Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The First Chang Dynasty (Season 3, ep 21)

Link to episode: http://www.hulu.com/watch/362621#i0,p67,d0
(I would post a link to a permanent location where you could find community episodes but i have no clue where to find one. hulu will restrict these after new episodes are made and itunes doesn’t have any for sale. This is why i will one day buy some box sets. Such a re watchable show)

Elaborate Heist? Elaborate Heist??

So, the First Chang Dynasty is the last of a three episode story arch. As you may remember, the gang (now labeled, the Greendale Seven), have been kicked out of school for inciting a riot at Starburns’ memorial ceremony. Chang, the now head of security at Greendale, has raised an army of young teenagers to harass the student body and enforce his rule of law. Chang has also kidnapped the Dean and replaced him with a lookalike (a doppeldeaner).

            For some reason, both this episode and my previously reviewed episode Digital Estate Planning, aired on the same date (5/17/2012). Normally, the episodes are aired once a week and it seemed as though this pair suffered because of the time constraints. Although the theme and many of the jokes were better than in Digital Estate Planning, I remember being somewhat disappointed at this double header. It is possible that since the actors only had to do the voice action for Digital Estate Planning, they were able to complete both episodes at the same time or that NBC was starting to put a chokehold on Community and so they had to release both episodes at once.

            As my title suggests, this episode revolves around the traditions of the elaborate heist movie. The plot is Ocean’s Eleven meets Greendale and although my original perception of the episode was a bit muted, I think it is a fitting reintroduction back onto the campus. It’s absurd, its goofy, and the gang ends up on top.
           We get to see what Chang has done with Greendale over the past month or so and he has been busy. Communist style propaganda posters fill the school with Chang’s likeness.
Angry hormonal teens roam the hall looking to take their frustrations out on the students. Security check points bar the entrance to the campus. Chang is in the middle of organizing a “25th” birthday party for himself on the schools budget and so the gang plans on using this as a cover to break the Dean out.

            The episode also brings back the air conditioning school plot line back into the show. Although this plot line seems to be closed after the next episode, the AC schools Illuminati like connections provide a deux ex machina for the episode. Troy meets with one of the AC school teachers, named Murray, gives him the intel on the school. In doing so Murray preforms the role as the reluctant inside man for this elaborate heist. In many heist movies, an inside man who knows the ins and outs of the facility or security system discourages the would be thieves by laying out all of the dangers and therefore the improbability of success.

            Murray -Supposed [the Dean] is in the cafeteria, and supposed you get past the guards, there are 50 more guards waiting for you inside. Now let’s say that you get past the guards, then you’ll run into a key pad to which the code is changed every day. And just for fun let’s say you get past the key pad, go down the stairs and you’ll find another guard and a door and another lock. The only key to which is… (camera focuses in on Chang’s neck).

            Troy- Where is it?

            Murray- Oh sorry, it’s pictured quite clearly in my head.

The other point in the episode which I enjoyed was during the plan itself. Jeff, similar to George Clooney in Ocean’s Eleven, narrates during the heist stating.

            Jeff- The best part of the plan is that one point it will look like the plan is failing. But that’s the point when the failing plan was a part of the plan all along.

This is the last that we see of Chang as he does not appear in the next episode. Apparently, he is going to come back in season 4 with a case or “Changnesia.” Chang has never really been one of my favorite characters. I enjoyed him as the weird fake Spanish teacher, he had his moments has the wantabe friend in the second season, and stayed about average for the third season as well. I think I enjoyed the other cast members react to Chang rather than Chang himself. From what I’ve seen of Ken Jeong, Chang is similar to his other parts. The gangsters in the Hangover,the king in Role Models. All slightly off characters who have some form of power. Now Chang does seem to have a whole new league of crazy but still, never really been a fan of Jeong’s work.

Fun fact: Jeong graduated Duke, has a doctorate from the University of North Carolina and used to practice medicine. He then started to do stand up until he moved out to LA to pursue his acting career.

This interview here is the tamest I’ve ever seen him. He talks about Chang and his role in the new season.
-Tom Brande

Don’t forget to check out the trailer for the new season below.

Leave comments or tweet me @TomBrande

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