Community has returned after a three month hiatus that had fans freakin’ out with fear their favorite comedy was gettin’ axed. Thankfully, Community prevailed and is back where it belongs, Thursday nights at 8pm on NBC. Make sure you join us every week as we recap the continuing exploits of Greendale’s most infamous study group.
Last week’s episode explored normality, this week’s Community took a deeper look at the weird. Abed (Danny Pudi) and his ever growing addiction to hiring celebrity impersonators to act out famous movie scenes is at the crux of this episode. The addiction is beginning to put a strain on the group, but it’s affecting Troy (Donald Glover) the most, even while he seems to be in denial of Abed’s problem. The B plot focuses on Jeff (Joel McHale) coming to terms with needing help to manage is incredible ego, and it’s a journey to the center of what makes Jeff, Jeff.
Gathered in the study room Annie (Alison Brie), Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), Pierce (Chevy Chase), Troy and Abed share what they did over break and what new excitement they have coming up at Greendale. Britta is super stoked for a new psych class where she’s encouraged to study a fellow student, everyone else can only groan at the thought of all the terrible diagnoses she’s sure to make.
Jeff: It appears you’ve all noticed that my swagger has an all new swagger.
Seems while Mr. Cool was on break he broke down and visited a shrink. Now on new anti-anxiety pills Jeff’s self-confidence has skyrocketed and Britta warns him his ego could get out of control without the little self-doubt he had to keep it in check. But there’s no time for Britta to continue lecturing because right at that moment a celebrity impersonator hired by Abed bursts in the room doing his best Tommy Lee Jones from The Fugitive. As he and Abed act out the climatic scene Chang appears and, assuming the impersonator is brandishing a real gun, attempts to shoot him with a tranq gun he got from a friend at the zoo. The incident ends as expected, with mishap, and it only helps to raise concern among the study group that Abed’s celebrity impersonator addiction is getting out of control.
Chang must answer to the Dean about why he was firing a tranquilizer gun off in the library and Chang blames his use of extreme measures on him being the only security guard as Greendale. The Dean reminds him the school’s broke and can’t afford to hire help. Chang responds with this:
Dean: Okay. I don’t know who told you pouting was an option for you, but all you’re making me feel right now is hatred of Renee Zellwegger.
But creepy-squinty-pouty face works and the Dean agrees to allow Chang some students as security interns with compensation of a credit in safety or math or something.
Britta continues berating Jeff about the narcissistic time bomb that is his ego and how it’s ready to blow. But self-confidence without restraints is a heady drug and Jeff can’t stop, without anxiety Jeff is an unstoppable, handsome machine fueled by flattery. No one’s immune, least of all the Dean.
Making a guest appearance this episode is French Stewart as the owner of the celebrity impersonator service Abed’s using. He’s a shady sort of guy named Vinnie and a former French Stewart impersonator. He was smart though, moved up to management before the gold mine that was French Stewart impersonation went dry. Stewart’s great in this menacing and jaded role, he’s in no way the zany character you’ve come to expect from him, but still hilarious.
Vinnie comes to Abed demanding payment as it seems Abed is behind on ponying up for his hired impersonators. He’ll let it slide if the study group agrees to help out at an event impersonating the celebs they look like: Jeff is a hotter Ryan Seacrest, Annie’s Judy Garland or Anne Hathaway if they add a few more teeth, Shirley being a curvy, black woman can be no one else but Oprah, Troy and Britta are dead ringers for both Michael Jacksons and Pierce is Fat Marlon Brando. Or Burt Reynolds. But, no, yeah, definitely Fat Brando. They squabble about whether helping Abed work of his debt is the way to help him kick his impersonator addiction. Troy shames everyone for trying to change Abed calling him elf-like and magical and in turn he makes all of their lives more magical. Feeling guilty, everyone agrees to help.
Before he leaves, Vinne pulls Troy aside.
Vinnie: But here’s the deal. Um, if you guys mess this up then his debt is overdue. And I don’t send another bill. No, I send two guys who look a lot like Ving Rhames and Michael Chiklis. And they do a very convincing impression of breaking your friend’s legs. Their secret is…they actually break them.
Their gig is a bar mitzvah and while in character they must remain in their assigned quadrants and cannot fraternize with other impersonators. Troy is desperately trying to make everything go smoothly, but Abed with his crippling addiction to celebrity impersonators isn’t able to follow any of these rules and soon he, as Janet Lee Curtis, is riding piggyback on Lorenzo Lamos. Jeff isn’t getting any better either as he’s bombarded with flattery and is constantly being told he’s better looking than who he’s impersonating. All the digs at Ryan Seacrests’ expense are great, but the situation of Jeff’s ever-expanding ego is about to go nuclear.
Oh, and Chang’s there working security and attempting to recruit young, Jewish kids for Chang’s army.
Jeff is failing to fight off his ego. Every women at the bar mitzvah keeps throwing themselves at him and Britta tries to help lessen the narcissistic impulses by hurling insults and pointing out his flaws, but it’s no use. Everything falls apart during the bar mitzvah’s award show. Knowing there’s an award for most handsome Jeff is compelled to wait around to find out if he’s won, even though every award thus far has gone to Howie, the kid’s whose bar mitzvah this is. When the award’s announced and Jeff’s name isn’t called, the apple explodes. With his ego in control Jeff snaps and completely freaks out. He rips his shirt, rushes the stage, kisses Shirley all while yelling, “YOU ALL WANT IT!” Chang and his new minions attempt to put him down, Chang even fires off another tranquilizer but it can’t stop the rampaging, ego-driven Jeff from stealing the award and storming off.
Any fear that this outburst has put Abed in danger is gone once Howie thanks his father for hiring The Hulk. With Jeff’s Hulk-ing out a success, Abed’s debt is repaid. But has Abed learned a lesson about throwing all his money away on celebrity impersonators?
No. When Troy gets home he finds Abed reenacting Patch Adams with another impersonator. Troy flips and yells at Robin Williams to get out. His realization that his friend does indeed have a problem forces Troy and Abed to get serious. And not just pretend serious, Troy tells Abed he has to trust him when he tells him to pull it back sometimes. Being weird and indulging your every whim can have consequences for yourself and others. It’s interesting to note this episode was intended to air before last week’s, so Troy’s realization at the end of “Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts,” that him and Abed are weird and should embrace it comes after them agreeing they need to tone back the weird sometimes. It might makes things a little confusing at season three moves forward, but either way Troy and Abed’s relationship is definitely going through changes.
After their heart to heart Abed goes to the dreamatorium for some alone imagination time. Well, he’s not really alone. He’s never alone.
Britta finds Jeff stumbling down the road, still a little delirious from the tranq and being yelled at by passerbys, “I love you Seacrest Hulk!” To make the scene completely perfect the sad Hulk theme is playing. He admits to Britta he needs help and wants her to treat him using her newly acquired psychiatry powers, but she refuses saying she wants an easier case, like Abed.
Abed has always been Community‘s most unique character. He’s someone completely comfortable in his own skin, unlike say, Jeff, who is constantly seeking approval. Abed is also often removed from the drama and action which allows him to comment on what’s happening, usually in the language one would use when deconstructing the common tropes of television. With this latest appearance of Evil Abed you have to wonder where the writers are taking him this season? Will Abed eventually sink further into his delusions or will we see him trying to kick the “weird” habit?
Only way to find out is to keep tuning in every Thursday at 8pm on NBC!
And now, Chang doing his best Patton. This can’t mean good things for the future of Greendale.