Community S05E08: "App Development and Condiments"


If you're a bit off-kilter, there was a lot to like about "App Development and Condiments," which featured a concept so high it might've splashed forth from the mindspring of someone who was equally high, but there was also a bit of flopping about as the episode snowballed out of control and into the bizarre. However, that's also what made it kind of fun? Guys, I'm not sure WHAT to think about "App Development and Condiments," but I think I'm leaning toward greatness. Based on the comments that some of you have already posted, it's apparent that the episode didn't sit right with some Community fans but tickled others. Which is exactly how everyone should react to a half-hour so out of this world.

Social hierarchy has always been a theme on Community, with the study group occupying several different rungs on the status ladder. Sometimes they're triumphantly stuck at the ground level, other times they're touching the sky as Greendale heroes. In "App Development and Condiments," all rankings were reset and each member of the group was left to their own devices as a new social media app turned Greendale into some sci-fi popularity contest. Instead of "favorites" or "likes," worthiness was decided by "MeowMeowBeenz," a one-to-five rating system that could be applied to anything. If that seemed silly to you, then you probably didn't like this episode. Because dammit, it was silly, but it also did a great job of satirizing youth culture's obsession with validation via social media.


It didn't take long for the campus to become a parody of the excellent 1976 sci-fi movie Logan's Run—in which all citizens above a certain age are killed off—as well as any other Dystopian future. There was also a hilarious nod to Sean Connery's 1974 sci-fi bomb Zardoz via Starburns' rented costume, and for extra credit, it was very similar (whether intentional or not) to Black Mirror's awesome episode "15 Million Credits," particularly during the talent show. Fives became the upper class, while Ones and Twos were the equivalent of the Untouchables in cultural caste systems. The whole idea of Greendale deteriorating into classism drew out some big laughs; I particularly liked the Fives' clubhouse choreography in their Ivory Tower, Jeff bro-ing out to earn MeowMeowBeenz, and Abed calling his friends monsters when they admired his want to be reduced to Four and thus rated him a Five.

I liked the division of the study group, too. Obviously Britta was the one (and the One) to challenge the system as a proud cellar-dweller, trying to take it down from the inside and rally support as the champion of the loser people. I loved the idea that Britta was only influential when she had mustard on her face to distract from her intensity; she rode that influence to a position of autocratic power to expose her own hypocrisy. Shirley with her fake niceness shot all the way to the top as queen of the Fives, and Jeff was obviously late to the whole thing because he was too cool to participate, but then he set out to expose MeowMeowBeenz for the sham they were. Meanwhile, it was quietly genius to let Abed float through all the class levels, as he would be appropriately lost in the idea of social hierarchy. 


Helping keep "App Development and Condiments" truly bizarre was a perfect roster of guest stars. Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (Tim & Eric) played make-up wearing weirdos, and Tim's little speech about loving a Two and keeping Jeff and Britta's secret was killer. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say fans of Tim & Eric's probably appreciated this episode a little more than others. But for my money, Mitch Hurwitz (the creator of Arrested Development) as Koogler the cool guy with the lei and shades was the BEST. He was like the human incarnation of Spuds McKenzie. Oh man, the Koogler is KEWL. And the end tag's fake trailer for a Koogler movie instantly became one of my favorite Community end tags of all time. LONG LIVE THE KOOGLER! I mean, look how Koogler he is!





And even as I re-watch the episode now while writing this review, I feel a lot better about it. "App Development and Condiments" was WEIRD and really showed off the far end of the spectrum or Dan Harmon's humor, which can be grating for some and fantastic for others. The episode did lack a sense of coherence (and maybe a point), and that likely keeps it from becoming an all-time Community classic, but it still falls squarely into the category of Community cult classic. It's definitely one of those episodes that divides the show's fanbase. Anyway, I'm sure it's just us Rives who really got this one. High five, Fives! The rest of you can enjoy your apples. Oh geez, now I'm being taken over by MeowMeowBeenz!!!




STUDY NOTES

– The funniest part of the episode? Garret posing for a picture with Jeff.

– Down with the Ones you go, Vicky! You are THE WORST! I hate you.

– Dean: "Fives have lives, Fours have chores, Threes have fleas, Twos have blues, and Ones don't get a rhyme because they're garbage!" 

– Britta: "Maybe it dilutes or distracts from your stupid butt."

– Apparently I was one of the few critics who hated last week's episode? Hmmm. Oh well!


What'd you think of "App Development and Condiments"?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 6/2/2015

Season 6 : Episode 13

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Oh, and your reaction of "I'm apparently one of the few to hate last week's episode? Oh well!" underscores just why you're the wrong person to review Community for this site. You rarely seem to know what makes it work, as if you're watching a different show from everyone else. If the show some how gets a 6th season, let someone else handle it.
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Brilliantly weird ass episode. Glad Tim and Eric weren't used much, since I'm not a fan.
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I'm glad I'm not the only one that had the same unsettling feeling I had watching this as I did watching Logan's Run.
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Wow I don't know what to make of that episode but I didn't laugh once! Which is very strange because i love the crazy humor on this show and a massive fan of Dan H, but boy this was bad. I can say with some conviction that i can't think of an episode in season 4 that was this unfunny. I can't even put my finger on it but it just sucked!
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Also, was that the dance from the pilot-movie of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century?

Where he meets Ardalla on Earth and they do that lame dance until he shows them disco or whatever.

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Loved this episode, Community doing it's high concept stuff to perfection. When it first cut to day 8 and everything had gone full blown crazy I was hooked.

Nice to see Shirley being used fully.

Also Mitchell Hurwitz as Koogler was probably my favourite guest star I have seen in a long time, the trailer at the end just a part of how funny Koogler was.
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Some BioShock Infinite influence (Harmon has tweeted about being a fan of the game). Like Britta leading the uprising like a Daisy Fitzroy, her clothes, colors and style.
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I loved it!!! I loved the Logan's Run styled outfits for the Fours, that movie was super weird!!! They should totally remake that movie!!!
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Great episode, I got heavy Prisoner-vibes additionally to the Logan's Run vibes. Don't know why the reviewer thinks it wasn't coherent, it felt very much so to me.
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Abed -"I'm a one like everyone else. I'm like everyone else."

that line and the look of shear happiness on Abed's face made me really sad.
It's really great the emotional depth that community can achieve in a lighter episode with just one line. It shows you how well rounded the characters are and how well we know them.

Stellar episode, instant classic, very high concept.
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The episode was so weird, I just sort of assumed they had let Tim and Eric write it, and do set design.
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Although I very much enjoyed the episode, the weirdness and the characters, I just realised that I didn't laugh out loud once (maybe at Jeff's comment on Garret being optimistic about his future kids). So I'm not really sure what to make of it. But it was definitely interesting.
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All hail the mustardy cheek !
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Before this episode ended i was looking for MeowMeowBeenz on the app store this episode was just crazy fun
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This is not community, this was just a weak parody episode with way too much going on and way too little payoff... Last week I rewatched season one and two, and the difference in quality became painfully clear.
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I think it's the best episode of the season, and one of the best Community episodes of all time
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Did you know dry-erase boards love chalk board jokes?!

If you spend a lot of time being your "own best friend" it maybe time to find new friends.
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Yawn!
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That was more the Community I know
But I'm still puzzled by the role of the dean and Chang. We saw the dean quite a bit the last seasons, so ok, but I was hoping to have a come back of Chang and once again, he is useless this season.
And Annie is disappearing.
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After last week's awful episode, this one delivered and might be my favourite of the season. I liked the Meowmeowbeenz concept and the sudden dystopian parody.
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I'm just noticing the text on the Koogler credits still... Based on the book "Le Désespoir des Travailleurs".

This episode was bananas.
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I didn't recognize any of the references in this episode. All in all, I was completely fascinated by the story and it was totally over the top and ridiculous, classic "Community" style.

That being said, I didn't laugh at all. Not once, no chuckles, sniggers, giggles, snorts, snickers, LOLs, ROFLs, or LMAOs. That was a hue letdown for this season, which has had me cracking up so far.

In essence, I don't really know how I felt about the episode.
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This episode had a point, it drove it so hard that it didn't care how it got there or who was burned in the process, and to me that's one of this episode's issues.

Not sure why you had to mention you were one of the few reviewers who utterly hated last week's episode, it's not like it contrasts with your taste here.

Why are Brian Pohsen and Steve Agee teamed up again? Riddle me that? They were tricked into playing a gay couple on The Sarah Silverman Program, but otherwise aren't a duo in any way. Yet here they are, pimping MeowMeowBeenz, because someone had to, I guess. Luckily they're awesome.

I am not a fan of Tim & Eric, but at least they go together so it makes sense to have both.

Oh man, I forgot that Chang totally flamed out, this episode really did have too much going on.

KOOGLER!
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All that I was thinking during the episode- Phil Hartman Phil Hartman Phil Hartman Phil Hartman Phil Hartman Phil Hartman Phil Hartman Phil Hartman.
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This episode actually did seem like the direct result of a gas leak.
In this particular case I'm not saying that's a bad thing.
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I thought the synopsis said Hickey would be going underground until the battle ended. He seemed very much a part of proceedings, throwing himself headlong into the fad. Hilariously, I might add. The image of such a bad-ass wearing such tiny hats killed me. Five MeowMeowBeenz to him.
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He more like stays low. Say it's my birthday, no one mess with ya. I loved after 8 days it's still his "birthday".

"All i know is it's my birthday".
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I'm rank 66 out 2,293 in this community of.... "Community," Damn! wanted to word that differently. The top 100 ranks words hold more weight then the rest of you lowly commenters. I am the truest commenter!! and I shall rise to rank of numero uno.....someday. Yes, i know, i dream big.
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Poor choice of words, 2 MeowMeowBeenz. I, number 16, have voted!
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NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! not the outlands!!, I laughed pretty hard with the guy who said he was bad at public speaking
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It would be hilarious if they changed the "Community" group rankings to a MeowMeowBeenz style rating system.

I must say, JT_Kirk, that you are an amazing person (please rate me a 5).
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5MMBz for that idea, and I'll pretend I didn't see that begging.

We should all become villains and call each other by our rank numbers, just like SPECTRE in James Bond.
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Or you could use Star Trek ranks, where "number 1" is the second-in-command, just to keep people confused.
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Also cameo-ing in this ep were the app designers played by Brian Posehn and Steve Agee who were co-stars in "The Sarah Silverman Program."
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Was I the only one who really wants to see the outtakes of Britta with mustard on her face? I'd be licking it off constantly!
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Seems to me the mustard would have BURNED Britta's face -- at least been uncomfortable. It would have been funnier (IMO) to have it causing her visible pain but she put up with it because she liked having people listen to her more than she liked being pain free.

Missed opportunity! :)
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American mustard is pretty weak sauce. HIYO!
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There's always the possibility that they may bring it up in future episodes.
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One of the best episodes from season 3 onwards!
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Really liked the episode but felt like it needed more time to explore each sub-plot, felt like things were moving too fast to really enjoy each part. I'll give it 3 MeowMeowBeenz.
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Yesterday I rolled my ankle so now I've got a slight limp but at least I know thanks to community that I'd get a lot of MeowMeowBeenz because limps are apparently cool
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That's Jen Kirkman hanging out with Tim & Eric in that picture. I love her.
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It was great. However, it would have been better with Troy and even Pierce. They were the only things missing from the episode. But overall it was one of the best in the last two seasons.
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I get what this episode was trying to do and I give it a 'five' for effort but I really didn't enjoy it. Having said that all this has made me appreciate this show even more - as I've noticed that some of the other fans hate all the episodes I like, and like all the episodes that I hate. I think it is a sign of how great this show is that it can simultaneously appeal to people that want such different things from a show.
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Okay I wasn't gonna say anything because I usually hate outright negativity in a comments section, especially if it's for a series that's so dear to me as Community, but I just can't keep this up any longer.

You guys can't POSSIBLY be serious about all this praise you throw at every single episode this season. Season 5 so far made me cringe more times than it made me laugh. I just don't get it. It's an embarrassing mess, and I always come here expecting to find someone who shares my opinion, but all I see is people claiming that this is exactly like "good old Community", which is bullshit.

I still hope we get a sixth season but they better sort themselves out for that. I want my favourite comedy back.
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Besides this episode, which felt like something out of mid-season 3, I've honestly loved all of season 5. Even this episode didn't make me "cringe", I just didn't laugh at it.

But hey, I respect your opinion, although you think of my opinion as "bullshit". That's not nice. What would Shirley think about you?
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Now you made me sad :( 'm really sorry if I came off as rude, I honestly didn't mean to hurt anyone, or belittle your opinions... I was just frustrated because I couldn't find a single soul who agreed with me and I started to think that maybe I'm just not seeing something that others do... but yeah the reason I said bullshit is because seasons 1 and 2 of Community are among the best television ever made, and season 5 is just not in that same league. For me. But I understand and respect if it is for you :) So sorry again.
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But still the best available on broadcast television. And "Archer", the only show that comes close on my scoresheet, has also declined a bit this season. The difference? NBC may or may not renew Community. Archer got a commitment for 2 more.
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I'm one of the minority that actually enjoyed season 4!
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Me too :) I pretty much started an anti-"season 4 hate" campaign on Tumblr because I couldn't believe the reviews it was getting. Besides History 101 I thought they were all great, especially the later ones.
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Oh! YOU'RE the guy! Nice to meet you! ;)
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I'm with you. I felt only about half of the Season 5 eps were up to standards.
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Good to see you're coming around Tim. No one wants to be a 2.
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Even worse, a 1. Banished to the Outlands!
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You have to love the conflicted Britta. Protesting against the system but when she got into power because of it, she really liked it. A great study case for any psych major.
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Yeah, I got a kick out of that, too.
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"Fives have lives, Fours have chores, Threes have fleas, Twos have blues, and Ones don't get a rhyme because they're garbage!"
Loved that!
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Johnathan Banks should be upgraded to regular, he is killing it on Community.
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We still don't know how this is going to work considering that he's definitely going to be on the Better Call Saul spin-off. But having him as a regular would be great. I really hope they do a nod to Breaking Bad in some form on Community.
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I used "should" instead of "could" for that reason. It would be awesome if they make a BB reference before the end of the season.
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I find this really really difficult to say, but for me community has completely lost it's magic. This was just another very weak attempt to mask the problems this show is in by throwing in a super farfetched concept episode. The plot made absolutely no sense and felt so forced, it was cringe-worthy. Community used to be more than just easy, lazy parody. It used to actually be in it's own league.

Don't get me worng, I LOVE Community, but this is not community.

And what was up with the totally reduntant guest role of legend Mitch Hurwitz? (who CLEARLY is not a good actor). Must've been a favor for letting Dan Harmon guest star in an episode of Arrested Development...
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I agree. This was a clever concept poorly executed. Perhaps the worst of all the genre send-ups. It had so much potential.
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Oh yeah, nearly forgot, I did love Mitch Hurwitz in this episode, he was both funny and used well.
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Oh man, Starburns in the Zardoz costume being the lead image was just want nobody wanted to see.

Holy shit, Jim Rash's McConaughey is hilarious! The eyes sell it so much better than I could have imagined, mouth too, he's a damned good parody actor. He looks so weird in a wig though.

Annnnyway, um, the actual episode was in the middle for me. It felt like it needed more meat on its bones, like it needed to be an hour long and have one more act. Abed and Annie fell to the wayside, Hickey flamed out really early, and while there was some fun and interesting stuff, it felt like the message got lost in "the message". Plus, and I hate to be like this, but we've already seen Jeff and Shirley come to grips with each other several times now.
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Wouldn't it be great if the Dean and Winger did a True Detective parody on Community? I know they've already done a Law and Order episode, but I just want to see another detective story line on the show.
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Um, I'm pretty sure Jim Rash was playing Woody Haroldson's character. Woody's character did the driving and Matthew's character was the one with the pony tail (during interviews) and rode shotgun.
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I haven't watched True Detective yet, but he has McConaughey's facial ticks and speech patterns, that's so weird that he's doing Harrelson's character.
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Well, for one thing, both McCongaughey and Jeff are RIPPED! :)
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But Joel is ALSO a character. And Jeff, well, he's becoming a person.
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Jeff = character, Joel = person. ;-)
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I started voting up comments for this episode, then realized how ironic that was.
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The funniest thing about that is that I'm voting you up to keep you up.
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Hah! 5 meowmeowbeanz for catching that!
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...You just won this entire comment section.
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Now that is funny! Well done.
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If only I had mustard on my face, people would listen to how awesome this episode was.
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Another obligatory "everyone gets caught up in some silly situation" episode. Although I did enjoy this one more than the previous paintball, pillow-fort, floor-lava versions. Tim & Eric had a decent cameo this week and I liked the faux-college movie preview. This episode was sorely missing John Oliver in my opinion, he's been great in the last few episodes of this season.
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We've seen this before. It was ok. Start taking risks again show!
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Wow this was funny! The clothing reminded me of Logan's Run from the 70's and the rest of "Brave New World"! LOL!
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Oh and Sardoz! LOL!
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I loved it. I like the crazy theme episodes like this one, just for the wackiness. I also love the quieter less LOL episodes. I'm so happy with this season of Community.
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I do like the theme eps, but I felt this one failed at it.
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