Community "Intro to Knots" Review: Christmas in Real-time

Community S4E10: "Intro to Knots"

After last week's legitimately stellar puppet episode, I had high hopes for "Intro to Knots." Not only did it seem like the writers had found a rhythm, but Community's first three Christmas episodes have ranged from pretty good (Season 3) to all-timers (Seasons 1 and 2). However, this one kind of weird. It offered some initial intrigue that it wasn't totally able to follow through with, then overcame that initial wave of disappointment with a strong middle, only to end on a lamer note. It wasn't a complete mess by any means, but it squandered more potential than I would have liked.

At this point, I'm generally against Community trying to do big concept episodes, even after the success of last week's puppet show. What worked so well about "Intro to Felt Surrogacy" was that it fully committed to the conventions of that concept. A few times this season, Community has attempted random moments of "concepting," only to quickly move past them without much consideration for why it it did so in the first place. The Shawshank Redemption bit in the Thanksgiving episode and Abed's animated daydream were both superfluous; in those instances, it felt like someone in the writers room wrote "HOMAGES" on the whiteboard and then the staff picked a few random things to toss in.

"Intro to Knots" presented us with the same problem, but in a way that was simultaneously more and less problematic. Clearly there was an attempt to recall Hitchcock's Rope, a film I haven't seen but am familiar with through pop-culture osmosis. The teaser sequence was driven by a few extended, continuous shots that moved all around Jeff's apartment as the study group set up for their Christmas party in real-time. It was an cool idea and one that I would love to see executed over 21 minutes. But while the episode at least tried to keep the real-time element in-play, the shooting and editing style returned to normal; the teaser was meant to evoke a certain approach that Community simply didn't have the time or the money to deal with on-set (Andy Bobrow said as much on Twitter). The disappointment of not having the concept carried out for the full running time was a bummer, and it makes me wonder whether there's value in trotting out a certain stylistic homage if you can't entirely make it work.


And yet, in the episode's middle chunk, there was some really good stuff. Annie invited Professor Cornwallis to the party in hopes of convincing him to raise the group's grade on a team paper—because apparently the creepy one-on-one sessions she mentioned last week weren't enough—and Jeff screwed it up once he realized they'd already scored a passable C-minus. Annie, of course, wanted an A. But before the gang could figure out a good way to convince Cornwallis to change the grade, Chang tied him up, resulting in some fun, cheap psychological warfare from Cornwallis.

As is the case with most episodes of Community, the story was ultimately about how strong the group's bonds are and whether or not they can stay together in the face of adversity. Though we've seen this variation at least a few times now (most notably in "Cooperative Calligraphy," an episode you'll likely see this one compared to, especially since Troy longingly wished that the group could solve its Cornwallis problem by saying a ghost did it), Cornwallis's threats were pretty generative. We learned that Shirley is also on-pace to be the Valedictorian, and we got a fun little moment where Troy had to acknowledge that he's still intimidated by Jeff and Britta's sexual history. 

Shirley and Troy haven't had much to do this season, and while I wouldn't call their moments in this episode dramatic progress, they certainly worked. Annie and Shirley's respective competitive streaks are basically their defining secondary traits at this point, so I guess the show might as well make an interesting story out of them. I wish Troy weren't in this current state, but maybe—just maybe—it'll lead to a moment between him and Jeff in the future. While we clearly don't need a love triangle, there's always been something about Jeff that Troy finds admirable and cool. Does that have something to do with his interest in Britta? Even if not, I'd love to see that conversation.

Though you might say that Jeff and Abed's characterizations this week were a little regressive, with the former screwing the group over because he wanted to see Tom Waits and the latter side-stepping the conflict and trying to turn it into Die Hard, change is hard. Jeff might be New Jeff, but no matter how much he cares about the group, he can't totally care about Greendale homework. That's fair, and he immediately attempted to rectify his stupid mistake. And while I'd love to see more of Abed's relationship with Coat Check Girl Brie Larson, he's still Abed; going barefoot and considering stepping on the broken glass was great, and someone had to keep reminding us about the real-time nature of the episode's events.


Plus, Malcolm McDowell is clearly having a good time as Professor Cornwallis, and the character serves as a great instigator for the group's combustible tension. He's the perfect kind of wordy foil that can go toe-to-toe with Joel McHale's Jeff and make most of the rest of the group feel uncomfortable and silly. The whole sequence with him initially tied up and trying to manipulate the group instantly stood out as one of this season's high points for me. It hummed along with zeal as Cornwallis picked the group apart and they almost cracked. 

Yet, once Cornwallis escaped from Chang/Kevin's terrible knots, the episode's energy really tailed off. The Winger speech about everyone in the group being flawed and recognizing those flaws in one another was fine enough (albeit familiar), but the final-act reveal that Cornwallis was never really tied up to begin with was a little odd. It removed the group from some initial criminal culpability, but it's not like the show has been worried about that in the past. 

From there, things got progressively worse. Annie's epithet about gifts and obligation didn't make a lick of sense, and it's unclear whether the show actually wanted us to see that or think it was something powerful. Kittens are kittens, Chang still planning to ruin the group needs to come to some sort of breaking point soon, and the less said about the darkest timeline scene, the better. Community needs to move on from that, just like it needs to move on from Inspector Spacetime.

I don't totally know what to make of this one. It was initially brimming with potential, and it only partly followed up on that potential, but it did so pretty well. And then it just completely fell off a cliff. Community's always had problems with third acts, and that was certainly on display in "Intro to Knots." The highs were some of the season's best ones to date, and while the lows weren't nearly as bad as the season's worst, the episode's disjointed nature is hard to ignore.


STUDY NOTES

– This was the other episode without Chevy Chase and Pierce. Kinda missed him!

– Christmas in April is fun. TV shows should just do holiday episodes whenever they want. Don't let The Man and those crooks at Hallmark tell you what to do!

– Did we actually get to see Abed's gifts? They looked like wrapped Ziploc bags of sand or something. I also appreciate that the group wanted to troll Jeff so much that they all bought him Greendale garb. Awesome.

– Despite Troy's weird season, Donald Glover remains on-point. His pronunciation of wassling was pretty tight.

Comments (129)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
we are provide you bt technical support for all bt products if you using bt products and you need any kind of problems regatding to bt products now visit our website and fix your all issue we are ready to help you
http://pcehelp.com/bt-support/bt-technical-support-number-0800-680-0619/

http://pcehelp.com/avg/avg-antivirus-technical-support-0800-680-0619/
Reply
Flag
This one was very funny, filled with great character moments for everyone (sans the absent Chevy Chase), and actually used Malcolm McDowell effectively, something his other episode absolutely did not do. Yet you just nit-pick it and brush it off as a mixed bag, after ignoring all that was wrong with last week's story. And I agree with the comments below that the "worst" episodes of Community can still do circles around most shows at their best out there.
Reply
Flag
I really liked Malcom McDowell's performance. The Dean and Cornwallis, all had pretty good stuff written for them. Not super funny stuff, but stuff that worked very well with how the actors do those characters. And Troy at least had one good line: "I'm pretty sure it's anus". I also liked the dark timeline scene.


Click Here
Reply
Flag
Ugh. Im so confused. Why have people been hating on this show and saying how 'diffrent' it is now, and how its 'missing' something?

The characters are still the same and the jokes are always funny. And the story is changing (obviously) but thats what happens to shows. So ya. Honestly don't know why so many people are hating on this show right now. Its perfectly fine. Actually, I really like it! (althoguh troy and britta together creeps me pout a little teeny tiny bit...)
Reply
Flag
Why do I keep reading your reviews? All season I've resoundingly disagreed with you on almost every episode. Last week's puppet episode was AWFUL. This one was very funny, filled with great character moments for everyone (sans the absent Chevy Chase), and actually used Malcolm McDowell effectively, something his other episode absolutely did not do. Yet you just nit-pick it and brush it off as a mixed bag, after ignoring all that was wrong with last week's story. Can I get paid to analyze these, please?
Reply
Flag
I think Annie's quote about the gift IS supposed to make sense. It's similar to a Benjamin Franklin quote, "Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, it is forbidden because it is hurtful; Duty is not beneficial because it is commanded, it is commanded because it is beneficial."

So to Annie's quip, "the gift is not an obligation, the obligation (or having the opportunity and friends to give them to) IS the gift."

Typical corny Annie feel-good sentiment, albeit a little confusing almost like a brainteasing thought palindrome. So much so, that it took Jeff W. more time to digest.

And I agree with the comments below that the "worst" episodes of Community can still do circles around most shows at their best out there.

Hardly anything, if at all, is put into Community's 22 minutes without some meaning!

Cool-coo-coo-cool.


3
Reply
Flag
Sad to say but i made an account just to vent this to you people: What the hell is with the hypocrisy with you people and this show?

Evil Timeline
With Dan: Its great and hilarious!
Without Dan: Its boring and dumb! Stop it!

Not knowing what to do with Chang
With Dan: Its great and hilarious!
Without Dan: Its boring and dumb! Stop it! I Hate Chang!

Celebrity Name Puns
With Dan: Its great and hilarious!
Without Dan: Its boring and dumb! Stop it!

Ending With a Winger Speech
With Dan: Its great!
Without Dan: Its boring and dumb! Stop it!

Inspector Spacetime
With Dan: Its great and hilarious!
Without Dan: Its boring and dumb! Stop it!

Is this season hit and miss and a bit of a mess? Yes
But guess what: So was season 3, particularly the end where they jumped months between episodes.

"Bad" episodes of Community are still better than a lot of shows on TV. I dont care what anyone else says, i hop we get a Season 5
5
Reply
Flag
o yea and

Referencing Past Episodes
With Dan: Its great and hilarious!
Without Dan: Its boring and dumb! Stop it!
Reply
Flag
I really liked Malcom McDowell's performance. I liked the a lot of the dialogue. Jeff, Annie, the Dean and Cornwallis, all had pretty good stuff written for them. Not super funny stuff, but stuff that worked very well with how the actors do those characters. And Troy at least had one good line: "I'm pretty sure it's anus". I also liked the dark timeline scene.

But I'm still not sure this is worth watching. I don't think it's terrible or anything, but I'm not a fan of comedies, so a comedy must be very good to make me consider it a "must watch". This version of Community isn't *that* good.

Harmon's absence is most notable in the Abed scenes. The new guys just don't know how to write Abed.

People complain a lot about Chang. I agree that this version of Chang isn't funny, but remember that Chang was turned into a bad character during Harmon's time as showrunner. Chang was great as the eccentric Spanish teacher, but he has been bad ever since he went crazy.
Reply
Flag
In the 4 years this show has been on, many people have picked up a masters. or BA or even a doctorate. Why does it take these people so long to finish a 2 year program! I prefer to return to the idea that they are in an asylum and it's all in their heads.
1
Reply
Flag
In the state they are in community colleges offer 4-year degrees. It's mentioned many times that Jeff is there to get his Bachelor's.
Reply
Flag
When I first saw that clip I wished that was the last clip of the series b/c that would explain SOOOO much
Reply
Flag
It didn't get worse, and I loved that a Christmas episode was on April. But can we please not end every episode with a Jeff speech. I know that that's his thing, but really, its a little much now.
3
Reply
Flag
I'm rating this one my second favourite of the year. I didn't get any of the Rope references and assume if I had I would have liked it less. I pretty much agree with Cory's review except that I did not like the puppet episode.
1
Reply
Flag
"Annie's epithet about gifts and obligation didn't make a lick of sense..."

Did you mabe mean epilogue?
Reply
Flag
I think y'all are holding Community to a higher standard than your average sitcom. It's worst episodes are better than most other's best (people still watch David Spade, srsly?) But if you must constantly compare every ep with it's best of post-modern, alternate timeline, Abed as Ken Burns voice overs, than yeah, sure, this wasn't up to par. But like I Love Lucy (who first changed the TV landscape), it was at least funny, even if being Superman on a ledge didn't always make sense.
Plus no one will argue that Cornwallis wasn't fantastic trying to pit the group against one another, I kinda wish that he remained tied up rather than the Chang knot cop out, if we're truly pulling for group unity here. Plus since it was a Christmas ep, those tend to promote lovey family type feels more than conspiracy backstabby ones.
Anyway, Christmas in April is still kinda weird, but no one gave me a kitten for Christmas, so we can't have everything.
3
Reply
Flag
Also, forgot to mention, Abed getting snacks during the interrogation? Classic and hilarious.
1
Reply
Flag
Anything's better than Intro to Felt Surrogacy, but I actually found this very enjoyable. Not a particularly high point for the show, sure, but enjoyable and funny.
2
Reply
Flag
LOVED LOVED Annie's line to Cornwallis after he lowered their grade ... "You're gonna "F" us?" Best laugh of the whole ep. : ))
2
Reply
Flag
I don't know, my favorite was Troy's: I'm pretty sure it's "anus".

In case anyone has missed it, it's a reference to the Greendale flag: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Y6oez0lzWpA
Reply
Flag
Changnesia was somewhat amusing at first, but now it—along with Evil Chang—are getting on my nerves.
4
Reply
Flag
I liked the darkest timeline scene but mostly because I much prefer Jeff with Annie (I'm pretty sure Community is the only place where a guy in his early-mid 30s doesn't want to date a 20 year-old because of her age).
3
Reply
Flag
Think again. I think the character is actually late 30s, and I think we saw her turn 21, but I'll assume you're talking about season 2. There are practical considerations, never at any point after being that age have I been willing to date a girl who couldn't get into a bar, it's just annoying and inconvenient, and I don't even go to bars that much. Also, when you're in your 30s people under 25 don't even seem like adults. I'm not saying I never made that mistake, but I learned from it and I never will again. I'm not sure about 20 year olds, but around the time I hit thirty was when I stopped being able to tell 18 year olds from 13 year olds. They don't even look like adults, nevermind act like one.
Reply
Flag
I'm pretty sure we haven't seen her turn 21. Are you sure you're not thinking about the episode where Troy turns 21 and they go drinking and Annie has a fake ID?
Reply
Flag
Unless I'm really screwing up my math, I think Annie's currently 22. She says in the Mixology Certification episode that she's born in 1990 (Troy says he's born in 1989). Assuming this episode represents Christmas 2012 and her birthday isn't during the week between Christmas and 2013, she should be 22 now. As safibwana says, she was 20 in season 2.

I guess that doesn't matter, though, if you were being literal in saying "... we haven't seen her turn 21", because yes, we haven't seen them celebrate her birthday.
Reply
Flag
No I was genuinely being literal in response to him saying it because it sounded like he was getting mixed up between Troy's 21st a while ago.

I do also remember the first mention of her being 20 was in season 3 when she was moving in with Troy and Abed. Either way yeah, I'm sure she's probably about 22 now.
Flag
Yeah, prolly, tho math says she should be 21. If she is really only 20, she is absolutely. positively, completely undatable.
Reply
Flag
I was hoping Season 4 would turn out to be the darkest timeline
6
Reply
Flag
Who do you think Chang is talking to on the phone?
Pierce?
The Germans?
Leonard?
Or are they bring back Starburns?
Reply
Flag
I personally hope its Starburns. because they showed at the edn of lats season that he is secretly alive and I wish they would explain mor eon that.

