Community S05E03: "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics"

It's nice to know that Community isn't afraid to go high-concept so early in Season 5 after the first two episodes delicately reestablished Dan Harmon's return with safer episodes to get the series back on track. It's also nice that the human body's greatest source of humor—the derriere, the rump, the booty, the tuckus, the posterior, the badonkadonk, the caboose, the BUTT—got its time in the sun. "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics" was a VERY funny episode of Community, and what more can you ask for?

I'd love to leave this review at "This episode was really funny" and call it a day and get on with the rest of my work, butt but this is Community, and we tend to ask for a lot from this show. And because Community is a very different kind of television show, we often have no choice butt but to compare it to itself. In that sense, "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics" was a pretty good Community spoof, butt but it lacked a character story to anchor it to the rest of the season, in contrast to other Community parody episodes like "Pillows & Blankets," "Critical Film Studies," and "Contemporary American Poultry." Don't get me wrong, I loved the episode and I wish I could British high-five it, butt but it's my job to raise discussion points, and that's what I'm trying to do here. 


Jeff and Annie were at the center of this episode, which took shots at a whole genre rather than a specific film. Serial-killer and crime dramas from both film and television were put through the Greendale wringer, with specific jabs at David Fincher's Zodiac, Seven, and even The Social Network (Shirley's kids acapella'ing Radiohead's "Creep" stood out). Butt but if Abed's DVR was any indication, The Bridge and Hannibal were in Community's sights, too. And because there was rain, why not include The Killing as well? Basically any show or movie or book or tweet about people chasing down a killer, specifically those with a sexually tense male-female detective duo, was fair game here, and you know what? GOOD. That genre has overstayed its welcome and oversaturated our lives to the point of exhaustion. (Except maybe Hannibal, that show is rad.) And "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics"—while I wish the writers had gone with an easier-to-type title like "Intro to Butt Banking"—pointed out all their cliches and mocked their style.

Butt but I'm wondering how the Jeff-and-Annie thing played out in this. As the episode made a point of emphasizing, those two do occasionally run off together and make eyes at each other. It's natural—as it should be when they both look like like they do—butt but Community has always struggled with romance within the group. One of Community's greatest strengths is its sense of friendship and the struggles that come with maintaining relationships, and while obvious sexual tension between two characters is good for a laugh—Jeff and Britta is still the best example of this because of all the permutations—it never really works when it feels forced, *ahem Troy and Britta*. And in this episode, Jeff and Annie felt forced. The best relationship on this show is clearly between Troy and Abed, and unless there's something going on in those bunks that I don't know about, it's strictly platonic and takes advantage of Community's keen sense of innocence.


There was also a sudden bombshell dropped on us: Pierce is DEAD. It kind of came out of nowhere, butt but because Season 5 is only 13 episodes long, it's all part of condensing things. Pierce's death is also instrumental in one of the character's arcs coming up, so in retrospect, I think you'll find it works. Butt but oh my god they killed Pierce! Those bastards!

As a whole, "Intro to Butt Banking" was one of Community's funniest outings. The jokes were outstanding (especially the ones about butts, teehee), and they were amplified by the overall spoofiness of the episode. There were also so many little hilarious details that are just waiting to be discovered in second, third, and fiftieth viewings, like all the sub-headlines in the newspaper-y intro, or the various props hanging on the walls of Greendale's halls and Duncan's office. This goth-y "I Am Greendale" flyer was one of my favorites: 


Butt but most of all I respect the effort that goes into these concept episodes. Just think about how much work goes into completely changing the directing style, camera filters, title sequences, and everything else to make these episode pop (pop). I'm in awe. The crew behind Community clearly knows that it takes everyone giving it their all to pull off these dramatic transformations, and they do it because they too know the show is special. Outstanding stuff, and there should be no doubt left in anyone's mind that Community has returned to its best form in Season 5 with Butt Harmon back.



STUDY NOTES

– If I really wanted to be a jerk, I'd say there was a little polish left off the Ass-Crack Bandit story, since it was left incomplete. Butt but that would be silly, because that's a direct knock on the genre the episode was spoofing, the ol' "HE'S STILL OUT THERE!!!" ending after we thought the culprit had been apprehended.

– This kind of felt like the spiritual successor to Community's Law & Order spoof "Basic Lupine Urology," didn't it? And next week's episode, "Cooperative Polygraphy," is a spiritual successor to the outstanding "Cooperative Calligraphy," the bottle episode about Annie's pen.

