Wednesday, February 13, 2013

History 101 (Season 4 Episode 1)

Senioritis and Saying Goodbye

Link to episode:

IT HAS RETURNED!!!! At long last our dear Community has returned but, alas, it seems as though this will be the last season. We all new it was coming. NBC has been shuffling Community around throughout its career and then we had that horrible "hiatus." But thanks to the huge outpouring of support that we, the fan base, have contributed, the show has returned. Hey, maybe one day we can get it to come back like Arrested Development. (six seasons and a movie!)

I wouldn't think that most shows know that they only have so long to live and so like 30 Rock are left scrambling to conclude the series with only 3 episodes left. Its like having a death sentence. Is that a dark analogy, yes, but this will allow Community to give the show all of the jokes and energy that it has left without worrying about future seasons AND it can work this finale into its plot. 

History 101,  is all about the gang dealing with this emending conclusion through their proclaimed "senior year." Even though in the last season Jeff defends the group by saying that many community college students take 6-8 years to complete their degree, it now appears that the Greendale Seven are on track for a 4 year degree. (accept for Pierce who has been at Greendale for 12 years). Naturally, with one's senior year comes the anxiety of leaving the school, ones friends, and venturing out into the real world.

The episode opens with and often jumps back to Abed's "happy place" which consist of all of his friends from the real world but instead everyone acts like they are in a sitcom. There is a laugh track, the jokes are shticky  and, most importantly, they are all together. Britta has told Abed that if he ever feels stressed on their first day of school that he should go to his happy place to cope. But when Jeff informs the group that he is attempting to graduate early, Abed starts to freak out. In drew Abed fashion, he zones out for 80% of the episode, imagining that the study group's class records had been deleted thus requiring them to repeat the past 3 years. Abed then proclaims that he will stay "there" for ever.

(Abed, freaking out...again)

But for Jeff to graduate, he has to complete one more history credit. The entire study group had registered for the History of Ice Cream but the Dean informs the group that someone had hacked the system and now the class is over registered  To solve this problem, the Dean has organized "the Hunger Deans" which loosely mimics the Hunger Games. Each person that wins a game gets a spot in the class. Turns out, the Dean is going through the same separation anxiety as the rest of the group, and had over booked the class on purpose. He hoped that Jeff would give up and would have to stay but Jeff has now won spots for all of his classmates.
(Jeff Competing for the spots in the History of Ice Cream Class)

In the end, "good guy" Jeff chooses the group over himself and helps get Abed out of his mind. The episode ends with a hopeful tone. Jeff's speech summarized: We can still be friends after school, the future is full of good, unexpected events.

This episode is trying to give us the same message. We can hope that this show will be here forever but be can't control the powers that be. We have to enjoy our remaining time with the show and keep it with us when it ends. For me, this show has set a bench mark for what a TV show can be. I will never forget it and i look forward to revisiting each episode in the future.

See you all next week,
Tom Brande

What do you think of the season so far? Do you think it will be good as the last three? Where do you think the plot is headed? Heard of any upcoming episodes? 
Leave a comment! or Tweet @tombrande!

PS. Looks like the next episode is going to be a special (Valentine's day+ Halloween). The Halloween episodes have been my favorite so i have set the bar high. see you all soon. Happy Valloween.


  1. Tom – I like how you personify the show Community, nice writing technique. If this is the show’s last season, the whole ideas of a senior year is pretty timely; graduating on to bigger and better things, saying goodbye to the past while saying hello to the future. Maybe there’ll be a senior year 2.0 like there was w the show 7th Heaven (the “final” season got such high ratings, they added another season after saying it was going to be the last season). I’d like to hear more of your thoughts, but I do like the idea of posting discussion-like questions at the end of your post. From what I hear, Community is going to cover most of the major holidays this season (i.e. Halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.), but the show was filmed thinking the episodes would air around those holidays. Do you think this’ll hurt the shows final season success/ratings?

    1. I think that those that are watching the show are going to continue to watch them regardless of this lack of time sync. So much of the show's comedy is built off of references to previous events that it may be difficult for new viewers to break in. This is why NBC should have posted the last few seasons on Netflix before the show restarted.

      Oh well, looks like we're in for a Christmas in July (or something along those lines).

  2. Tom, please cite your sources regarding the Netflix comment. Thank you.

    1. i'm saying they should have, not a current statement, not sure where i could find a citation for that anyway. thanks for reading!