We're moving Forums to the Community pages. Click here for more information and updates.

Community Scatters Its Remains

Community S02E18: "Course Listing Unavailable"

Last night's episode of Community was a mismatched hodgepodge of funeral services, riots, callbacks to a darker timeline, Dean impersonators, martial law, concerns over the health of Troy's pen pal, stick-on Starburns sideburns, punitive school boards, and Garret singing "Ave Maria." The episode's title, "Course Listing Unavailable," was an apt name for an episode that had about as much focus as Britta's cross-eyed cat, as random things just sorta happened throughout the half-hour. But you know what? It was still hilarious.

This was Community's latest attempt at serialized comedy, and the episode's goals were to bring Chang to power and get the gang expelled. Both of those objectives were accomplished. But the show plowed through a bizarre cornfield to get there. After dealing with their grief by submitting to the help of unlicensed psycho-nut Britta, the gang found out Professor Kane had resigned, therefore nullifying their biology class and forcing them to attend summer school. The gang then showed up at Starburns' wake full of rage and incited a student riot, which led to their expulsion while Chang took over the school with an army of mini-police. Wait, what?

Why did Kane resign because of Starburns? Why would a class just end because a teacher resigns? Why will the study group be forced to go to summer school? Why did the gang use Starburns' service to incite mayhem? How can an episode like "Course Listing Unavailable" simply end with that cutesy music playing and everyone handing out flirty looks and a fluffy consensus of "as long as we all have each other"?

Whereas Starburns' remains should have been what was scattered last night, it was actually a bunch of Community leftovers that got sprinkled about. Chang's ascent to security dictator took its next step. Subway got involved. Shirley expressed her continued anger over not getting her sandwich shop. And the coup de gras of this coup de Greendale? The magnificent callback to "Remedial Chaos Theory," the darkest timeline, and that weird pizza delivery guy. It didn't totally work and felt a bit squeezed-in-there, but this episode was less about making things work than making things funny and providing treats for fans.

"Course Listing Unavailable" pushed Community from Point A to Point B with no regard for what was in between or care for the physics of common sense. But again... who cares!? It was hilarious! There was no time to realize that little of it made sense because Leonard was raiding the Subway sandwich bar (except for onions and olives). Or Pierce was digging into Starburns' ashes looking for his comb. Or Dean was finally starting to understand why Alex was known as "Starburns."

Community is known for its high concepts, parodies, and fourth-wall destruction, but it's also one of the most delightfully silly sitcoms out there. "Course Listing Unavailable" was as silly—and funny—as it gets. I loved this episode even though I realize how flawed it was. But I laughed my ass off and right now that's all I care about.



Study Group Notes

– The Starburns tribute video may be the coolest thing ever. I kind of want to die just so I can force my friends to make one for me.

Jim Rash! Can I have your babies or something? He's so damn funny as Dean Pelton. Can we get him an Emmy to put on the mantle next to his Oscar?

– How long do you think the group will be kicked out of school? I'm kind of really digging this turn of events!


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

Comments (67)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
R.I.P. Starburn



We will always remember you as a man, who for all we know, was a Holocoust denying 9/11 pedophile
Reply
Flag
Has anybody mentioned this line as said by Jeff, "You seemed smarter to me when I first meet you." That is what I was thinking the other day! I love Britta, and even though even she herself says she's the worst, she is most certainly the Best. "Why did you always poop with the stall door open?" And Shirley had a drink, do you think that would lead to more drinks for her later? Oooh man, dark timeline fooor sure.
Reply
Flag
She never drank it tho, as she was about to Troy saved to moment and everyone reached the final stage of coping with sorrow; Acceptance. I think only Annie and Jeff had a drink from the looks of it :)
Reply
Flag
the fact that she's "the worst" is what makes her the best!
Reply
Flag
Why do they have to go to summer school? They will not have to go to summer school, they were expelled. Or, its a nice excuse to make a couple of webisodes during the summer, it the series is not cancelled.

