the season for me). Maybe my brain's gone crazy with Community grief or something, and maybe I'm a sucker for seeing Danny Pudi and Donald Glover have fun, but I kind of REALLY liked this episode. Jim Rash, you magnificent man, I love you, please write more episodes from now on.

No, it wasn't perfect, but the Troy and Britta relationship sucked all season and I liked the kind of meta resolution of acknowledging that it really hasn't worked all season. Some of the Shirley/Annie stuff was annoying at the beginning but dammit if it wasn't hilarious by the end. I love Leonard.

Not only did I laugh the most out of all the episodes this season (actually really laughed!), but I think I finally found the joy that's been missing. I feel like this episode managed to successfully merge "the gag" with the trickier emotional bits. And how fun the gag was. I want to see the behind the scenes of Danny and Donald playing each other because it was so funny! The dean's Jeff impression was hilarious, and I loved the callback to Annie falling for impressions of other people. I also really liked Jeff NOT having any of it, as well as doing the flicky light thing at the end. I also loved Troy and Britta ending their relationship with a hug, which also began their relationship.

Finally, they're able to have a storyline IN Greendale (mostly), that works. So many good lines this episode: The Dean having to grant Leonard 3 wishes, Troy wanting to be scolded to get aforementioned wishes, and especially the solid end-tag.
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Personally, I thought this episode was the closest to a season 2 or 3 episode this season, and probably the best episode of Season 4. To me it clicked on every level--performance, writing, and direction. Kudos to Jim Rash on bringing the show back up to its higher-than-most par!
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I vote yes, but under the stipulation that their relationship was mostly fleshed out in this episode... Somehow they managed to flesh out a couple's interactions by focusing on the fact that their relationship wasn't very focused on... and that is both strange and amazing to me.

I thought the episode was the most up and down of any so far. I really enjoyed the ending, and a few joke in between. but some things just really didn't get a laugh out of me. My favorite part was Jim Rash's Dean impersonating Jeff. He was the most convincing(which he probably should be, considering how much he idolizes him.)

I was waiting to cringe during the signature Winger speech but it's one of the few that was kept short and sweet enough to feel meaningful, this season.

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"under the stipulation" should be replaced with "by the reasoning" maybe i'm just beign picky though
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