– Honestly, there were way too many funny parts to list here, butt but "What are you gonna do, not have butts?" might be the best and deserves a shout-out. 

– Abed as Will Graham/Poppy Montgomery's character from Unforgettable checking out a crime scene: "I see a man... using a social disorder as a procedural device. Wait, wait, wait, I see another man. Mildly autistic superdetectives everywhere... basic cable, broadcast networks... pain, PAINful writing. It hurts." YES. And YES again.

– Reverse Chang. Holy shit. What?

– Excellent framing here:

– Geez, AND Dave Matthews? So much awesomeness in this episode. And Duncan saying he met the entire band except Dave was great.

– If any member of the group was suited to become a victim of the Ass-Crack Bandit, it was Troy. He was so good under those blankets.

– Like most heterosexual males, I really wish Annie had reached down for those keys. Butt but what she did instead was really, really funny.

– We've got a real dilemma here. What is Garrett's catchphrase now? "ASS-CRACK BANDIT!" Or is it "CRISIS ALERT!"? I think I'm sticking with "Crisis Alert."

– How do I get the "Ass-Crack Bandit" song on my iTunes? Maybe Ben Folds, who wrote it (and also guest-starred as the botany professor who "bolted," yuk yuk yuk) will release it as a single? In the meantime, I've transcribed the lyrics for your convenience: "It said quarter to five, but it was quarter to ass, you thought your plumbing was safe, but your jeans were half-mast. Another coin down the drain, now that's some change that won't last." And the second part! "25 cents at a time, he's taking our souls. Government men can't help, we're all alone. Are you feeling a breeze, did you pull your belt tight? You know that it's wrong, you know that it's right. [CHORUS] Out of the shadows, down the coin goes. Why oh why, do you suppose? Only the bandit knows. WHOA-OH-OH-OH, WHOA-OH-OH-OH! A-S-S-C-R-A-C-K Bandit! WHOA-OH-OH-OH, WHOA-OH-OH-OH! A-S-S-C-R-A-C-K Bandit!" 



Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 6/2/2015

Season 6 : Episode 13

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&That; genre has overstayed its welcome and oversaturated our lives to the
&point; of exhaustion.

Actually I've never seen a single one of the shows or movies you mention in that paragraph. :-) Don't know anything about Dave Matthews either, so this stuff hasn't oversaturated my life and the spoofing really didn't do much for me.

I believe the "Pierce is dead" line is a callback to the very episode you mentioned, "Basic Lupine Urology". In that crime parody episode we got the sudden reveal that "Starburns is dead". In this crime parody episode it's revealed to the group that Starburns is alive and then we get the "Pierce is dead" shocker.


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"As a whole, "Intro to Butt Banking" was one of Community's funniest outings."

I'm baffled by this opinion. Truly. The Law and Order spoof worked well because they were lambasting a very specific show with very specific tropes that extended beyond it. This one didn't have a specific target in mind. Poking at general tropes, getting all serious with an utterly ridiculous mystery....but there was no character humor, no central hook, no reason to give a crap. However good they were with the gritty shooting and style, the content didn't work. I didn't laugh, I didn't smile even as I got the overall joke they were going for. It was objectively one of the worst episodes of the whole show. And you call it one of the funniest.

But then, you were the same one trashing on some of the few good episodes from last season, so I'm not surprised at this point.
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I just watched the episode and I'm with you... it was just "meh" and just seemed like it stitched together an almost random set of spoofs and gags with no payoff at the end either. I only laughed once thanks to Dean Pelton and the scene in which they get a phone call from the Bandit.
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great episode Tim! love it, but the way they kill off Pierce is weird! all of the sudden, i think they want to make us believe he's dead so they can surprise us maybe by the last episode of the season or something like that

i mean, he appeared on the second episode of the season, nice cameo and on the next episode he's dead, i'm not buying it
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I honestly didn't really like this one. I just spent the entire time thinking "this is really weird. In a stupid way." Occasional laughs, mostly at Chang.