Reply
Flag
Summer school was on before they were expelled, i can only asume that they wont be allowed in to summer school before they get back in to greendale!
Reply
Flag
really weird episode... but i really liked it! Glad they didn't kill of pierce though.
Reply
Flag
Loved the episode!



To all hardcore Community watchers, I realized that Jeff is the only one of the study group, of whom I know a little background, specifically, that he ended up in CC because he lied about his degree; so, can anyone fill me in about the rest of the guys? how did Anie or Troy ended up there? what about the rest of them?
Reply
Flag
Annie got into problem with drugs and dropped out of college and went ro rehab, Troy got injured ( on purpose I believe ) and lost his scholarship, Britta I believe she dropped out in order to impress...Radiohead? I don't know something like that lol. Abed started CC to take Business Classes at his father request, Shirley did the same but because she wanted to make her business successful. And Pierce I don't know...
Reply
Flag
Thnx Shikady & thorthorsen!!

Appreciate it :D
Reply
Flag
Pierce just hangs out at the Community college for 13 years because he has nothing better to do, and atleast this way he can have some interaction with other people.
Reply
Flag
The memorial video for Starburns as the best "badly done fake on purpose" video EVER :).

I can't stop re watching it.
Reply
Flag
I'm guessing that the teacher had something to do with the meth lab. He was the science (biology) teacher and ex-con and all the equipment was "stolen" from his class. I suspect that he will be back one day:)
Reply
Flag
Watch the episode before this one and you'll see how Starburns got the key to the room. :)
Reply
Flag
I'm starting to worry a little about Pierce's sanity. From drinking ink out of pens to thinking it's the 90s then believing he's been at Greendale for 13 years, Pierce seems to be losing it this season. I kind of want to rewatch the season for more signs now.
Reply
Flag
He said at the very end of season two "You know that i've been coming to this school for 12 years, and have never been friends with anyone for more than a semester...", So the fact that he said 13 years acctually makes him a bit more sane. :P
Reply
Flag
Oh, I guess I missed that one. haha
Reply
Flag
Jeff to Britta - "You seem smarter than me when I met you"
Reply
Flag
EDISON OUT!
Reply
Flag
I have to agree with this. I was laughing so hard during this episode and nearly none of it made sense. I great big smile broke on my face when Abed referenced the timelines though. I watch Community to laugh, so I really could care less how Dan Harmon accomplishes it.
Reply
Flag
Tim you have a great idea which needs to become a reality. I BEG of you to put out a challenge to the readers of tv.com (tosh.0 style). I would love to sit through a dozen or so fan made tribute video's! Please make a challenge to the fans to create their own videos. With the following that is the "Wish I was a Greendale student" fans; I believe a lot of creativeness would be surprising. Be it sometimes in a "ohh hell no" way & some in a "wooow, hell yes!" way. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REQUEST THIS!! It was so your idea, and one guys post so wont get it to happen. So put it out there, and in time allow us to enjoy the fruits of peoples labor. Think of it as a nice Community vibe after we say goodbye to Greendale for the year.
Reply
Flag
I LOL'd a lot during this episode. I love this show seriously! Although, Starburns added some funny stuff to the show at times.. he will be [kinda] missed.
Reply
Flag
I liked this episode, despite the weird vibe I got off of it. It was mismatched, it was paced strangely, but it was funny, and that's what counts.



Jim Rash definitely shined. Well, really, a lot of the cast did. Annie's turn up at the podium was pretty awesome ("Edison out!"). Shirley was great.



This was definitely a "filler" episode, in that it was leading up to something, I think. But I liked it.
Reply
Flag
Starburns wannabe: http://bit.ly/J2EkKC
Reply
Flag
It's odd that I didn't find this episode very appealing, and yet it also felt like it ended too quickly. I guess it has to do with the last five minutes being the better part of the episode... well, except for the fairly abrupt let's-all-look-at-each-other-with-loving-eyes scene to close out the episode (again).



