Community: Coppola-ing With Madness

With its future murky and only a few episodes left in the season, Community is under a bit of pressure to perform to back up the rallying cry and universal recommendation of the internet, the knight in shining armor to Dam Harmon's dorky damsel in distress. So when Harmon tweeted out, "AND, tonight, celebrate Community's unschedulization with the least-accessible, least-marketable episode in its alienating history!" I gritted my teeth and crossed my fingers.

Community could have used one of its whoppers last night, but instead played to its hardcore audience with the bizarre mental collapse of Dean Pelton. "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" was about as film-geeky as the show has ever been, choosing not to pay homage to one of the most acclaimed films of last century, Apocalypse Now (nice shout-out with the "Redux" suffix), but rather to channel the lesser-known documentary made about that film, Hearts of Darkness. It was great for those of us who enjoy seeing Community push sitcom boundaries, bad news for Joe Schmoe who tuned in to see what all the Tweettering, Bookfacing, and Friendstering in praise of the show is all about.

"Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" started off with a hilarious outdated "Come to Greendale!" student recruitment video, featuring a Blossom lookalike, Chuck's Captain Awesome, and the most fearsome basketball player ever. It turned out that Dean P had been commissioned to update the video and get it out of the fax-machine era, and his quest to make the production a hit became a scary journey of a man terrorizing his crew as his ego and obsession inflated too fast and pushed every one else up against the walls.

This was all captured on film by Abed's camera, who was making a documentary on the making of the video. The episode was a throwback to Season 2's "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking" (it even upped the celebrity cameo factor by upgrading Levar Burton to Luis Guzman and Jeff Garlin, but sadly, there was no Troy freakout) in that it was shot entirely in mockumentary style. In a rare act of consistency on my part, I have to say that I'm still not really a fan of Community having its characters look into the camera and talk. I'm probably in the minority on this, and that's fine, but the mockumentary format just irks me now. Bleh!

But that's not to say the episode wasn't fun. Everyone playing an iteration of Dean Pelton was fantastic. Jim Rash stepped out of his normal persona and killed it (as usual) while spoofing Apocalypse Now director Francis Ford Coppola, and even stepped into the role of Marlon Brando and Charlie Sheen's dad at times. But for my money, Joel McHale's performance as pseudo-Dean was spot-on brilliant, and Ken Jeong as the bald-cap wearing understudy only added to the chaos.

Overall, I enjoyed "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" more than "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking" (we have to compare the two, don't we?), but I wouldn't put the episode on my mixtape of the series' classics even though the second time I watched it a like it a lot better. What did you think?

Notes:
– Britta: "I'm in Psych 101 and even I don't know what's happening." I'm starting to really enjoy psych-student Britta and her complete misunderstanding of what the major really entails. I was a psych major myself, and I saw a whole lot of people convince themselves they understood the way society works after reading one chapter on Jung.

– All you Tritta and Broy fans must have gotten excited. Looks like those two are on a collision course for romance. But what happens when Britta comes over to sleep in Troy's blanket fort? What does Abed do? What will Annie think of Britta moving in on her first crush? Personally, I'm a fan of Jeff and Britta being together, even it's just for drunken fighting and making out, like in "Mixology Certification."

– I don't like to see Pierce relegated to tangential cut-aways, but he was pretty funny, especially when he stepped out of Jeff Garlin's trailer.

– It sounds like the rally to get more viewers to tune in worked! Community jumped all the way up a tenth of a point to a 1.6 rating last night! Okay, that's still crummy, but it's a start.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I loved this episode, it killed it.
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I enjoyed this episode a lot, I wish NBC would move it to a better time slot preferably before or after the Office, the reason I don't think people watch is because it requires people to think and doesn't have a laugh-track like the brain-dead CBS sitcoms. Just throwing it out there, hopefully Community continues on the air for a while, if not I hope that it gets a syndication deal on G4 or Bravo. Cable enjoys creativity.
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hahah community is pretty funny :)
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It was crazy, in a good way crazy. Just the Community we love.
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Community being canceled would probably be the best thing for it. It would get an instant cult following and do very well on DVD. Might even get some movies. Plus, it's been so good that it will eventually burn out. Don't see how they can keep the camp and nostalgia fresh for more than 4 or 5 seasons.
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Community doesn't need to go on forever...just six seasons and a movie.
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And one last thing: "Hellooo, it's me Luisguizmaaan." I wish that was my name so I can have that as my voice mail message.
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omg... first let me point out that I have Community on in the background for while I write this, and when I clicked on the article, the thumbnail was the exact scene that was currently on!! Weeeird. Anyway, I really think this could be the episode that saves Community. What we love about the show is it is so different. When new viewers watch it, they shouldn't expect that what they see is what they don't get. And the show is just compelling enough to the new viewers that they will see what next week's episode is not like. Actually, maybe that doesn't sound so good. One of my favorite moments came from the lovable curmudgeon himself, Leonard. "Like sex with women!" Up-and-Comer, wake up in 30 years, HA! And has no one mention the fact that Jeffery WILLINGLY gave the Dean a hug?? Then asking help to get the possum out of his office!! sigh, this show is too good to me.
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"Charlie Sheen's dad" How pathetic and insulting! Martin was and is a million times the actor and person Charlie is.
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I really think that Joel McHale's performance as Dean Pelton was bloody scary! He was soooo good! I was really impressed with Jim Rash too!!! I scene that I particularly liked was watching Annie all disheveled with the script full of notes and multicoloured post its! LMAO!
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How many more episodes are left?
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britta and troy!!!! abed's face at the end when they walked away was priceless

