Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Intro to Felt Surrogacy (Season 4, Ep 9)

This Felt a Bit Forced

You can watch the episode Here

Ok, let me get this out of the way. I think this was not a good episode. If there was an episode that reflected the departure of Dan Harmon and the drop in quality for season four, it was this episode. I come from a childhood where I watched every Muppet movie (Muppet's Take Manhattan, Great Muppet Caper, etc), I grew up on Sesame Street, and watched the Muppet Show at night with my family. And because of my love for our felty friends, this episode was cute, but beyond this one trick pony, there wasn't much else to it. Compare this episode to the claymation episode and you see a stark difference. The claymation Christmas episode was funny and true to the genre but more importantly there was a good reason and it moved the overall plot along.

The gang are all sitting in the study room, but no one is talking to each other and everyone seems tense. The dean comes into the room and states that this awkward silence has been going on for days. He suggests that they use puppets to talk about what happened so they can clear the air. "What ever happened to us is between us and Jesus, and Jesus don’t snitch." -Shirley. This made me think that they did some horrible thing together like kill someone, but we later find out that this is a bunch of hoopla for nothing. So while the Gang is in the study room with their well made puppets, they are remembering this faithful day as though they were professionally made puppets (like Avenue Q).(Mind you, the dean seems to be over exaggerating they entire episode. No fault to Jim Rash but because he was in that stupid Pinocchio costume the whole time, feeling up Jeff, etc)

Flash back to a few days prior, the gang is sitting around studying. Troy and Abed are playing bingo but instead of numbers, they mark a corresponding box based off of what people say. Abed explains that since they've been friends for so long, they know each other well enough to predict what the others will say. The Dean arrives with a tour of perspective students and tells them that the Gang is a regular piece of Greendale. After they leave, the Gang tries to shake up their routine by "Going on an Adventure." They break into song and decide to go for a balloon ride. Still caught up in their musical number, they accidentally launch the hot air balloon without their guide without a way to get down. Pierce makes things worse by sending them higher into some stormy clouds. They eventually land and run into George Costanza, I mean, a mountain man. George explains that he used to go to Greendale but then decided to live in the woods where you can be anything you want. Cue next musical number. Before George leaves he gives them some psychedelic berries.

Hours later, the gang is sitting around a fire still under the effects of the berries. Shirley then tells the gang something that has been weighing on her for a while. Basically, she leaves her kids at the store because she was trying to follow a man who she thought was her husband. She feels horrible but no one remembers them telling them that. They all shared something that they are now wish they hadn't. But this is ridiculous. They had opened this story by stating how they were all best friends. How they knew each other so well. They have been through so much YET as soon as they tell something to their best friends that has been bothering them, they cloister up thinking that they will judge them? It's ridiculous. Jeff left a girl friend because she had a son (thus abandoning him like his father abandoned Jeff), Troy started a forest fire by burning a ant hill, Britta doesn't vote.

But Annie has a story that really has to be dealt with. She got the answers to a history test after she let their history teacher rub her feet. SUPER CREEPY. And she reveals this to the Dean! Will nothing be done!? Yes, Greendale Professors are horrible (as shown in one of my early blog posts), but they don't have sexual relations with their students. But everyone looks past this and agrees that they are all best friends again! hooray! Nothing has changed! Accept Annie was touched by a professor. And all she is worried about is that the Gang will thing that she is "a big slut." Priorities.

Sans Annie's creepy interaction, this episode would have been better for the first or second season. This way, the group's friendship would not be as strong or well tested. The conflict revolves around them worrying about what they thing of each other even though they have all grown so close. Bit of a disconnect.

Any way... Here's Danny Pudi (who plays Abed) praising the shows ability produce shows such as this episode. I think he's giving a very different perspective on the episode.

Well, hopefully, this week's episode will be better. Here are some pictures from the next episode. Seems Christmas really snuck up on us.

Let me know if you have any comments/ have a different opinion. Otherwise I'm going to assume that you think I hit the nail on the head.

See you all soon,
Tom B.

PS. best part of the episode...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Herstory of Dance (Season 4, Ep 8)

You Can Watch the Episode Here

The Greendale 8??

Character Development, as far as the eye can see! Abed, how far you have come and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we are all thrilled for his romance with Rachel. This dramatic developed was brought together by the Dean's most recent dance. In classic form, the Dean announces this dance to the Gang while dressed like a 1950's housewife. After the Dean tells that group that it will be a Sadie Hawkins Dance, Britta decides to make her own dance in protest. She starts to "britta" the situation by calling it a Sophie B Hawkins dance instead of  Susan B Anthony dance. Not backing down from her mistake, she promises Jeff that Sophie B Hawkins (a singer from the 90's) will be at the dance. Annie and Shirley both decided that they can find a date for Abed.

Abed opens the show by stating that in order to grow as a person he has "been making a conscious effort to get away from filtering everything through a TV." But presented with the opportunity to go to the same dance with two different girls (a classic opportunity for high jinx that was a "once and a life time opportunity") despite his desire for personal growth. He then allows Annie and Shirley to believe that Abed has picked their date. He even brings two sets of clothes tailor (Ha, puns) to each of the dates. Cue my favorite new character.
"We're you talking about me?"
Actually, yes we were, Rachel. Abed explains to the Coat Check Girl (Rachel) that he will be coming back to change clothes a few times and lies about not being about to decide which pair of clothes to wear. He goes hangs out with each of his two dates for a little while and then leaves to get punch. When he returns to the coat room, Abed and Rachel have this charming dialogue. (Click on her picture above to see the scene.) In classic romantic comedy style, Abed screws up and misses the person he is supposed to be with (Rachel) while chasing after the other love interests. He makes a public, fiery confession and Rachel comes back to him. Abed makes an apology and they enjoy the rest of the dance together. Through out this episode we see many instances where they click quite well and overall seem to genuinely fancy each other.

Sorry buddy, you did not need a fake mustache to get chips.
This moment wouldn't have been possible without Troy, by which I mean, since Troy couldn't help Abed, Rachel was able to help him. Troy gets roped into helping Britta with her dance but we can see that his desire for malarkey/ antics isn't being satisfied. Troy is disappointed by the banal tasks of gathering ice or getting more potato chips and desperately tries to make it an adventure.
Could this be a possible rift between Troy and Britta? To add to this possible division between those two, Jeff sends Britta a strangely personal text message at the end of the episode, even though they are standing ten feet away from each other. They then share a long gaze, then stand next to each other while Sophie B Hawkins performs. They have a history, and things between Annie and Jeff have been pretty stagnant. 

The last piece of character development felt the most forced. Through out the episode, Pierce is telling Britta to hold her ground against Jeff and continue to through her Sophie B Hawkins dance even though she won't show up. In the end, Pierce is some how able to get her to perform because of his old business connections. He then lectures Jeff about how "he doesn't like how he talks to her." Since when is Pierce a nice guy, especially to Britta. His final monologue felt forced and sappy. Possibly to placate Chevy? Or maybe these last two episodes were making him seem kinder so that he can be a jerk in one of the upcoming episodes (which wouldn't be a good reason, honestly).

Either way, I hope Rachel becomes a regular cast member AND i can't wait for this week's puppet episode. Check out the the clip to "Intro to felt Surrogacy." My favorite part of the clip, That the Jeff puppet has moving eyebrows. lol

See you guys soon,
leave me some comments,

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Economics of Marine Biology (Season 4, Ep 7)

You Can Watch the Episode Here

Whale Wars?

This episode was a Whale of a Fail Tale
We find the Gang, (minus Pierce), being briefed by the Dean on an important mission. The Dean explains that the school is trying to recruit a new student but he has something that the school needs: monay! Archie, the intended target is also highly unmotivated and is a complete buffoon. He scored a zero on his SAT and recently was arrested for trying to sell weed to a a police station. Since his parents are obscenely rich, if Archie goes to Greendale, he will provide Greendale with a steady stream of income for years to come. The Dean explains that amongst community colleges, he is considered a 'whale' due to this treasure trove of funds.  This is why he is asking the Gang to help convince Archie to come time Greendale. Annie and Britta both agree to help so their clubs can use some of the money, while Jeff decides to join because it requires them to be away from Pierce (this backfires on him). Troy and Shirley have their own plot line in which they attend a Physical Education Education class (not a typo). But more on that later.

What is interesting about this plot line is a single line that Archie drops which causes the Dean to go a little crazy. Archie pulls up to Greendale in a moped which he said City College, the rival and competitor of Greendale, had given to him when he visited their campus. Originally, the Dean didn't want to lie about the school, but now afraid that Archie will go to City College, is willing to do anything to get Archie to attend. The Dean starts to lie about classes, amenities, and throws a raging party to sway him. Annie and eventually the Dean realize that they have gone to far when they cause Magnitude to give up his catch phrase and give it to Archie. Point being, the Dean eventually stands up to Archie who has a magical realization that he just wants to be treated like a normal person instead of the son of a rich guy. Convenient? Yes, but this may be setting up a back lash from City College which would then cause them to activate whatever plan they had with Chang. OR this could just be the weak episode that I thought it was because with out this plot point to tie it with the rest of the season, it doesn't matter when it happened and it has no effect on larger plot lines.

Those Who Can't Teach...

For example, the Troy/Shirley Physical Education Education plot line was pointless. What do we gain from it? That Shirley's mothering experience has made her able to control children, that Troy isn't good at teaching, and the two of them are a bit closer...maybe. These three things along with the fact that there is a class that teaches Greendale students to teach Physical Education will not be relevant ever again in a Community episode. If the Shirley/ Troy friendship does grow, I will be surprised. They are just very different people.

The last plot line, was between Pierce and Jeff. Jeff has to keep Pierce away from campus. The Dean explains that Pierce has been a whale for Greendale and may become jealous of the attention that Archie is getting. So Jeff spends some time with him to get Pierce off campus. They end up going to a classic Italian barber shop to get shaves with straight blades (Think sweeney todd). (I actually have one of these in my home town but they don't serve scotch/ brandy. I'll submit the suggestion). Instead of the disaster of an afternoon Jeff was expecting, he actually enjoys his time with Pierce but things fall apart when he predictably finds out about why they are hanging together. Jeff later apologizes and Piece forgives him, aww, how nice. I think this was just another episode of make Pierce seem nicer and to give Chevy some screen time. If you guys watched the PaleyFest panel for Community from this year. You'll see that they hit that Chevy may not return if there is another season which, in my opinion, make the show better. I know there are those who love him, if you are one of those people please explain to me why you do (in the comments) because I have no clue why you would.

Over all, a fluffy episode, fun to eat (like a Let's Potato Chip) but no nutritional content. Looking forward to the next episode. I think it has something to do with dancing... not sure. I'll leave you guys with one of the minor but hilarious plot lines from this episode where Abed creates the Delta Cubes.

See you all next week,