But to be honest, its probably his Chang Minions or whatever.... OOO WHAT IF ITS ACTUALLY PIERCE :O That would be crazy awesome. Totally unexpected too. :P
1
Reply
Flag
City College?
2
Reply
Flag
I really hope it's not City College, that would be the lamest, least original possibility.
1
Reply
Flag
Out of all of the options and the state of the current season. Which is more likely?
Reply
Flag
well S3's final it shows him in City College's vents. so either he gets together with City college's Dean or like the others have said hes just gone totally crazy and is just talking to himself
1
Flag
I've hated, and I mean HATED this season (that includes Changnesia), but I'd love it if Chang isn't talking to anybody. That would be hilarious.
3
Flag
I'm starting to think that he's not talking to anybody. He doesn't really dial or anything. the first time he pressed 2 buttons and this ep he didn't press any. I think maybe he's just in-freaking-sane.
Either way, Changnesia is annoying the hell out of me.
2
Flag
During the first dialogue between Jeff and Annie I was waiting for the laugh track to be turned on. The exchange between them had the pace of a dialogue in a multi-cam comedy. Also, I would have needed the laugh track to help me figure out when something funny was said.
7
Reply
Flag
Meh. Was I the only one who would have loved to see an entire episode of the worst timeline? I would have rather seen the whole Annie trial than any of that. It felt too much like the episode with Jon Hodgeman last year. But not as good.
7
Reply
Flag
"Beginning wasn't able to follow through with, strong middle, lame third act, squandered potential" - that's exactly how I felt. If Cornwallis hadn't gotten free and played mindgames, and Jeff hadn't been able to carry his message through, this episode would have been a total faceplant with elements like - happy emotive Abed, Abed's go-nowhere Die Hard bit, Chang replacing Pierce, Annie girling up Jeff's place with little pushback, Chang subverting the group, Annie and Jeff arguing their passing grade down to a failing one, Annie's nonsense coda post-resolution, the Inspector Spacetime convention hat gift, and "the darkest timeline" tag at the end.

I was glad they finally did something with Cornwallis, Malcolm McDowell was wasted in his first outing and this was a lot more fun. It was disturbing to see this moment that was supposed to precede the revelation from last week's puppet episode that Annie is letting him massage her feet for a better grade though, that's grotesque. But Cornwallis seemed like he had a point to make, and Jeff using his lawyer brain for good instead of evil was an interesting counterpoint. Jeff also owned his misdeeds early in the episode, that was a nice twist.

In answer to your poll question, this was worse than the puppet episode, that at least was consistent even if I thought it was pretty weak sauce.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Middling episode. Not as good as last week but WAY better than the first few this season.
Reply
Flag
I liked this episode overall. Thought that it was one of the better ones of the series. Abed had me laughing out loud - that's pretty much what I base my Community ratings on these days. I missed Pierce but he's left the show - there's no point in moaning about it. He's gone, we have to deal with it. He was a great character - one of my personal favourite moments with him is the Dungeons and Dragons episode. I'm going to miss him, but things change and we have to change with them. I enjoyed the episode. I understand that some people didn't like it, but personally I think that season 4 has really started to perk up. Keep it up Community.
4
Reply
Flag
Good review - as usual. Question: What television comedy is as scrutinized as Community - or offers such an opportunity. I disagree somewhat with your analysis. I think this episode still is an example that the new showrunners have found their footing. We are just going to have to live with some lines that don't make it out of the infield (btw I think Annie's line about gifts was supposed to make no sense). But the best part was at the end with the dark time line and Chang up to no good (Will they follow up on it?). Here's a fact: I've gone from wincing at the start of the season run to laughing out loud. I sure hope they dedicate some time to Troy though.
7
Reply
Flag
Annie's line was definitely supposed to not make sense, hence why after she said it there was a shot of Jeff's face looking confused...
2
Reply
Flag
The gift IS the obligation
Reply
Flag
I will say this much for the episode: Malcolm McDowell did a great job in this episode. If it weren't for him, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed this episode at all. Once again, I didn't really laugh in this episode. The story itself was good, at least compared to other episodes of the season, but I can't really say I enjoyed the episode that much overall.
1
Reply
Flag
Malcolm McDowell is very good on Franklin and Bash as well
Reply
Flag
I'm done with Annie being so silly about Jeff, she is too smart to still be played as a lovesick teeny bopper.
4
Reply
Flag
Yes, it would be far better if they portrayed her as she had developed over the first three seasons, where she is Jeff's equal. Also acknowledging that Jeff has strong feelings about her as well would be nice. More like what we got in Pillows and Blankets, or Lupine Urology. This episode was early season one Annie and Jeff. Pascal's Triangle Jeff and Annie were far more mature and equal than we see now.
2
Reply
Flag
I think most of this would have worked in season 1 or 2, but it doesn't anymore because we have so much mistrust and distance to the authors and hence the characters. I judge a lot of the actions as using stereotypes, that I didn't in earlier episodes... maybe it is our fault.

But that aside, this episode: still meh
2
Reply
Flag
They walk a thin line. We obviously want Community to feel like the old Community but we want them to achieve that by doing new and creative things instead of just trying to copy previous formulas.
5
Reply
Flag
I liked parts of this episode. I hate that the whole Changnesia thing is fake, I'm tired of him as the villain.
6
Reply
Flag
This was the first episode from this season that I truly enjoyed as much as the others. I say it was better than the puppet episode; MUCH better.
5
Reply
Flag
I liked this episode. Sure it was no Modern Warfare or Intro to Felt Surrogacy, but it was also no Competitive Wine Tasting either. Every show is going to have it's ups and downs and I thin this one was solidly on an upward trajectory.
In all fairness to Annie, Muppets was supposed to come after this (before NBC moved it up to boost ratings) so it makes sense that after getting this C she'd still be trying to bump it up to an A with a creepy footrub. especially now that she knows Shirley is in the running.
And I'm pretty sure that thing about gifts and obligations wasn't supposed to make any damn sense. Even Jeff looked confused as sh*t by it.

