Community wielded the longsword of comedy +3 with masterful proficiency last night, rollin' 20s over and over and making saving throws like it was Drizzt Do'Urden incarnate. "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" was easily the best episode so far of solid second season, and another showcase for creator Dan Harmon's creativity—not to mention his ability to make his vision happen without the benefit of a budget full of gold pieces and booty.
I was in tears four or five times during the episode (that's a record), and the show particularly wrung out my eyeballs during the lovely love scene (.gif below) in which adorable Annie graphically described the seduction between her character, Hector the Well-Endowed, and the beautiful elf maiden guarding a flock of Pegasi.
Community wasn't just on fire last night, it pierced my flame-resistant Plate Armor of Snobbery and incinerated my soul 'til I was a pile of ash. And it did so with the simplest of means, making it all the more impressive. The MVPs of the episode were the editors, who spun a tale of epic adventure with the characters hardly leaving the study room (bottle episode!). The corny fantasy flutes, the whizz of arrows, and cheesy maps may not have had the panache of "Modern Warfare"'s action sequences, but "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" proved that less is more in creating what could very well be Community's best episode to date.
I really can't say enough about this episode. Abed was picture-perfect as the rule-abiding dungeon master, Britta played the game exactly how we'd have expected her to, and Pierce became a live-action Eric Cartman—a despicable outsider on the fringe of the core group who's prone to drunken bouts of power and nasty behavior just because he feels left out. Community's characters have become so well-developed that the series is able to throw them into ridiculous situations in a ridiculous world... and it works.
... Britta defending the goblins' rights; Annie and Shirley's reaction.
... Chang turning in his character sheet after he's beheaded by Pierce (video below).
... Troy saying "Bing Bong the Archer."
... Pierce making every roll, allowing him to be Pierce the Dickish.
... Abed speaking Gnome, and Britta trying to boost his Gnome confidence.
... Annie's love scene. Hubba hubba. "I gently cup her right breast... I pull out my huge member..." Lip-reading pays off in this scene.
... Also, nice shout out to Chinese New Year in the closing bumper.
Community is the most escapist comedy on network television at the moment, preferring the divinely silly over any real connection to our worldall while winking at hipsters, nerds, and pop-culture aficionados alike. In that sense, its Breakfast Club-ish band of outsiders theme has actually been turned on its head, and the show has become an inclusive comedy that welcomes any and all viewers—unlike, say, 30 Rock which caters to the self-professed highbrow, or Two and a Half Men, which is a favorite of the flyover states. Community's strength lies in its eschewing of sitcom tropes and fearlessness of trying new things. Well that, and being brutally funny.
Episode grade: A++++++++++++infinity
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom