Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Digital Estate Planning: Season 3 Episode 20

Hulu link to episode: www.hulu.com/watch/362620#i0,p67,d0

Honestly, this is one of my least favorite episodes of Community and it shouldn’t be that way. My first steps into the world of technology were ushered by games such as sonic the hedgehog, super mario, the avengers, duck hunter, etc. As this episode emulates the style of an early 16-bit game, complete with a sound track that fits the genre, I should have been loling all over the place.

(Pictured: Pierce, Jeff, Annie, Troy, Britta, Abed, and Shirley)

Although i would play a Community themed computer game to procrastinate any project or assignment, the episode fell flat. Most of the dialogue is simplified because it is used to tell us information that we would have no way of knowing. For example, these are the first lines

Jeff: Pierce, you made us drive out to a warehouse in the middle of nowhere. You could at least tell us why.

Pierce: Hey I know as much as you. All i know is that i got a letter from the executor of my father’s estate which said to come out here with seven of my closest friends. (total there are only 7 in the gang)

Ok great! Now i know what is going on! But it’s so clunky.

The worst of the dialogue comes later. The basic plot is that Pierce’s father made a video game for Pierce to play once he has died. He must play with 7 of his closest friends. Whoever reaches the end of the game first, wins Pierce’s inheritance. Seeing as Pierce’s father was quite wealthy from their moist towelette business this is a large sum. (Also some background for you new members of Greendale, Pierce’s Dad, Mr. Hawthorn, was as racist and insensitive as he was rich. He wore an ivory hair piece because it was the purest form of white (as in not racially black).)

Conflict? Gilbert Sullivan, Mr. Hawthorn’s personal assistant for 20 years takes the 7th spot and has been practicing for that long. He is going to steal the inheritance.
Upon seeing how good Gilbert is at the game, Pierce tries to give up and the Britta lays this gem on us.
Britta: “While he’s fighting for greed, we’re fighting for friendship. Which means we can’t loose!”

In the end (SPOILER), the gang forfeits the game and gives the inheritance to Gilbert because he was Pierce’s half-brother and had been dealing with Mr. Hawthorn’s racist and ridiculous tirades throughout his life. aww, so nice. The episode ends with Gilbert offering to take everyone out for Margaritas at a local bar, his treat.

How nice from the person who just tried to steal inheritance from his brother. Why couldn’t Pierce and Gilbert split the inheritance?

Also, the gang shift their goals from, “stopping Gilbert at all costs to help Pierce” to “eh, let’s let him have the money” without any discussion or deliberation. It doesn’t fit together.

It is possible, that the clunky/ sappy lines and the resolution that comes out of nowhere are all deliberate attributes of the show. Maybe the writers of show we making a parody of classic video games. Only through teamwork and friendship can the characters win. The dialogue in the game will be minimal and written poorly. For example in the Sega Genesis game, The Avengers, before fighting bosses there are short quips of dialogue. The villain: “You can’t escape!” The Heroes: “You’ll be the one escaping!” Or one of my favorites, The Heroes: Where’s the laser?” A different villain: “Ask the police.”
Brilliant :) and then you fight them.

Either way, I think it is a stretch and either could have been done better or shouldn’t have been done at all. It may have been better to have this episode after episode 21, “The First Chang Dynasty,”  (which i will review next week) because episode 19 and 21 fit together. In episode 19, the gang finds out that Chang has taken over Greendale and got them kicked out of school and episode 21 is when they plan to revel his plan. Why did they wait an episode to go to a warehouse? No one knew what it was about before they got there? It would have been a better interlude between the climax of the Chang-is-crazy-and-taking-over-greendale thread and the finale of the season.

Oh well, can’t they can’t all be winners.

See you guys next week when I review episode 20. Only one more week til the new season!
-Tom Brande
ps. best part of the episode

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