Bottom line, still loving the show, and Holiday eps are not Holiday restrictive. I watch Regional Holiday Music and Epidemiology any time of year.
3
Reply
Flag
oh so it was aired out of order I did wonder why they invited him after knowing Annie's secret, also makes more sence why she did it.
Reply
Flag
I liked this episode, the greater part of it was fun and different from usual. But the ending was a moot point, I feel like the storyline just deflated right there. But the dark storyline was nice too. I enjoyed the episode overall. And yay Christmas!
Reply
Flag
I can deal with most all of this ep. but when that damn timeline came at the end with Jeff and Annie, I just threw up. And when checking future synopsis, they're not done with that nonsense. The basic general rule for this show is to keep it a COMEDY and not let it gaze into surreal Sci-Fi.

And it's cool when people get these references to movies and whatever pop culture but so much can fall flat since not everyone sees this and then what? Hadn't see Rope or Shawshank so I'm just out of the joke? haha.

Wasn't it ridiculous how the Diehard tank top just fit right. :P
Reply
Flag
Apparently I'm totally alone on this, but I thought this episode was just as good as many of the previous seasons episodes... However, I'll admit that I never thought this show was ever that funny (it's no Arrested Development). I watch it cause it's entertaining, and that's what this was.
Reply
Flag
I had two major criticisms last week: no explanation about Pierce and the behind the scenes bit at the end. And they fixed those. The writers gave a reason (argue it was weak or not, I don't care) Pierce was gone and it was much better than leaving him in the woods and not talking about it. The bit at the end was a little over the top, but then again I'd expect that from the darkest timeline. It's a shame we're comparing season 4 to 1-3, but its to be expected when such a dramatic change in staff occurs. That said, I'm happy with this one.
1
Reply
Flag
Eat fresh!
2
Reply
Flag
Annie: "Okay, now that we're all here... Oh wait, where's Pierce?"
Jeff: "Oh, sensitivity training with Gilbert. Apparently watching Invictus didn't do the trick."

That has to be the LAZIEST bit of writing this show has ever done. Notice that I wrote "this show" and not Community? Well, that's because I don't consider the dreck I just watched to be what was once my favourite comedy.

Let's be honest, when people look back on Community in X amount of years from now, season 4 will have an asterisk beside it. And it will be:

*This season sucks. Watch at your own peril. Seriously, you could die of sadness. (Don't look at me. The asterisk never lies.)

I've come to a point where I wish I never watched a single episode of this post-Harmon hellscape. Or should I say, the 1st season of Community 2.ShitOnMySoul.

Just for the record, I hate being such an invidious asshole. I understand there are quite a few people who still enjoy Community 2.SOMS, and though I vehemently disagree with those opinions, I still respect them.

But please, for the love of god someone tell me I'm not the only one who threw up in their mouth when they did that nauseatingly cliche and banal gift unwrapping montage? Or someone who wanted to punch a wall after that horrendous attempt at a darkest timeline continuation? ...

Please. Someone. ANYONE!
More+
20
Reply
Flag
I think the best we can all hope for now is that the series is cancelled and in a little way down the line, Netflix options it like it did with Arrested Development, reinstates Harmon and allows for a wonderful comeback, even if it is just one season. Either that or we all flock over to Kickstarter right now!
2
Reply
Flag
I used to think anybody who donated money to Kickstarter was a sucker, but after the Veronica Mars success, I would honestly be willing to donate $100 to see a Dan Harmon run Community again, be it another TV season or a movie.

#BringBackDan
5
Reply
Flag
"I've come to a point where I wish I never watched a single episode of this post-Harmon hellscape." Same here. I have gotten some enjoyment out of a few episodes this season, but not nearly as much as previous seasons. As you said, I'll be making a clear division between Dan Harmon's Community and this new version, where NBC and the new showrunners have Britta'd our show. :( As I said below, the only reason why I'm continuing to watch it is that it's so close to the end now that I might as well keep watching it. But if NBC decides to renew the show, there's no way in hell I'm going to subject myself to another season of this, unless NBC re-hires Dan Harmon and the other writers that left.
4
Reply
Flag
Oh yeah, I can't stop now, either. Hell, I can't even stop writing these nasty comments when I pretty much promised I wouldn't write another one. But this will most definitely be my last season, cancellation or no.

I've actually started to watch a Harmon episode after a season 4 episode, so I wouldn't forget the brilliance of this once great show. The difference is STARTLING when viewed back-to-back.
Reply
Flag
Yeah, I know what you mean. I actually kind of feel bad when I write these kinds of posts. I know some people have been enjoying this season a lot more than I have, and I really don't mean to bring those people down, nor do I feel happy to be criticizing a show which I loved so much before this season. But at the same time, I can't really help it when the show crashes in on itself thanks to NBC firing Dan Harmon, and all the drama that came after that. I think the most I can hope for now is that the season/series finale is decent enough that can go away on a slightly positive (or at least less-negative) note.
1
Reply
Flag
I didn't hate it, I think there have been worst episodes this season. Or maybe I've set my bar too low, now. But definitely the tag was one of the worst ideas ever. Why oh why do they have the urge to ruin something so precious like the darkest timeline? And yes, the pseudo-explanation for Pierce's absence was like a slap in my face.
1
Reply
Flag
What else could they have done about Pierce? This is 100% Chevy's fault. I don't see anything the writers could have done that would have made things significantly better.
Reply
Flag
Thank you. Just knowing I'm not alone helps...

Hello, my name is FF, and I'm a (season 4) Community basher.
2
Reply
Flag
Is there a support group for this affliction?
1
Reply
Flag
The TV.com community is my support group. None of my friends watch Community (even after repeated pleas by yours truly to give it a chance), so discussing it with you guys goes a long way towards preventing me from putting on a fake/felt goatee and trying to cut off the arm of the only Jeff I know. Thanks for keeping me sane!
Flag
I think it's really sad 'this show' has clung on the a concept that a superior writer brought to fruition. "The Remedial Chaos Theory" was Harmon's baby, and well thought out. One of the series highlights (if not THE highlight), and its recognized as such by critics and his writing peers. This writing team does not posses the creative huevos to pull of alternate timeline 'evil' characters without making it seem like the tv writing trope Harmon was satirizing (Star Trek, "Mirror, Mirror). Plus.....where are the goatees?!? Evil universe=goatees on ALL character (annie included).
2
Reply
Flag
"Remedial Chaos Theory" is my favourite episode of Community. To be honest, it's one of my favourite episodes of anything. These new writers have already destroyed Inspector Spacetime, so it is my hope that they leave the darkest timeline alone. Who are we kidding anyway? We're CLEARLY watching the darkest timeline. The one in which Dan Harmon was fired from the show he created, co-wrote, directed and produced.

"Plus.....where are the goatees?!? Evil universe=goatees on ALL character (annie included)."

Haha! YES!
Reply
Flag
after reading plot summaries i beleive the whole evil study group comes in the final. sooo um maybe you shouldt watch it :/
Reply
Flag
Maybe the last episode will reveal we were in the darkest timeline this whole season...
4
Reply
Flag
This is indeed the darkest timeline....
2
Reply
Flag
I think some of the writing has been lazy this season, but some of the character points in this episode did remind me of why i like Community.

Jeff blowing off homework for a Tom Waits gig, Abed thinking of stepping on the shards, Troy walking off when Britta went on her rant, Annie considering C- an F were in keeping with the characters we know from previous seasons.

The season has improved from the first couple of episodes, i think the writers made a mistake by try to change the characters too quickly and over the last 3-4 episodes have been tweaking it.

I always hate montages with 2 exceptions 1)The end credits of the Spartacus finale and 2) Team America:World Police ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFrMLRQIT_k )

And Pierce - I didnt really miss him, i think he is always better used in moderation
2
Reply
Flag
"Always fade out in a montage. When you fade out it seems like more time has passed in a montage..."

Greatest montage song EVER!
Reply
Flag
It is a shame they had to run with this lame, generic montage. Because their recent attempt at a montage - during the P.E.E episode - actually made me laugh and I think we actually good. Nothing beats Team America though, fuck yeah!
1
Reply
Flag
"MONTAGE!!"
1
Reply
Flag
I noticed Troy walking away from Britta too, and I wondered if I was missing something. That was weird.
2
Reply
Flag
"The Wire" season finales' montages were amazing.
Reply
Flag
I agree. I think the show feels like Scrubs season 9 (the one with the medical interns) after 8 years of greatness. I'd be curious to see where the show turned up if Harmon never left, but that's just too sad of a thought. It was just another dumb NBC decision getting rid of the showrunner, just like getting rid of Conan back in 2010.
6
Reply
Flag
Don't worry about it, dude. I truly did appreciate the apology.
1
Reply
Flag
Hmmm, interesting comparison. I don't remember myself hating season 9 of Scrubs as much as I've been hating this season of Community, but that may have a lot to do with the fact that my fondness for Scrubs was never as high as my love for Community.
1
Reply
Flag
Ugh. Season 9 of Scrubs. Good comparison.
3
Reply
Flag
You are not the only one. I have managed to find a few positives over the course of this season, so I don't consider it to have completely shat on my soul, but compared to previous seasons, there is really no comparison. The worst thing a show can do after being taken from the hands of the original creator, is try to emulate that original creator. Nobody can create a Dan Harmon-style Community except for Dan Harmon, because it is from his brain that this show sprung. They should have focused on creating their own legendary ideas and themes to serve as quotes and references, not desperately clung to those they didn't conceive of - like the darkest timeline - and so therefore could not continue in worthy style.
4
Reply
Flag
That's the problem with firing a showrunner 3 seasons into a show. The new guys have to try to honour the past while trying to create something themselves in the present. It was an impossible task that Sony and NBC saddled them with. And it ranks up there with FOX's cancellation of Firefly in terms of network mismanagement.
2
Reply
Flag
Indeed, but there is a difference between honouring the past and desperately trying to cling to it, by taking situations and parodies and jokes you didn't create and trying to re-utilise it yourself. It would be like me taking a stand-up routine from another comedian and just re-doing it word for word in another voice. They should have tried to develop brand new ideas that would have caught on to our imaginations like all those and others have before. That is what Dan Harmon would have done, rather than milk the darkest timeline and Inspector Spacetime ideas dry.
1
Reply
Flag
Airline food, am I right? I mean what's up with that?
2
Flag
Couldn't agree with you more.
2
Reply
Flag
I love you.
1
Reply
Flag
Funny you say you had a "laugh diary", cause I have a "complaint diary", and I think 30 pages are just yours.

My point is: do you know how to do anything that isn't complaining? I mean, Jesus, why are you going to watch it if all you do is come here and dish out insults like the show is a bully who just broke your favorite toy?

Also, didn't you say that you had "given up" on Season 4 and "wasn't going to come here anymore" in a previous episode review? By this point, you just seem like every other annoyed "fan" who can't let the show be and has to keep hovering over it and yelling "I DON'T LIKE IT I DON'T LIKE IT" instead of watching another show.
3
Reply
Flag
Haha, I find it hilarious that you'd say FF always complains, just because I remember someone else on another article a while ago complaining that FF was too much of a fanboy, always passionately exclaiming his love for everything.
1
Reply
Flag
So, you're saying I'm like the Yankees, Man U, Heat, Lakers, The Voice, TBBT and a popular High School jock?

This oft bullied nerd has come a long way. But c'mon son! I've GOT to be more likeable than those dirty Yankees!

Sidenote: You're one of my favourite commenters on this site.
Reply
Flag
What's even MORE hilarious is that "someone else" you mentioned replied to this very Community comment I made. And the hilarity doesn't stop there, because you replied to their comment about the Scrubs/Community comparison. Yes, the person who said I write like a child having a tantrum in a supermarket (I don't think I'll ever forget that insult) is none other than DrSpongejr.

It should be noted that the Sponge Doctor actually sent me a message apologizing for his/her dickish remarks. Though, he/she only did this AFTER several fellow TV.com members came to my defence. So take that how you will.

I don't quite understand why I receive these attack-comments. Do I have a target on my back that I'm not aware of?
Reply
Flag
Please proceed to pelt me with as many dodgeballs as you all can find for that completely moronic/hypocritical/crappy comment I made. I know I've held onto dickish comments made towards me, and know completely how you feel towards me. As for the reason people write "hater" comments, watch the show "Awkward." and look at why Jenna's mom /spoiler/ wrote that letter /spoiler/
is because she felt bad about herself and felt the need to bring others down.
Flag
Putting my thinking hat on for a moment, I'd say you do kinda sorta have a target on your back. Based on the high number of thumbs ups and replies your comments often get, I'd argue that you're (one of) the most popular commenter(s) around these parts. The catch in being popular is that you're also bound to have a higher number of haters or detractors.

It's like the popular jocks in high school -- they may technically be the most popular, but there's also a good portion of the school that dislikes them. Or... like the New York Yankees: they're easily the most popular team in North America, having fans EVERYWHERE, but they also have the highest number of haters too. The same could be said for Manchester United, Miami Heat/Los Angeles Lakers... or, since this is a site dedicated to TV, maybe it's like The Voice or The Big Bang Theory. Those shows are seemingly the most popular, but they also seem to have the most haters. So, yeah, while I assume people didn't get together and decide to put a target on your back, I think there's one put on you when you become popular in a particular field or group. Unfortunately for you, you've become popular on this site, hehe.
More +
Flag
I won't even deny it. You're right. I said I would stop yet here I am. But I take issue with your second paragraph. If you'd bother to take the time to read them, you'd see that MOST of my comments are positive.

And aren't you just complaining about my complaining? (Irony!) Why don't you engage in an intellectual debate on the merits of this 4th season and why you think it doesn't deserve our scorn?

Maybe it's because you can't think of a defence.
Reply
Flag
You do know that there is a new entry in the complaint diary
Reply
Flag
I can't speak for FringeFanatic, but for me personally, I was perfectly willing to give the show a chance. Even if it wasn't as good as Dan Harmon's Community, it could at least be a decent comedy in its own rights. For the first half of a season, I watched hoping it would reach that point, to become a decent comedy show, and there were times I did enjoy some of the episodes, despite getting very few laughs out of it. However, as the season progressed the words "I can't count the reasons I should stay. One by one they all just fade away" rang so true to me that I probably would have left, if it wasn't for the fact that it was so close to the very end. Half way through. 5 episodes left. Now 3 episodes left. If it wasn't such a short season, I definitely would have left by now, as I will if NBC decides to renew the show. But considering it was once my favorite current comedy, and one of my all-time favorites, I'd hate to leave it this close to the end of the series.
5
Reply
Flag
Your analysis of the opening song when compared to this 4th season is hauntingly poetic. That intro will forever have new meaning for me.
1
Reply
Flag
I think most of us who have always been obsessed about the show can't really "let the show be", as you put it. Well, for me personally, I have always spoken and breathed Community for the past 3 seasons, and even if it has fallen flat on the Nile river and consumed by Poseidon, I would still watch it. All I can do about it is complain afterwards, but I will not stop watching it.

