Thursday, March 7, 2013

Alternative History of the German Invasion (Season 4, Ep 4)

Return of the Germans

This season has had a fair amount of content about history or past events. The first episode with the Ice Cream History class, second episode with Pierce and Jeff's past issues with their father (btw we never found out what happened with his dad after that phone call), and now this episode revolves around the theme of "history is written by the victors." The gang is forced to take a Modern European History type class as the Ice Cream History class is now full. Unlike every other class in Greendale, it appears that this professor has a degree and intends on actually teaching the class. Also attending the class are the three Germans from the Foosball episode in Season 3 (technically the main German is replaced by his brother but its not a major plot point and his replacement adds nothing to the plot, the brother was played by Nick Kroll who now has a show on Comedy Central, was probably too busy to be in this episode).

After the class, the three Germans are sitting at a side table in the Gang's study room. The group eventually agrees to let the Germans stay for the day but the next day the Germans have claimed the room for themselves. The Germans call security who sides with them because they have signed up for the room. Surprisingly, this actually becomes a central plot point.

This Means WAR!

The Greendale Seven attempt to arrive earlier the next day to sign up for the room but, alas, the Germans have beat them to the punch. The gang then has to use a new study room which has a flickering, and as Pierce finds out, electrifying light.
Annoying isn't it?

This repeats several times, with the gang trying to arrive earlier and earlier, only to find the Germans there waiting to laugh in their face. The injustice! And each new study room has something new that is awful about it (all of the chairs crack, dead raccoon in the air vent).

(I literally loled when this happened)
Finally the Gang decides to partake in some cleaver hijinks to rid themselves of this German Occupation. They incite the Germans with a peace offering in the form of an Oktoberfest celebration. The festival is complete with authentic bratwurst, beer, pretzels, and of course, 99 red balloons. Turns out this is all a ruse to frame the Germans into celebrating their own culture which, according to Greendale rules, is forbidden (no culture can celebrate their own culture). This results in the rivals from being banned from the study room.

Hooray! The heroes have prevailed! But what's this? As the group returns to the study room the next day they are met by an angry protest of Greendale students. They tell the Seven that they are sick and tired of them hogging the only good study room on campus. The mob is angry because when someone actually stood up to them after going through the sign up sheet, the Seven crossed the line and got the Germans kicked out.

This is where the history theme reveals itself. We find out that throughout the past 3 years, other people have been trying to use this study room but have been unable because the Gang has been claiming it as their own when others had signed up to use it. This leads the group to realize that "we thought the Germans were the Germans but really we were the Germans." They have dominated a space which was not their birth right while others suffered. They joke about how ridiculous of a comparison this is but it is what it is (namely a ridiculous show so you can't take it too seriously.)

So the group now feeling horrible, decides to give reparations for their past crimes and renovate the horrible study rooms.  They can now return to their room because everyone else now has somewhere else they can go.

"History Can Be Seen From Multiple Vantage Points"
After the Gang declares war on the Germans, I thought the show was trying to make a homage to World War II documentaries/ movies. The soaring music, the typewriter like text noting the setting of the new scene, and most obviously the American/ German rivalry. But as we later learn this episode was trying to show that alternative side to every conflict. Now I in no way am claiming that NBC/ Community was attempting to justify Germany's actions during WWII but one could take this theme further; namely to critique American History. There have been several moments in American history where we have thumped our chests with patriotism, duty, and other ideals to start wars when then are convenient. In the show, the groups thinks they are in the right without considering the others around them.

This is also true for say, our invasion of Grenada. A small, peaceful nation, with the military might equivalent of my hometown was claimed to be planning a full invasion of the USA. They may have been shifting to a Communist government but we saw that as a sign of aggression. USA invades and subdues the nation in three days. Hooray, liberation!

Oh well.

Well Chang's back, now with Changesia (Amnesia). The Dean thinks that he isn't faking it anymore but I still think that he is. He'll most likely be a focus in one of the next few episodes.

Andddd it looks like we're going to have Thanksgiving dinner at Shirley's with JEFF'S DAD

Here's a really good interview with Yvette Nicole Brown who plays Shirley

That's all for now, looking forward to some turkey. 
Tweet @TomBrande and let me know what you think OR leave a comment!

See you all soon,

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