However, Duncan AND Starburns! Hooray!
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Where does season 4 fit into our (as fan's) mantra of 'six seasons and a movie'? Considering a lot of fans pretend season 4 didn't happen we would presumably have to get to 7 instead. lol
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So I can't help but think you are a little bit biased here regarding Dan Harmon. IMO we had some good episodes in season 4 and this one wasn't all that.
They did the exact same mistakes they highlighted in the seasons beginning(about just having superficial characters). And they offered a lot of possible funny and human moments to keep up their really not so funny parody of the genre. I found this episode rather boring. Dunkin came to the save though.
Maybe I just can't see the butt humor as that funny. Sure it was good in the beginning, but focusing a whole episode on that(not to speak how incredibly low the stakes were here...I know that is supposed to be funny, but why would I care? If they pulled the prank on Jeff and not on Troy, kind of like a personal back story maybe it would have worked better.)
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*offed
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Watched the episode again, I missed the "Fountain Pooper caught" in the opening credits when Annie is going through her newspaper clippings. hilarious

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After watching the first minute and seeeing it was so blueish, I download the episode again (still legal here in Holland), only to find out it was part of the set-up. Loved it when I realised how it was used.
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This was amazing!!!!!
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I agree with all the gushing, so I'll just say one thing that brought me joy - Professor Duncan is back!!! I am so on board with John Oliver being in season 5, as a more constant fixture! DANGER!!!
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Ive always liked the idea of Jeff and Britta ending up together. As for the Jeff/Annie thing, it was cute at first, now, not so much.
Maybe an Abed, Annie and Rachel love triangle? LOL
Or how about bringing back Simmons and exploring the Annie/Simmons relationship. Anyone but Jeff.
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Jeff and Annie felt forced because they were forced to face it, and then not really do anything about it. I'm fine with that, they really don't need to go anywhere with it, it's not a positive storyline with Jeff being old enough to be her dad, so they just mooch feelings off each other.

For me, the spoof element worked really well, it allowed for characters to move away from each other for a little while and still make sense within the framework, I enjoyed the hell out of this episode.

Duncan's office is my favorite bit, the Rorschach inkblot of the nude woman was a great little touch.

I have to give mad props to the Dean for playing against stereotype and still working quite well.

Reverse Chang thankfully didn't haunt my nightmares, but I'm not sure how, that was friggin batshit crazy.

Tim showing off the Rule of Thirds on that framing shot.

Ben Folds' song was really awesome.

I like things.
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I was under the impression that the real reason Jeff and Annie have a hard time being together was because of their differing views towards life. However, the fact is that on any other show, the two of them would be together by now.
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Forced, but as part of the very trope they were making fun of, it was perfect here and I believe every forced moment was totally planned and not just a mistake in the writing which was so pitch perfect everywhere else in that episode.
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The 'I Am Greendale' poster was my favourite as well. For some reason, I could not stop laughing, to the point I actually paused and had to go back.
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"Pierce's death is also instrumental in one of the character's arcs coming up" OMG Does Pierce leave a bunch of money to Troy and that's why he leaves?
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Did the line, "It touched my butts mouth" get pulled? I saw it in the trailer, but can't remember it in the episode.
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I was thinking the same thing. It makes me sad. Funny line.
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I was worried about this season after watching the first 2 eps. Weak, IMO.

But, this one put my fears to rest. We're BACK, BABY!

I mostly picked up on the L&O parodies. Did not realize it was spoofing multiple shows/movies. SWEET.

I did not like the abrupt ("just stick it in there, anywhere and let's be done with Chevy Chase, forever") announcement.

Loved Abed with the blankets and water. REALLY loved Troy as the traumatized victim.

Great job by all.
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Agreed... This episode reminds us why we hated (or at least disliked) most of season 4.. This was really really funny.

Btw Tim, I am surprised. You didn't mention Starburns in your review. Not even a fleeting mention
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Watching this episode I was feeling like watching season 4. Was very similar to me.
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This episode was hilarious!!! the Ass Crack Bandit is on a supervillain status. I have a feeling that it's Abed. I better be alert at my campus in case there are some Ass Crack Bandit enthusiasts out there.
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Brilliant! Dan Harmon showing how all these shows in the states follow the one fomulae to hook mindless zombies to watch every week! He is a genius and so glad community is back!!!!!! (Season 4 did not happen - Season 4 DID NOT HAPPEN)
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If season 4 didn't happen then this would be season 4 and it apparently didn't happen.......

(going for a lie down) lol
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I don't watch alot of what they were doing parodies of but still loved it. My only gripe is the whole 'shortcut through the faculty lounge (20 mins/ 10 mins)' thing that led Annie to believe it was a teacher.

But hell, this is Community, if it made sense then it wouldn't be Greendale!
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My only disappointment so far this season is the underuse of Troy. Some of my favorite moments from this episode:
  • “This is the biggest PR crisis to hit Greendale since we held that rally protesting the wrong Korea.”
  • "At the time of the first cracking he was chaperoning Greendale's Science Dance. The student that attended can vouch for him."
  • “I used an older, British form of Facebook called Mugscroll.”
  • “If you’re listening, Pierce, you’re a hell of a D&D player. Time to level up.”
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Well, get used to it. He's only in 6 eps, and then he's gone. His choice, so he could focus on his music. (sigh)
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I know! (Actually, 5 eps, I believe.) That's why I thought they would use him more.
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Another way to think about it is easing him out, rather than risking withdrawals by going cold turkey! :)
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-ASS-CRACK BRITTA BANDIT (anyone else catch that?)
-Annie picking up her keys was hilarious, as was reverse-Chang. "This extra large churro sure tastes good in my real mouth"
-Troy-"because a camera in the bathroom..is better than a quarter in your butt.."
-"cuz what are you gonna do, not have butts?" hahaha
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I thought this episode was terrible. It relied way too much on a parody that didn't really click with me, probably due to the fact I dropped most the these serial killer/crime thriller shows BECAUSE of the over saturation. I am going to use "Epidemiology 101" to compare because I also don't watch a lot of horror movies, but it was general enough to be known and also had jokes on top of the parody. I'm glad Dan Harmon is back but one of my least favorite parodies was the Shawshank Redemption one in season 4 because it felt forced. This episode also did not feel organic and seemed to be trying a little too hard so early in the season.
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That's how I felt about "basic lupine urology". All it did to me was to remind me of all the things I hate in procedurals. I liked this better, but I thought it was just OK, not great. I did however love the title, "basic intergluteal numismatics". I had to google "numismatics", but I think that only made it funnier.
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I loved, loved this episode, and I know it's been said like a zillion times by now, but it feels just like before. I don't remember a funnier episode since season 3. I swear, when I heard "What are you gonna do, not have butts?" I just couldn't stop laughing.
Every episode, and every overreacted action of Troy make feel worst about Troy leaving. I truly love that character, and thinking he's just leaving in a few episode makes me really sad.
I'd like to say a few things about the Jeff & Annie aspect of this episode though. But before doing so, I apologize in advance for my future grammar and spelling mistakes, English is not my first language.
I've read most of your Community's review and I know you don't actually like any of the romantics couple on the show, which is completely fine. However I think you're watching this episode in the wrong way or may be we're just looking at it froma different point of view.
Dan Harmon has said he really doesn't like having romantics relationships in show, because it destroys the show's dynamic, many people could agree with that concept. However Harmon him self has also said that he can't deny that romance exist in real life and just pretending that it doesn't it would be stupid. I think the Jeff/Annie of this episode was him trying of admit that. It's been five seasons since those 2 characters have been getting closer to each other, closer than to the rest of the group I may say. But because of the show writters decision to "not having romance inside the study group" that relationship has stayed froozen in the "friend who stare at each other" zone. What this episode intenden, in my opinion, was admitting that by having the Dean and the ACB ask them :"What is this?" which lead to the characters (at least Annie) to admitt that may be there's was something more, there's a reason why everybody look at them so suspicious when they say they're just friends. That's it. I don't think it implied they'll get together or something like that.

I don't know, this is way longer than I intended it to be. I don't even know if my point was clear.

Again, sorry for any gramma/spelling mistake.

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Happy to hear Pierce's death is more than just writing him off the show. That was my one gripe with the episode.
Also I just realized we only have two more episodes with Troy. Now I'm sad. Anyone got blankets and styrofoam cups?
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Reverse Chang for the win!!!
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I did a Community test. My brother has no clue of anything about Community. We just watched all of Community before new season started and it was his first time watching. He hated season 4, kept saying something is off, the show isn't like the other seasons. Didn't say a word to him about Dan Harmon till after last night's' episode when he told me this season so far is way better then season 4. So glad Harmon is back where he belongs
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Something similar happened to me. A classmate started watching the show this summer and she was totally in love with it, but when she got to S4 she stop watching "because it wasn't good like the previous seasons", then I told about the Dan Harmon issue and that she should totally watch S5. She did it, and guess what, she loved it.
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Troy's victim personification was on point! He made me laugh so much!
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And Ben Folds wrote the song. At least that's what he tweeted.
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Ben Folds's tweet wasn't in the article when I read it the first time, was it? So I smell toast? Did I have a stroke?
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Oh crap! I swear I just cracked that joke about stokes & toast to my buddy not two days ago XD Do you remember where it came from? it's gonna drive me nuts for the rest of the day if I don't figure it out
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I think it's a real thing, isn't it? Sometimes people smell burnt toast when having a stroke. I've heard it lots of times.
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Maybe that's true. I honestly don't know. All I know is whenever I smell something unexplainable, no matter where I am, I blurt out "I SMELL TOAST!" & walk away.
Some people give me weird looks when I do it, but I'm strong enough a personalty to where I don't really care enough to care about how those looks, look at me ::shrug::
I'm self-employed, so I have the luxury of being able to always run on the general philosophy of 'Sometimes people just have to be effed with.'
What I really need is a partner in crime that would be unafraid to drape a towel over me so I could pretend to walk off stage exausted like James Brown before jumping back & screaming HEIEIEIEI!! into the proverbial mic.
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Did the line, "It touched my butts mouth" get pulled? I saw it in the trailer, but can't remember it in the episode.
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Abed: "Are we including the gas leak year."

The biggest rallying cry of season 4 Community apologists was something I like to call the Firing effect. While the majority of Community fans were vehemently lamenting the agonizing death throes of what used to be the best comedy on TV (admittedly, some more than others... what? My rape joke was much more tasteful than Harmon's) others were just as passionately claiming that none of us would have noticed or detected a difference if we didn't watch it under the bias of knowing Dan Harmon was fired. The argument being that if a casual Community fan watched the first 4 seasons without any behind the scenes knowledge, they would have applauded "Intro to Felt Surrogacy" just as much as "Basic Lupine Urology".

The show was just as good, they said. A Harmon-less Community is still better than 99% of TV comedies out there, they said. Enjoy the show for what it is and STOP COMPLAINING, they said and said and said.

Well, I think it's about time we call bullshit on that whole narrative.

The show was NOWHERE NEAR as good. A Harmon-less Community was no more funny than a dozen other vapid comedies out there. And if diehard fans didn't voice their anger and frustration, as loudly and as often as possible, this gift of having Harmon back for another season may have never come to pass.

So... SUCK IT, APOLOGISTS!

I truly hope after watching these first three episodes of the 5th season we can all agree the Firing effect had about as much validity as a case of Changnesia (it's bitingly ironic how much I wish I could forget that term).

Harmon is back! Community is back! And my constant Community complaining is gone!

(Sayonara, bitterness! Hola, fanboy gushing!)

It should come as little to no surprise that I freakin' loved "Basic Intergluteal Nurismatics". Maybe I'm still in the honeymoon phase of Harmon's return. Maybe I've lost my objectivity. Maybe the "sandwich I ate" had something to do with it (WOO, Colorado!). All I can tell you is I laughed more during last nights episode than during the entirety of the "gas leak" year (such an appropriate descriptive device).

One of the things that I felt went largely unnoticed during the 4th season was the change in lighting. It was subtle, but it was there. Just an ever so slightly brighter and more colourful picture. Then there was the music. Largely upbeat notes that often seemed unnatural in their timing.

I know this was a parody episode but the improvement in these areas could not have been more prevalent. From the bluish/greenish grey hues to Radiohead's "Creep" performed by Shirley's sons, the Community I know and love was once again firing on all cylinders.

It's also the little things that let you know Harmon is back. I actually took the time to pause and read those newspaper clippings from the beginning of the episode. It's crazy but they were actually fully written and cogent articles with nary a spelling mistake to be found. Talk about attention to detail.

But, of course, when it comes right down to it, it's the writing that make Dan Harmon (and Chris McKenna) television geniuses.

Dean: "Abed, you're special, can't you just stand at the scene of the crime and see what happened?"

Abed: "I see a man... using a social disorder as a procedural device. Wait, wait, wait, I see another man. Mildly autistic, super detectives everywhere, basic cable, broadcast networks, pain, painful writing. It hurts."


Haha! One of my favourite parts of the episode.

I love that Community is Community again for all the reasons I listed, but the main reason I'm so happy to have Harmon back is because with his return the fans got more than a show runner. We got our study group back. Jeff, Annie, Troy and Abed, Britta and Shirley were absent for the 4th season. Shadows of their former selves. Voiceless without their creator. But I must say the frustration of that 4th season has made the beginning of this 5th season all the more sweeter.

Abed: "Are we including the gas leak year."

Not anymore, Abed. Not anymore.

STUDY NOTES:

- Why the hell is it so wrong for Jeff and Annie to have feelings for each other? In season one he was 30 and she was 18. Okay, that's a little creepy. But now she's 23 and he's 35. The age difference is basically a non-factor now. Hook them up, Harmon!

- Troy didn't have a huge role in this episode, but everything he did killed me! Looking through the shades in the study room, the sound he made when he got "cracked", his victimized demeanour and that beautiful slap. I think I'm going to cry when his 6 episodes are up.

- RIP, Pierce. I will say something innocuously racist in your honour.

- If you haven't seen David Fincher's "Zodiac", go watch it. You'll definitely appreciate "Basic Intergluteal Nurismatics" a lot more.

- Looking forward to commenting on the rest of the season!

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You even got @TimSpot out of his hiding to give you a thumbs up. That's a sign of quality and I completely agree. Love that you're back and writing comments again, they are at least as much quality as the professional reviewers here. Keep it up!
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Wow, thanks! I'm honored. Coaxing the elusive TimSpot out of the dark (yet brilliant) corner of the internet he inhabits is the ultimate TV.com goal. :)
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Yeah, I know :-). About a month ago he mentioned me and a post I had made in a review and I'm still not sure how I will ever top that moment. These days I'm usually just sitting and waiting for new creative insights, but having you around again made me realise how unrealistic is has become :-).
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ugh... here we go again. the love for Harmon is just disproportional people. blind adoration has clearly affected your objectivity. season 4 shows you poop on a stick its poop on a stick. if Dan Harmon shows you poop on a stick he's a genious.
just to be clear i am not saying Harmon is not the best fit for this show nor am i saying season 4 was on par with the rest of the series. because clearly it was not.
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Ah, there you are! Dan Harmon's poop would at least have good dialogue.
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I was pretty upset to hear about Harmon leaving, but after the scene where Britta did a rope swing to keep Abed from finding out, I laughed so hard I peed a little. That helped me loosen up and enjoy season 4 for what it was. It definitely had it's moments, and I disagree with people who claim it wasn't funny. It WAS funny, but so is How I Met Your Mother. It just wasn't inspired anymore. Glad to say that Dan the Man is back. And FF, I've been reading your comments since Fringe was firing on all cylinders. It's always a pleasure reading your comments.
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Get out of my brain!
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Never!
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You are the Dan Harmon of TV.com commenting.
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I'm sure the real Dan Harmon would form some brilliant yet offensive and inappropriate reply, but I'll just say thank you. Seriously, thank you. Any comparison to Dan Harmon is a compliment of the highest order.
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"A Harmon-less Community is still better than 99% of TV comedies out there"

That's still true though. Anything with Alison Brie in it is better than the other 99%. ;)

But you are absolutely right. Season 4 simply was not funny, and for a comedy show that is a serious problem. But it's worse than that. Some storylines have been ruined. f.e. Now Harmon can never do an episode where Jeff meets his father, because they already did that.

Community is back! and for the first time in a long time I'm not afraid to say:
SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!
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*drool* Alison Brie *drool* ...

Yeah, I heard Harmon wanted to get Bill Murray to play Jeff's dad, but now that can never happen. Damn you, season 4!
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Sorry about this. But I up voted for the first part of your comment about "Harmon-less Community is still better than 99% of TV comedies out there" but I disagree with a lot of the rest. It wasn't 'Community funny' but I still found humor in it!

It has picked up immensely though!
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That episode brought back great memories and laughter.
And
Troy is Troy again, Thank GOD.
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Hear hear!
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Once again, after reading one of your posts, I feel like you've perfectly summarized my own opinion, and phrased it much better that I ever could. I can kind of see where the people who say that we are blinded by Dan Harmon's departure may be coming from, but that's only if you don't take the episodes themselves into consideration. As I've said before, I do feel like I'm on the lesser end of the "season 4 haters," since there were a few episodes I mildly enjoyed (stressing the word "mildly"), more so than other season 4 haters, but I do hate what they did to the show overall. The writing and the characters took a huge hit in that season, and even the best episode (Jim Rash's episode) was still not quite up to the standard of Dan Harmon's Community.

Now that we do have Dan Harmon back, it's so easy to see the quality that he brings with him, which made me fall in love with this show. Honestly, I wouldn't say any of these three would be among my favorite episodes, but that says much more about my love for the show (at least the Dan Harmon seasons) than it does for these episodes, because each one of them were very enjoyable in their own way. But more importantly, they were all funny. Even in the first episode, which focused less on having actual laugh-out-loud moments than it did on re-establishing the characters, and giving them each good, dramatic reasons to re-enroll in Greendale, ended up making me laugh a lot more than the 4th season did as a whole.
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Thanks, HH! But I can tell you from reading many of your insightful comments you have absolutely no problem phrasing your own opinion.

As for Community, it took me about 2 minutes into the first episode of the 5th season to know that Harmon had brought the magic back. How did I know? I laughed.
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Thanks. Though I wasn't really putting my own posts down, I just meant that your posts tend to be on a whole other level. :P

"How did I know? I laughed."

I've been thinking about this a lot since season 5 started, and I think this is the best way to explain how I feel about this: In the Dan Harmon seasons, I don't really think that every episode necessarily needs to be filled with laugh-out-loud moments because usually when an episode is not as funny, it's because they're focusing on another aspect of the show. It could be focusing on character drama, or on having an awesome parody of a certain genre, which the show does just as well as the comedy. But even when they focus more on those aspects, there's still usually enough solid jokes that it doesn't feel like they've completely abandoned the comedic core of the show. Season 4, on the other hand, always seemed like it was focusing on the comedy, even within its concept episodes, but they always failed miserable. I think that's why I liked Jim Rash's episode the most out of season 4's episodes, because not only did it come the closest to having decent humor out of all the episodes, it was also an episode that didn't necessarily need to be funny, because it had a good emotional core, as well as the best parody of the season, by far.
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Sorry. Believe it or not I have a hard time taking compliments. I've always been self-conscious about my writing and every time you guys like what I have to write I'm a bit surprised (I've actually discarded entire written comments out of fear they weren't good enough). I was bullied and put down a lot as a kid and developed a nasty knack for depreciating my abilities, so whenever I sense someone might be doing the same thing, I tend to chime in with a spot of positive reinforcement. Apologies again.

*Ahem*

Onto lighter topics...

I've done my fair share of pondering on the disaster that was the 4th season, as well, and I believe comedy to a certain extent needs to be rooted in truth. That truth can be embellished, exaggerated and contorted to fit the needs of the show, but that seed of truth has to be in there somewhere. A funny story based in truth is always funnier than one that is completely fabricated. Dan Harmon brought truth to his characters by imbuing all of them with a piece of himself. His insecurities, his eccentricities, his egocentricities. So when he was fired they effectively removed the soul of the show. They removed that seed of truth and it killed the genuineness of what made us laugh in the first place...

*Ahem* (part 2)

Well, there's my weirdly philosophical take on Community, Dan Harmon and comedy in general. Just know I was *this* close to deleting the whole thing and just giving you a thumbs up.
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Well said. You're hired!
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Thanks! I just gotta say your Helix review was inspirational. Especially the focus on cinematography. I don't know if you'll ever read this, but responding to a comment you left seemed like the best bet.
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Kiss-ass butt
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Love that poll's options, and loved the episode surprisingly a lot. It was an odd use of pacing and tonal shifts, but it held up quite well, even the Pierce element. And nice to see some depth in Britta again, there was some level of meaning "behind" it all.

Best thing though was the return of John Oliver's Professor Duncan, loved his Rorschach inkblot of a '70s style porno mag gal, little touches like that really make this show pop.
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I had missed the gal, went back and saw it. Magnificent! So many beautiful small details.
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Oh my how delightful it is to have Dan Harmon back. Best episode in years. Now we might really get 6 season and a movie :-)
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If they continue to explore the aftermath of Pierce's death, I wonder if we'll be seeing the return of his brother, and have a Gus Fring/Mike Ehrmantraut reunion.
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Ben Folds cameo. the cat-powered car. the reverse chang. the zodiac parody. Return of Starburns. By far, best episode in years.
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Welcome back, best comedy show on TV! Perfect episode of a perfect show. Love you, Community. Forever and ever.
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Was Dan Harmon taking a crack AT HANNIBAL!?!? The man truly is fucking nuts. The Bridge I get it, it was a very dysfunctional first season and ended up being just another cop show. But fucking Hannibal!? Not cool.
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I thought it was supposed to be more indicative of a culprit 'erasing the evidence' as it were....
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Each of those scenes were trying to hint at the respective characters possibly being the Butt Crack Bandit. I don't think it was so much saying that Hannibal isn't worth being saved on the DVR, but rather deleting any shows that could be seen to have given him the idea of the "attacks," while also showing that he's pretty skillful with coins (showing him flipping the coins between his fingers).
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It is entirely possible I misrepresented that scene. From my perspective Abed's previous dialogue of "I see a man, using a social disorder as a procedural device. Wait, wait, wait. I see another man. Mildly autistic super-detectives everywhere. Basic Cable (FX), broadcast networks (NBC), pain... painful writing. It hurts" combined with him erasing The Bridge, Hannibal and some other show, was him getting rid of this "painful" writing. Perhaps you are right and I got it wrong, or it could be a mixture of both.
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I can easily understand why you would put the two together. That actually could be what he was going for. However, I feel like it was a comment of that trope as a whole, and not just the two that he put at the end of the episode. I guess we may never know for sure, unless it's mentioned in a commentary or something. Either way, insult or homage, I'm still happy to see such a great show referenced on Community.
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Since there's no possible way Hannibal could be construed as "painful" writing, it's gotta be homage.
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@Hungry_Homer111
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BACK to FORM. Loved!!
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So Harmon killed Pierce, he must be glad that Chevy Chase is gone so much he killed his character.
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As shown in a post by @Grumpyclown before, the answer can be found in this article.
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Conceivably they could easily bring him back. Pierce is the type that would fake his death for any number of reasons. Mostly reasons in his head. However that doesn't mean they can't bring him back for any number of reasons.
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He cared enough to get him to do the Cameo in the premiere. Besides, characters who die in Community rarely seem to stay dead.
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Quite a weak episode for me. Didn't liked it much. And it felt pretty season 4, despite Harmon spending his time bashing season 4.
PS: not a fan of Annie's new wardrobe :D :p
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I loved Annie picking up keys off the floor.
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Dean calling it creepy that Jeff and Annie create scenarios to be together. Annie is like 23 on the show now, really shouldn't be considered creepy anymore. Also, loved the episode, glad they established the set up quickly and can now get into all the fun.
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It's not so much about the age difference than the fact that they act so creepy about spending time together, having to create scenarios and mysteries mere to 'hold hands in the dark' etc.... I think nobody would bat an eye if they just hooked up already. Not maintained some platonic, almost childlike innocent charade about their relationship.
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Yes!
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Hopefully they use this episode as a wakeup call to stop playing games and finally admit to their feelings. Jeff is certainly denying things, to the point of protesting far too hard. Please let them get together by the end of the season!
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Also, I love the fact that Abed watches Hannibal. :P
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Seems to me he deleted the Hannibal Pilot and its second episode. Same goes for The Bridge and one other show.
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Yeah, probably after watching them. I saw it as him 'erasing the evidence' rather than disliking the show(s).
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This show feels like having two shots of Absinthe with some good weed :)
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There was more creative writing in the ep than in season 4 lol

Great to have Dunacan back!

The show is on a roll this season. I really hope we get sixseasonsandamovie!
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I really wish that I had a better remark than to say community is really back (especially since that's the thought on everybody's mind and comments) but that was the first thought I had watching this episode.

Glad to have sideburns and Duncan back. For a while I thought the bandit would be Professor Slater. That would be an interesting twist. But the anti-climatic ending was also interesting.

Loved the Leonard moment and how they mentioned the Jeff/Annie thing.

About Pierce that felt weird but at least gave some sort of closure.

Just like the episode I'll end it without closure as I have nothing noteworthy of writing to end this comment

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Hahahaha, Troy's slap of indignation! annie picking up her keys! I think it was Pierce...
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A VERY Pierce thing to do. You might have called it. One last sexual harassment rampage before hitting that great moist towelette in the sky.
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I'm not a fan of crime/drama movies like Zodiac, Se7en etc... so i didn't get the references except that was the type of movies/series it was spoofing.
However i still really enjoyed the episode, and i thought it had lots of funny moments.
I think its safe to say now, that Community is back to it old self.
Because to me all 3 episodes so far beats any of the episodes from last season easily.
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I loved this episode. It was so interesting, I can't really think of how to describe it, because it wasn't as funny as some other episodes, but I thought it was great the way it parodied the murder mystery shows that have come out in the last couple years.
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Personally I found the Law & Order episode to be the better spoof... but this one was alright.

Parts of it were pretty darn good, but others I felt were "meh"

I'm not knocking the season... I liked eps 1+2.
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This one was meant to be more of a crime thriller movie homage, but it works just as well as a sequal to Basic Lupine Urology. Or a spinoff, aka Lupine Urology SVU considering the tone and subject of this case.
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I know they were spoofing two different things,

I just found the L&O one to be a more enjoyable episode and really nailing the spoof-part. Shirley acting like the Lt, Troy and Abed acting like the classic detectives (including facial expressions), the lighting, the scene in the beginning with the janitors... HECK the actual coroner from some of the shows. The spoofs here seemed more homeage.

This episode was decent, but between the humor and the spoof part I just felt the L&O one was better.
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