Anyways, the memorial tribute video to Starburns was the best part of the episode for me. The jet ski exploding during a backflip and setting Starburns feet on fire was incredible. Also, LOL... was he surfing on a shark? Awesome.
Reply
Flag
You guys, something must be wrong with my brain, I think I'm falling out of love with Community? I just didn't care for this last episode. (Please don't stone me to death!!) Maybe I had a fever like Shikady? Maybe I expect too much from the TV shows I watch? IDK.
Reply
Flag
This episode was certainly entertaining. It might seem like a hodge-podge but Hungry Homer nailed it below saying that the episode was structured around the five stages of grief. That's why we had dramatic shifts in tone and content. It's pretty impressive and hilarious throughout, and the logic gaps didn't worry me at all. Special props to the Dean who had a strong episode and whose 'walk-on' wasn't annoying for once. I loved the study room scene in the beginning as it felt like a call back to the style of earlier seasons. The Anger stage was exhilarating with once again Annie being a destructive force. It was only towards the end of the episode that I felt some of the weaker motifs of Season 3 started seeping back in. In Depression Abed's referencing Remedial Chaos Theory is akin to the incessant Inspector Spacetime references this season, being heavy handed and repetitive. And in Acceptance we went back to the googly eyes thing. Uhh I hate that, and it's not that I'm averse to sentiment, that's just such a primary school way of dealing with it. These were only small issues and I still loved this episode.
Reply
Flag
I'm dissapointed though... They didn't use MIchael K Williams enough and he didn't bring anything into the show...and now he suddenly quits...well that sucks.
Reply
Flag
Maybe it was the 39C fever I have ( I don't know what that means in Fahrenheit for our american friends who still refuse to use the metric system ), but for me it was one of the best episodes in a while...and the last couple of episodes were awesome.

I can't get enough of Chang and his ridiculous teen brigade. The Dean is getting more awesome by the episode...



And AeonAnomaly comment woah!. That would be awesome!...and possible. But Abed said the one armed lawyer had a scar on his face and Evil Jeff didn't had 1. That doesn't mean it's not him but...

The possibility of the darkest timeline going into the prime timeline...well, if Community was a Sci Fi show it would be awesome. But it's a comedy show which makes it more awesome.



WHen will community will be renewed? Season 4 for me is a sure thing because of syndication...( and it's on NBC which sucks in ratings and as I heard, because Im not following the numbers, it's the best show among 18-49 on NBC lol )I'm 99% sure it will be renewed...still it would be nice to hear the news already.
Reply
Flag
I like the episode too! The dean was hilarious as usual!

Can we all assume that if there's a season 4 the main love couple would be Britta & Troy and Jeff & Annie? 'cause everything goes to that path.

Reply
Flag
TOTALLY OFF-TOPIC ALERT!



What does everybody think of the new non-icons, like my friend, CiaraGlynn, has below? I remember them having an orange background. Now it's just a white silhouette with a light grey background. It actually has less personality, if that's possible. Methinks TV.com is incentivizing people without an icon image to get one.
Reply
Flag
I kinda like them. I found the yellow/mustard ones a bit jarring.
Reply
Flag
White and grey silhouettes, wtf! This is the darkest most terrible timeline. Your red tinge looks good though, is that to mourn the red universe?
Reply
Flag
Thank you! My alternate icon image is indeed meant as a tribute to the Red universe. I will be donning it over the weekend, at which point I'll revert back to my original Black and White.
Reply
Flag
Don't mourn too soon. I'm kinda hoping that Red AND Blue will be back for the finale +/or season 5.
Reply
Flag
Jim Rash will always win!
Reply
Flag
Did deans secretary look a lot like anna faris?
Reply
Flag
tim, this isnt season 2 by the way.
Reply
Flag
I agree with Angeland8 this episode flew by fast. When it ended I didn't think it had been a full episode. But great episode. Chang is hilarious, the little kids in riot gear was funny. But I think I liked Annie's speech the most. Mostly because it was unexpected. Dean Pelton just keeps getting better and better in each episodes. Also I am not sure how they give everyone an incomplete. I had a prof that died in a car accident and we got the grade we currently had for the whole course.