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This was Community on full throttles. I was laughing pretty hard.
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I have it DVR'ed and I've yet to watch it, but I really hope Community stays on TV, it's my favorite comedy out there.
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Joel Mchale was simply brilliant! WOW I love this show; it's cutting edge is like nothing else airing right now. Abed is probably my favorite character of all time. ABED FOR PRESIDENT!
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Loving this season! Two back to back breakouts for the dean, glad to see jeong pulled back a little bit and used in moderation. if they cancel this, i cancel NBC. no forgiveness. Never ever.
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Joel McHale's performance as Dean Pelton was eerily spot on. I wanted to laugh but my mouth just hung open every time he was on screen. I had to keep rewinding. I eventually broke down into nervous laughter. And rewound it again.



It was fantastic!
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Oh man this episode was brilliant!!! I really don't get why so many people don't get this kind of humor but instead go crazy for Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. Which are also funny shows but by far not so fantasticly written as Community. One of the best comedy shows ever!
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Did it really surprise anyone that Captain Awesome was also awesome as a commercial actor? His commercial for Buy More saved said company, and his commercial for Greendale, which centered around registration through fax, was actually a hit. Sorry to state the obvious, but Captain Awesome is awesome.



Favorite lines:

"You know I love to be seen agreeing with you Troy, but..."

"The bronze adds ten pounds." "Naw... What... Screw you."



Also, Joel McHale was dean-tastic as Dean Pelton.
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Joel McHale's performance as the Dean was awesome sauce with a side of creepy. I loved it! I couldn't stop laughing. I just started watching Community this season and just caught up and watched the last 2 seasons recently and it's a real shame. I mean to someone just tuning in for the 1st time it really seems all random and strange, but for someone who has seen all the episodes now, it may look random but everything is connected which I love most about the show. I really hope that won't be the reason for the show's demise. Because I remember trying to watch season 1 and 2 every now and again when it 1st aired, and I just didn't get it.
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Confession: I did that corny thumbs-up gesture when I got up this morning -- and I'll keep doing it until the day I die!
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Not an original concept, but an enjoyable episode nonetheless. Luis was great and should have been in it much more.
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Another good episode. I think it was better than "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking", but only just.



I'm starting to like the new-ish Britta too, she was getting very annoying during the last season, but her complete mis-understanding of psych. is quite funny.



Not sure about Britta and Troy though. It just doesn't seem quite right. Besides, I'm much more in favor of Britta and Annie (yes, I'm that predictable). Seriously though, I'm not sure about Annie and Jeff either. Since Jeff is almost the new "Pierce" I just don't see why Annie would still be interested in him. Maybe if Britta and Troy do get-it-on Abed could bunk with Annie and they could take it to the next level after their kiss in "For a Few Paintballs More".
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What about Biology 101? haha. Isn't that sorta suppose to be the overall theme of this season? I think only 2 eps. so far had been put towards that and in Season 1, Spanish Class with Chang was amazing. They've really gone downhill for Community college based eps and that's what the show is ultimately about, of course surrounding our group that we so love but these wild tangents have turned off many. I love it and will always stay with it but it's become this niche comedy and I'm sure that's why it's tanking.
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I'd have to disagree with you, Tim. The documentary format suits Community perfectly! Abed's one-liners from behind the camera are funny as hell, character freak outs are hilarious, and them looking at the camera usually depicts how they're looking at themselves at the moment! It's very refreshing to watch the show outdo itself on a constant basis. Every other week or so we're thrown an episode that practically redefines the way we look at Community!
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I went into this episode not really knowing what to expect. I was worried that it would just be another The Office/Parks and Rec homage like last year's documentary episode. What we got was much, MUCH better than that. It was definitely up there with Chaos Theory for best episode so far this season!
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OK, so maybe this episode doesn't rank among the top 5 of Community episodes. But as I always say: Even at its worst, Community is easily one of the best comedies on TV.



Which other show could possibly have written an episode like this? Whitney?? (OK, I admit, that was a cheap shot.) Which other show would have managed to create comedy like this with sharp jokes about overbearing and self-obsessed directors and references to artsy movies? Answer: Not one of the other shows on TV right now! And that's why I respect Community so much. It doesn't take the easy way out with predictable one-liners. It operates on a completely different level of comedy compared to other shows.



Judging by the ratings, unfortunately not that many people get Dan Harmon. But those who do are very pleased. Maybe Harmon could create a community college course called "Quality Comedy Writing 101" and have Chuck Lorre attend it.
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This episode was awesome!!
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Loved it! One thing about Community i have throw out there is that, for a comedy, it seriously takes chances and always strives to push boundaries. I understand the need to remain consistent as a comedy, Modern Family manages to do this very well, but i find that Community is definitely presenting the future of comedy on television. By taking these chances it may not be consistently funny every time but it is just so unpredictable you have absolutely no idea what to expect episode after episode, which is a delight. There should definitely be a place on TV for such a comedy, shouldn't there?
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The unpredictable nature of the show is EXACTLY why I love it. I love these crazy concept, pop-culture referencing episodes. I enjoy a regular sitcom as much as the next person, I'm not saying they're awful, but it's nice to have at least one alternative that is just entirely different and rewarding in its own way.
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"Some flies are too awesome for the wall."
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