Anyways, it goes both ways, you know. You can just ignore these complaints.
6
Reply
Flag
I couldn't have possibly said it better.
Reply
Flag
Same here, I've been so into this show for the last few years that I can't quit, no matter how many times I cringe in disgust when I watch every new episode.
1
Reply
Flag
Your "complaint diary" makes you sound like a stalker
3
Reply
Flag
Haha! Restraining order time!
Reply
Flag
This comment has been removed.
Reply
Flag
I actually liked this episode alot and think its prob the stongest episode this season so i really dont have much to say.
However did anyone notice that Annie like kind of morphs into Trudy when shes "playing house"
And even though Im starting to get tired of them constantly bringing up the same things from last season (inspector space time) I actually liked the end tag, even though it was kind of weird and out of no where. And does this mean that the other study group is coming back? Cuz if that study group could pass over to the main timeline that would be cool,eEven though i think its only in Abed's head
2
Reply
Flag
The problem is, they already did cross over. Well Evil Abed did, as you say the darkest timeline really only exists in his head so this made sense after Britta Britta'd the psychiatry of him in the dreamatorium.
That resulted in the hilarious Evil Abed trying to cut off Jeff's arm, his facial expression when he's holding the electric saw and calls "Winger" was brilliant alone.
This darkest timeline was probably the worst attempted laugh in all of Community's illustrious time.
Just to be clear I have found some of this season to be pretty good but this episode wasn't even average.
Reply
Flag
"The problem is, they already did cross over"
I know but that hasnt stopped them for bringing up similar story lines before (even b4 season4 they did that)
And to honest although that episode with evil Abed was funny I would have prefered the whole study group coming through to the main timeline
Reply
Flag
Also, it's "wassailing," not "wassling."
Reply
Flag
Not a great episode, not even a particularly good episode, but certainly better than last week's "legitimately stellar" (the reviewer's words, definitely not mine) puppet borefest. At least I actually laughed once this week, although the reason for that has already been forgotten.

I highly recommend trying to catch Hitchcock's "Rope" sometime if you can. It's a fine movie: a murder mystery shot in a single take (film changes notwithstanding). It also has a running time of only about 75-80 minutes, so even today's ADHD mindsets can (probably?) sit still for that long.
1
Reply
Flag
I've been keeping a "laugh diary" while watching Community because I'm emo like that, and season 4 has averaged approximately 1.2 laughs, 2.7 snickers and 4.0 half-smiles per episode. That is a whopping (and completely made-up) 85% drop in laugh production when compared to seasons 1-3.

Although, I will admit because of Annie my "erection diary" hasn't lost a step.
14
Reply
Flag
I actually really liked this episode. I enjoyed the callbacks the previous episodes, and I feel that the work of the group as a whole was stronger, as it always is when they're all together. Annie questioning who could be valedictorian, eventually getting to Shirley last was funny...
1
Reply
Flag
I haven't shared many of the grievances of this season that others have had, but I found this to be the worst episode so far. All just very plain and somewhat boring.

Although it did have a few good moments none were spectacular.

However, Annie's line about gifts/obligation was clearly meant to make no sense as evidenced by the confusion face afterwards. The darkest timeline thing was simply terrible.
3
Reply
Flag
Yeah, I'm gonna deny this season ever existed for the rest of my life.
11
Reply
Flag
What season?
8
Reply
Flag
No. That's the wrong answer. We must recognize evil now if we are to combat it later. We must tell tales of network and studio interference ruining our shows to future generations so that their beloved series that are PERCEIVED to be low-rated but actually get the same viewership as anything else in the network's lineup when put in that same timeslot won't get mistreated, abused, and turned into embarrassing shadows of their former selves. Tell your kids, tell your neighbors, spread the word of Community's disastrous 4th season, deafen NBC with your voices until your last breath is spent.

So-called "Community" season 4, never forget.
3
Reply
Flag
This episode wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either. The only thing I really loved about it was the "Darkest Timeline" bit, it's one of the best (and funniest) parts about Community's mythology in my opinion, and as long as the writers use it sparingly, I'm all for it.
The one thing that really bothered me about the episode was Troy making a lame excuse and walking away from Britta when she was talking to him. I get that Britta can get annoying, but these characters are supposed to be in a relationship, not to mention the fact that Troy as a character is much nicer than that, and Britta as a character should not just be OK with anyone, especially Troy, treating her that way. The whole thing really felt out of place for me..
But anyways, after 3-4 really really good episodes of Community, I'm fine with getting an average one. Not every episode can be great, and it was definitely better than the first half of the season (and almost all of season 3). Lets just hope next week they'll get back on track.
3
Reply
Flag
The time-line bit is one of the community tropes, as with Troy&Abed in the morning. As long as it doesn't get thrown in for the sake of it, it's totally fine. Some people seems intent to hate on post-hamon community
1
Reply
Flag
I really disliked last week's puppet episode, but this one was at least palatable. Still nothing like the stuff that was being done in the Harmon years, but I have stopped expecting that kind of magic from Community this season.

Glad you pointed out the "Rope" connection, because I had no idea they were going for that vibe (and thus, Abed's "real-time" comment didn't make any sense to me), probably because it was, as you say, abandoned almost immediately. So, it was too expensive/time-consuming to do the entire show in a single camera shot? That would have at least made it a smidgen more interesting.
3
Reply
Flag
Your comment matches what I wanted to say so exactly that there's now no longer any point in me posting it.
Reply
Flag
Big-time "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" vibe/homage.
Reply
Flag
I watched half of this episode assuming it was a rerun until someone finally started talking about the show's late start this year, and all the episodes were off-schedule, yadda yadda.

Coming from a 'this show isn't funny and never is, and I hate couples' nights where we watch tv and deal with each other and drink wine that's way too sweet because the other couples are a bunch of babies' mindset, I liked this episode. It still wasn't funny and never is, but I liked the professor. I liked that he called Troy a man-child and mentioned how ridiculous it was that he and Britta were together. And I like his plotting and deal-making. I really just need more episodes of HoC, but this episode put a smile on my face. I think it was actually more than one.

It's true that the homage was mashed and incomplete, but meh. I got a lot more out of it this week than I usually do.
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook