Community S05E13: "Basic Sandwich"

When Community was first announced, it was often compared to The Breakfast Club, and justifiably so. The premise focused on seven strangers who all fit different archetypes being slammed together through self-imposed detention—Spanish study group—and bickering and bonding over their differences and similarities. But The Breakfast Club only ran for 97 minutes, and with "Basic Sandwich," Community just finished its 2,112th (roughly). Point is, the Greendale gang—now with a couple newer members, because one left and another died—are no longer strangers. But that doesn't mean Community has dispensed with its affinity for '80s movies, a film genre that Abed (and by association, series creator Dan Harmon) particularly adores. No, "Basic Sandwich" and its predecessor "Basic Story" felt like odes to flicks like Revenge of the NerdsMeatballs, Animal House (okay that last one was late-'70s), and any other movie about a band of geeky outsiders fighting the establishment, the cool kids, and/or educational hierarchy. 

After all, Community did choose to focus on the "Save Greendale!" storyline for this two-part season (and possibly series!) finale. "You can't take what's ours" is a clear theme that the aforementioned movies made good use of, and by golly, I thought it worked quite well here, too. Pop-culturally speaking, Community is a love letter to everything that preceded it—so when School Board Carl screamed at the new Greendale Eight about the college being a waste of space just waiting to be turned into a parking lot, and Dean Craig Isadore Pelton defiantly responded, "Yeah? Well around here, we call that Wednesday," I half expected Starburns to start blasting "I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins on the boombox (though the trademark DMB worked, too). 


Everything leading up that victorious moment fell nicely in line with the set-up of last week's "Basic Story," so if you didn't care for that episode—and looking at the results of last week's poll, it appears many of you didn't—you probably didn't care much for "Basic Sandwich," either. All told, I think both episodes comprised a very funny hour that didn't go as far off the deep end as many Community episodes do, yet still stood out from the rest of the comedies on network television. As a whole, the Season 5 finale wasn't a full-blown parody of anything, it didn't have any real gimmicks, and it never unlocked the level of genius reached by episodes like "Remedial Chaos Theory" or "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons"—but there was enough wackiness to make it feel like part of a Dan Harmon sitcom (School Board Richie mind-robbing Hickey was so damn funny), and that's a middle ground I'm more than happy to watch. Plus, "Basic Sandwich" made me laugh, and that's why we're all watching this thing, right?

Let's spend a few minutes on the shipping stuff, because it was pretty juicy even though I'm not exactly sure what happened. Jeff and Britta continued their game of Marriage Chicken while alternating between immature fighting and passionate canoodling (they have what we call a "high-intensity" relationship). Their antics actually reminded me of their behavior in Season 2's "Mixology Certification," where they yelled at each other and then drunkenly made out, which happens to be exactly how I like to see Britta and Jeff act. Annie delivered an emotional speech about the members of the group letting each other have what they want, which was a direct message to Jeff that she was letting him run off with that tramp Britta so that Annie could move on, and it felt like a death knell for the Annie-Jeff shippers. 

But when Randall Borchert's (Chris Elliott) emotional-powered lovebot Racquel needed a jumpstart and Jeff—of all people!—volunteered himself as the man with enough feelings to juice her up, he surveyed his friends and recalled a moment of dialogue he shared with each of them. Annie's was last, and as Jeff recounted their adorable "M'Lord"/"M'Lady" exchange from Season 1's "Football, Feminism, and You"—a key moment for Jeffnnie shippers—Racquel sprung to life. Was the power of Jeff's emotions generated by the sum of his memories of his friends? Or was it specifically tied to Annie? We shall debate this until we vaporize when the asteroid destroys the Earth (it's canon)!

Now we head into the unknown with "Basic Sandwich" possibly being Community's last episode ever. It may not've been the best note to go out on, but there was a spirit to "Basic Story" and "Basic Sandwich" that felt as Community as any other episode of the series. If nothing else, they gave us a much better "possible series finale" than Season 4's "Advanced Introduction to Finality."

And suddenly, I'm sad. Season 5 wasn't the perfect bounceback from Season 4, but it contained moments of brilliance. More importantly, it was very necessary for the healing of my heart and the construction of fond memories of this network comedy that bent rules, felt wholly original, and defied reason and odds. If Community DOES get canceled (depends on what fails!), I'll certainly miss it; this weird and wacky show deserves to be remembered as one of the best.


STUDY NOTES

So many funny moments! I'll run down my favorites:

– "Today's Now Is Yesterday's Soon."

– Duncan on the blueprints of Greendale: "It's so clear now, the school looks like a penis." 

– "What does this look like, an hour-long episode of The Office?" OH SNAP #OFFICESLAM

– The shhhhhhhh-ing was great, especially Britta's first shhhh at Jeff and the face she made to accompany it. 

– "Open the Door" by The Secret Doors and the best musical lyric ever: "Specially timed to the duration of the opening process." And then, from the subsequent "Close the Door": "Faster than it opened, for dramatic effect."

– Richie's mindmeld with Hickey was, again, fantastic. "I robbed your brain, I robbed it!"

– In fact, Richie and Carl (yes, they have names!) have suddenly become two of my favorite characters. If Community ever gets a spin-off, it should be those two. 

– In a season full of big-name but disappointing guest stars, Chris Elliot did NOT disappoint. Everyone PLEASE watch his Adult Swim show Eagleheart. (It's FREE!)

– Abed's suggestions for a Britta-Jeff spin-off were all NBC-ready titles: Better With My Worst Half, Awfully Wedded, Tying the Not, and #Couples People Problems.  

– And of course there was the NBC-destroying end-tag sizzle reel, which was a great way for the show to dare the network to cancel it. #IRONSIDESLAM


– Please pardon this interruption for a flashback to a February edition of News Briefs, in which reported that BJ Novak would guest-star in the season finale and that his role was being described as the "star of a sexy TV series." Indeed!  


– And now, everyone tap your heels, rub your nipples, and repeat after me: "Community will be back, Community will be back, Community will be back..." Repeat until you faint and it will be true. 


What'd you think of the Season 5 finale? Are you happy with it as a possible series-ender?


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we have been renewed!!!...Yes We!!.by Yahoo..cool cool cool!!
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Just watched it on my DVR. Better than season 4 but the final episode left met clueless. I liked basic story, but not sandwich
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Seems like people have been lining up to hate the show ever since the disappointing season 4, regardless of its actual quality at the present time. Season 5 may not have been as consistent as some of the earlier seasons, but there were still many great moments (and episodes) to be had.

I guess I get it... two members of the main cast left this season (Donald Glover being an especially big loss), and people are not traditionally great at handling change. While this latest season is DIFFERENT as a result, that doesn't mean it's necessarily bad.

I personally enjoyed the hell out of the finale, even the apparently reviled first part. Different strokes, I suppose...

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I thought the entire season was great (well, the abed getting cuffed to a file cabinet episode was pretty weak), I really want to see just one more season (... and a movie).
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I hope that's not the end, because it was pretty bleeding weak and lacking in laughs.
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It was really great. It sure is different without Pierce and Troy but still has the vibe. I was holding this off cause of the chance it may be the finale but after watched it i'm almost pretty sure it'll be back.
I mean; "We'll definitely be back next year. If not, it'll be because an asteroid has destroyed all human civilization, and that's canon."
While it worked well in this episode i still think they need to take down a notch with over-meta. Hoping for a full season this time!

- Are you all right? - No! I was dying!

It's just a bunch of wires. -Exactly what they want us to think. Hahaha

Hi, yes, I'd like to replace all my teeth with diamonds.

Are you thinking what i'm thinking? End tags got me.
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I loved the shhhhh-ing of everyone, dean's shhhh is the best! I loved tea-time-with-electrocuted-Duncan! And finally hand-gliders!!!
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Staff
tragically horrible.
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I did not like the first part of the series finale very much, so I was a little bit unsure about the second half: Which way to go? What will the writers choose to do?
But while watching, I have to admit, they chose the right path: It was funny, emotional and crazy enough to be called, from my point of view, a satisfactory ending.
Abed's explanation of Britta's and Jeff's wedding plans made total sense and was absolutely fitting to the show's way of self-awareness.
The Jeff-Annie angle was also perfectly executed, by showing their still deep connection without getting into too many details, or, what would have been worse, bringing them together for real. Leaving it open, as a question mark about what could happen, is an excellent idea. The audience may now choose its own preference: Couple or really good friends?
The rest was quite hilarious: Duncan's electric shock and his facial expressions afterwards, the school board guys having names (yes, they do), trusting Chang with this large amount of money, the "sshhhh" scene, the tea-time scene, the mind-reading part...
Community will be back, Community will be back, Community will be back... (I don't want it to end for good)
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I didn't get the same feeling of closure that earlier season finales have had, but it has felt like a rather downbeat year, so maybe Elliott will stay on and bring back some Eagleheart zaniness next year, if that's not coming back? BTW was that Parks and Recreation's Paul Schneider (Brendanawicz) as Captain Cook?
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Six Seasons and a Movie!
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Best episode of the season right at that moment when Richie jacked into Hickey's mind and came out with the exact opposite of what really happened.
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But he was thinking of a hand glider.
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I liked the whole underdog fighting against the power conceit of this episode but it felt like it wasn't full on enough for me. It felt a little dialled down. But that being said there were so many great lines and bits in this episode.
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Is it me or did Season 5 kinda veer off towards the end.

I liked this episode, some great moments but I wouldn't put it on par with the first half of the season.
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OMG please NBC renew Community for a sixth season it's the best comedy ever, and just because stupid people don't watch it doesn't mean it should be cancelled.
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I really liked the finale, but at the same time some of the "meta" stuff was a bit sad because it was acknowledging that the show might be over. I really don't want the show to be over!
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It was his love for Annie!
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Jeff "I lost track of how big I was getting",
Pelton "I didn't".
Classic.

The episode was great fun, not quite the Series finale that the show deserves, but hopefully that won't be a problem when the show gets renewed.
#SixSeasonsAndAMovie
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Britta-Jeff spin-off "Awfully wedded," awesome title. With commercials having them back to back with their arms crossed rolling their eyes at each other. I would so watch that show if it was oldschool style sitcom with laugh track. It would be so bad but I would watch every episode.
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Next season should be its final. The only good time this show should end its series is either the 100th episode or after, but NOT before the 100th!
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Chang was channeling some Mr. Chow in this episode and the end tag was hilarious!! no the wait for the sixth season and a movie!!
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Those last 2 episodes have just been a huge meta-wink imo to this show's fans. "Save Greendale" was all about "saving Community". There were tons of references
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Also, best line of the episode belonged to Jeff. I wondered when they were going to acknowledge his obvious change in physique and I was not disappointed. Perfect timing, delivery, circumstance and immediate transition back to the story. Community at its finest. Right up there with the scene where someone asks Jeff who he is always texting.
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After rewatching the scene I'm convinced that it was Jeff's feelings for Annie that jump started the machine. After he thinks about britta he immediately moves to Abed. After thinking about Annie, however, he continues to gaze at her. He holds that stare well after the machine starts up and the door opens. Only looking away in surprise when everyone starts to turn around. He was very obviously trying to hide that it was Annie that brought out the passion in him. I also think that the surprised lookon his face was supposed to be interpreted as Jeff finally realizing that his feelings for her were the real deal and couldn't be denied. The machine has spoken.
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Yes to all of this!
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Really thought the finale was close to genius, with Abed's "Canon" gag a final stroke of brilliance that was both hilarious and unsettling.

If that's the end of it for this show, though -- and I say this truly hoping g#sixseasonsandamovie is a reality -- it's pretty much a perfect way to go out.
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Best end tag ever.

I was wondering thought, do you think anyone at NBC actually watches their own shows?
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"We'll definitely be back next year. If not, it'll be because an asteroid has destroyed all human civilization. And that's canon." - Abed say it and i believe him !



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Six seasons and a MOVIE!!!!!!!
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At least Jeff and Brita didn't get married
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I still find this show funny and can see no reason why it should be cancelled.They certainly aren't going to replace it with something funnier.
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OH MY GOD this show dropped so low. That episod was awful, like the last ones, at least to me. Season 6 will be without me.
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I would watch BJ Novak in Mr. Egypt or Questlove hosting Celebrity Beat-Off forever. Probably better than everything on NBC not named Community, Parks and Rec, or Hannibal.
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Boogatron !
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I don't have an opinion on it, because CityTV, the douchebag channel that has distribution rights in Canada, has chosen to preempt the last three episodes of Community for Hell's Kitchen. I can't even download it on iTunes.
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"If nothing else, they gave us a much better "possible series finale" than Season 4's "Advanced Introduction to Finality."

Well that's your opinion.
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The series ended without a real graduation for most of the cast. How is that even possible in a show about a school?
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You're correct about Chris Elliot, and Eagleheart. That show is VERY funny.
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Community CAN NOT end at 98 episodes. 2 shy of the 100 mark. NO way, I'm sorry, but the little show that could has made this far. A 6th season we must have!!!!
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Am I the only one who thought this episode had some references to Captain America: The Winter Soldier or am I just overreaching on that one? Also why no mention of the hilariousness of Professor Duncan when he was out of it after being electrocuted?
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Yes, I noticed that too. The secret room, the twist around a machine and emotions, the college being compromised from inside...
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Six seasons and a movie. I remember when Abed coined that phrase, declaring his belief in the longevity of NBC's The Cape. That was three years ago in Community's 2nd season, and The Cape is long, long dead (despite wonderful quotes like, "The next time we meet, I'm gonna make a pair of boots out of you" and "The show must go on. And the gut must come off." …. I hate-watched a few episodes. Don't judge me!)

But that phrase was picked up and championed by the fans of this criminally undervalued show as a rallying cry to save it. We started online petitions, fan campaigns and inundated twitter with Community related hashtags. We sent angry emails and purple pens to NBC executives, and joined Community Facebook pages. This show became such a cult classic, the phrase/hashtag "six seasons and a movie" not only represents a rallying cry to save Community, but is now synonymous with a call to arms for the fans of any struggling show. Such is the power of the Community fan.

So you see, even though our beloved group of misfits only started a committee to save Greendale this season, we've been fighting to save it for 5 years.

Not that we're surprised by the ratings anymore. We've come to expect that something so different from literally every other comedy on TV will not be appealing to the masses. But that doesn't mean we won't continue to champion what many of us consider to be the seminal TV comedy of the 21st century.

This is a show that has captured the zeitgeist of our time. Never has a network comedy been so self-aware of itself and its fans (Fun Fact: It was the overwhelmingly positive fan reaction to Troy and Abed's first end tag that inspired Harmon to make them best friends). Never has a network comedy been so willing to flout the rules of conventionality, and espouse its own uniqueness. We've seen parodies, satire, 4th wall breaks, 8-bit graphics, animation, claymation and a masterful use of meta.

Dan Harmon is a student of television and film. He's always been obsessed with discerning why certain devices succeed when others fail. In his youth he even went so far as to cross-reference every show and movie he had ever watched and created a formula for what he perceived to be essential to a successful comedy. He knows all the rules, all the tricks and tropes, all the cliches. He knows the importance of character progression and the value of the setup to the structure of a joke. He knows what's been done, how it was done and why it worked.

That's why Community is still the smartest comedy on TV. Harmon took all those rules, conventions and cliches, and not only expertly subverted them, but somehow managed to embrace and elevate them at the same time.

This season 5th season wasn't perfect. Harmon and his writing staff had to pick up the tattered pieces left behind after the season that shall not be named. They had to deal with the departure of Troy, the death of Pierce, the addition of new characters, and the shifting dynamic of a study group turned Greendale committee. It would be wrong to say these changes didn't affect the chemistry of Community. But despite all that internal turmoil and writing challenges, season 5 still gave us moments of brilliance. Moments that can't be found anywhere else on the comedy TV landscape.

One device I've always loved is how he's used Abed as a conduit to express his views on the very genre he has so richly added to. In this season finale when Abed was consoling Annie about Jeff/Britta, he told her:

"This show, Annie, it isn't just their show. This is *our* show, and it's not over."

That was Dan Harmon talking to his audience in a way that only he can. Telling us that Community isn't just Sony's, NBC's or his show. We've loved it, helped shape it, and have fought for 5 years to save it. This is our show, too.

Six seasons and a motherf***ing movie.

NOTES ON JENNIE (REALLY, TIM? JEFFNNIE?):





Jeff and Annie have been playing the "will they, won't they" dance since the very first season. They've shared countless intimate moments and lovelorn glances. It's become such a focal point for many fans that I truly believe Dan Harmon has played around with this relationship, simply to subvert the shipping rule/expectation that these two would eventually and inevitably hook up.

Community has always been thematically centred on the virtues of friendship and the good of the group as a whole. I've read that Harmon has made it a point not to fall into the trap of one single relationship overshadowing everything else. He didn't want a Jam (The Office's Jim + Pam) situation on his hands. So he had fun with it. He basically told us in the season 3 premiere they would "sleep together", yet it never happened. They've kissed, shared a lap dance, with several sexually charged scenes in between. And we all remember the Youtube shipper video he parodied out of love.

They have undeniable chemistry. I'm of the opinion that Annie has served as a surrogate conscience to Jeff when he felt like he was losing his way. Annie, more than Britta, or anyone else in the group, has changed him from the selfish, narcissistic jackass he used to be.

Maybe the fact he is 40 has held him back, but Annie is more than just a friend. So it felt right and true when he needed to summon a burst of intense emotion, he thought of Annie. In fact, one of the main story lines of this finale was their relationship. Perhaps with the series winding down Harmon is now willing to explore it more deeply.

"We have to respect each other enough to let each other want what we want, no matter how transparently self-destructive, or empty our desires may be."

I thought it was clear she was not only talking about Jeff and Britta, but also about Jeff and herself. She was saying that respected Jeff enough to let him choose a self-destructive path with Britta, but also that she wanted to go down that very same path. Age differences be damned. Societal views be damned. She's matured enough to allow herself to want what she wants. And I think it's pretty obvious she wants Jeff.

FUNNY PICTURE FOR NO REASON:


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Upvote for the funny picture alone.
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The episode on its own serves as decent season ender, but not as a series ender. I want to know what would happen to the gang. Whether they would stay at Greendale or leave. If the series does get cancelled, Id hope for a TV movie that ends things on a better note.
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Mmmm... the occasional smile... meh
I think that instead of "The Eagle has Landed" it was more like "The Muses have Flown"...
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I'm not crazy thinking that the "shhhhh"ing scene was spoofing Raiders of the Lost Ark right? They were supposed to sound like the snakes in the Well of Souls that Indy lowered himself by rope into, just like the group did. Even the music was the same.
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Did anyone else notice that Racquel had 'Boogatron' (I think) written on it...
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Community is a weird show.
Especially lately.
The two-before last episodes were a little "off" (from my taste) but boy did this one delievered!
I love when they bring the "meta" back and this week was the big one. Harmon passed along a message to viewers, to executives, to everyone and I loved it!
We are so close to our goal #SixSeasonsAndAMovie that it would really be a shame to stop now. No this close.
I think the NBC executive are calculating what is their best option here...moneywise. Will it be best for their interest to spend cash once more for a final season with the same amount of episodes knowing that it would finally reach syndication and satisfying fans? Or stop the train right there...?
The answer is at this episode end...and inside de executives mind.
Please "Jack Donaghy", don't let us down... ^^
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NBC doesn't give a damn about whether or not the show reaches syndication (it already has, BTW) because it's the show's producer, in this case, Sony, that gets that money. The only way it makes a difference to the network is if the producer is willing to take a much lower production fee to get to 90 episodes.
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Even though I knew that Jeff and Britta wouldn’t get married, I wished for it. I’m a total Jeff/Britta shipper. I mean, that’s why the whole journey of “Community” started, right? But I really hoped that the season (or at least the finale) would devote more to Jeff’s love life. They didn’t even finish the G.I. Jeff episode properly, I hoped that they would do justice to the season finale (hopefully, not the series’).
Anyway, NBC can’t play “Schrödinger’s Cat” with Community. Dan Harmon played risky with the the end tag, but c’mon, if your show is always on the loose end of a very fragile thread, you are allowed to play games. And it was a epicly funny game that he played.
This year has been full of ends of shows. First, “How I Met Your Mother” and now, maybe Community too.
But I’ll always live and wander the halls of Greendale Community College with the hilariously funny Spanish study-group, dipping into their delicious meta feel of community college life.
P.S. I know its crazy to care and love a work of fiction this much, but I do.
P.S.S. I thank you, Dan Harmon for one hell of a show. I got to know about this show from my brother, and its something that I will miss even if I never knew it was there. And if this was your last episode, well, you’ve done an amazing job (that last end tag was just….. I’m speechless).
But NBC we need a hundred episodes at least. Its one of the best shows on TV, and it needs a hundred episodes to air, at least.
#SixSeasonsAndAMovie
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So, how did Donald Glover do with his music career? Did his time away from Community really give him the boost he wanted? (Or, was he really just jumping ship because he saw how many leaks it had?)

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I saw an interview with Donald (probably on youtube) and it talked about why he left. He talks a lot about wanting to do his "own thing" instead of someone else's thing, and he didn't want to do something that felt fake, or phony. I truly can't help but believe that the who season 4/gas leak year is what soured him on the experience and caused him to leave.

I'm so angry about that. He stopped seeing Community for the brilliance it was (and is again) and only saw the crappy cookie cutter, money making pandering that it was last season. I will forever hate the Gas Leak Year for that. The show just isn't the same without him. It's still great, but it's missing Troy for sure. (OTOH, I don't miss Pierce a single bit.)
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People with the natural rhythm and rhyme ability of Donald Glover (while impressive) are a dime a dozen. People with the natural charisma and wit of Donald Glover are not.

My guess is he overestimated/underestimated, respectively.
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You're an ass. Musicians are just as rare as talented actors, and he is a better musician than comedian anyway.
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Exceptional musicians are indeed as rare as exceptional actors, not sure which of your inbred misfiring neurons makes you think I feel otherwise.

The last sentence is just your own pure fantasy. He is FAR from an exceptional musician.
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"Good" and "popular" are not always overlapping categories.
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To answer your question though, he hasn't done a god damn thing.
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Perfect review and summary. A hit and miss season with many of the hits being BIG and GREAT and most of the misses being just eh.

This was a perfect ending because it pretty much summarized the whole series AND captured the essence of Greendale AND it works as a satisfying SERIES ending (if need be) as well as a season ending.

Last week, I commented that I did NOT get nor like Jeff and Britta's jump into engagement but it was PERFECT with the perspective of this episode. And, I really, really liked the emotion meter going through the roof when Jeff thought of Annie.

I WAS annoyed at Jeff letting the money go without a fight. AND no one giving it a second thought as Chang walked out with it.

Favorite line: "Sorry. I forget how big I'm getting." LOL!
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From an actual legal standpoint, that money was still Chris Elliott's character's. He did say he would give it to Greendale in exchange for something, but contracts over a certain dollar amount have to be in writing to be legally enforceable.
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Exactly. That's what bothered me about it.
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'Donald Sutherland' - Jeff and Dean shippers can now use this as their mantra (no surprise the Dean would choose but it must have been like a ray of hope that Jeff not only chose one out loud but chose the same person!)
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You listed off a list of movies this episode was based on, and you missed the one they actually referred to.
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6 seasons and a movie!
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