*Note: my rating is done in the only way a Community episode can be rated: relative to other episodes of Community
A Halloween episode for Valentine's Day. I would remark "How delightfully Community!" if Community were Community and it wasn't result of near cancellation.
I'm not going to lie. I would hate to be saddled with the task of keeping Community Community. It is an elegant and graceful dance in which one must use these characters' idiosyncratic characterizations to drive the show (because there is and never was a real focused plot) without using them too much. Wait what? Even that sentence hardly made sense. How could one hope to script a show that hard to simply describe.
Something about the characters feels forced so far this season. Jeff seems too Jeffy. Britta seems to Britta-y (even for Britta). It's like they're giving us the characters we deserve, but not the ones we want. (Gotham needs a Harmon)
I wonder how ole Danny Boy would have handled Troy and Britta being together. It's really the most dramatic and (potentially) permanent change there has been to the group dynamic throughout the series and while I guess it had to happen eventually and I'll never know if Mr. Harmon wanted it so, I must take it at face value and accept it as a thing. But I want to be able to see the Britta Troy sees. He's not an idiot. There are reasons he views Abed as a worthy best friend and Jeff as a worthy leader. But so far post-Harmon Community just seems to be Britta-ing the whole situation. I needed to see he and Britta come to resolution about wishing last week. I needed more than a commitment to taking things slow. Though I admit the bit about them doing "things" was pretty funny and perhaps a concession that not even the writers know how to handle them.
However, they were handled with more tact than Jeff's dad. Why would he keep the phone number in the pocket of his costume? Why would he have the phone number on a sheet of paper? It's 2013. (Or technically 2012 in Communiverse) Why would he tell Britta all of that?
The resolution: Pierce's prank and brother causing the whole situation was much too tame an ending for Community. I honestly liked the episode up until then. Don't get me wrong: Pierce would do that, but we'd expect him to. The writers seems to be drawing a straight line between A and B where Dan Harmon would have ended up at a similar point but through a collection of squiggles and doodles. We are often left wondering how much of an episode actually happened and how much was in Abed's (or our own) head. But there was very little left to the imagination. Episodes like this (where there's very few people outside the Greendale Six) tended to bring out something special or unknown in the crew (ex: Remedial Chaos Theory, the group would fall apart without Troy), but I felt no closer to the cast.
Community seems too aware of how aware it is. But is knowing that it isn't itself enough to make it itself again? If I have to ask questions like that, maybe it is. I feel like I could say this every week all season, so let me say it now and you can assume it as long as it's true: Community is not what it used to be, but it's still smarter than most comedies on television.
The Facts Were Theses:
Why did the team pair off like they did? Troy didn't go with Britta or Abed. I find that hard to believe.
Troy: "There's nothing naive about helping a friend in need. Jeff would know that if wasn't too cool for after school
I did NOT need a full recap of Pierce's life story. I saw seasons 1-3. That's why I'm watching at all.
The credits scene was terribly lackluster for a Troy/Abed bit.