I think the group will be kicked out until the next episode. Or the episode after that. They will realize Chang is evil and call them back to rectify things.
Reply
Flag
The biggest shock of the episode was when it ended. I was so into it, I didn't realize it had been 20+ minutes. Wow.

Great job as always, Community!
1
Reply
Flag
This will be one way of ending this show for ever. Jeff gets his job back, Brita gets hired for as a journalist somewhere, Pierce retires on an island somewhere, Sherly goes back to her family, Troy, Abed and Annie go to City College. The end.
Reply
Flag
Garret needs a spin-off. Or put him on Glee to make them better haha.
Reply
Flag
You think being on Glee makes anyone BETTER???
Reply
Flag
No, but adding Garret to it might make GLEE better. Here's hoping.
Reply
Flag
Starburns: He will never die!
Reply
Flag
His name was Alex!
Reply
Flag
Same boat. I kept asking myself 'Wait, what?' And it ended so abruptly...but it's Community, and after years of meticulous plotting and in depth analisys of odd characters and ALTERNATE TIMELINES, Community deserves an episode that makes possibly no sense in anyway shape or form. It has EARNED this episode. And it OWNED it, too.
Reply
Flag
I have to admit, I needed to watch the episode twice to really get into it. The first time I watched it, I wasn't feeling too good (which made the chaotic structure of the episode seem even worse), and missed what the writers were actually going for in terms of the episode's structure (going through the 5 stages of grief), and only learned about it by reading somebody's post on another website. Because of this, I came out of the episode feeling it was not only bad for a Community episode, it was simply a bad episode. Thankfully, after rewatching it a second time, I have a much better appreciation for what the writers did with this episode. I wouldn't say it was one of my favorite episodes, but I did think they handled the different stages of grief very well, and there were quite a few great jokes throughout. I'm looking forward to seeing where the writers go in the next few episodes (especially in the 3 episodes on May 17). We have at least two big confrontations to come, against Chang and against the Vice Dean, so it looks like we're in for an eventful conclusion to the season.
More+
Reply
Flag
It wasn't clear to me til now that the episode was structured around the stages of grief, but I totally see it now. Thanks.
Reply
Flag
I also laughed my ass off on this one, I accidentally deleted it off the DVR and immediately rued the day (I deleted it because 30 Rock was at the tail end and I wasn't thinking - man did that show suck hard).



That GIF of the Dean will haunt my nightmares Tim!
Reply
Flag
I didn't think episode was quite as great. The mismatched hodgepodge just didn't work as well for me.
Reply
Flag
Gotta admit this episode was abit of mess :p
Reply
Flag
I was a bit disappointed that the upside down writing on Jeff's book in the first scene was no secret message... I took a snapshot and rotated it haha .. Well, it's Community, you never know!
Reply
Flag
But you have to love that Troy had his book up side down, old joke but still a classic.
Reply
Flag
The Reason they would just cancel the biology class is only because greendale doesn't have the money to support finding another teacher and sadly it seems poor enough to not afford a substitute. although I haven't seen the past few episodes so I don't know if that has changed at all
Reply
Flag
Why didn't they just get John Oliver to fill in like for Betty White. Not that I'm complaining.
Reply
Flag
"Come on Ei-dean, oh my hands are so clean..."

I nearly died.
Reply
Flag
Loved it! I'm really hoping that the darkest timeline comes into play in the season finale. I need more evil Abed!

Reply
Flag
Pretty sure that wish will come true...a lot of images for the final episodes hint at the return of Evil Abed.
Reply
Flag
Evil Troy and Evil Abed!
Reply
Flag
In the evening. Because they're evil.
Reply
Flag
Y'all are awesome.
Flag
I would just like to point out, Starburn's lawyer was one armed, same arm Dark Jeff lost.
Reply
Flag
Wouldn't abed recognise him though?
Reply
Flag
Maybe not. He might have been wearing the felt beard Evil Abed gave him.
Reply
Flag
i think your on to something
Reply
Flag
Whoa. Good catch. The Greendale Seven from the darkest timeline are finding their way back?
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook