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 episode left Greendale on the verge of war as tensions were rising higher and higher between Abed’s (Danny Pudi) pillow fort and Troy’s (Donald Glover) blanket fort. In this week’s, “Pillows and Blankets” the greatest battle of our time commenced. And in a glorious return to the concept episodes we fans love so much, the creators of Community decided to present the conflict through the lens of a Ken Burns-directed, PBS documentary. It had it all: solemn testimonials, photograph pan and scans, found footage via cell phone cameras, and every other war documentary trope you’ve been subjected to in your high school, social studies classes. Basically, this might have been one of their most genius concept episodes, yet.
In true documentary fashion the majority of “Pillows and Blanket” is told through a narration, provided fantastically by Keith David. Each member of the study group plays an important, and completely expected role. Annie (Alison Brie) serves as a nurse aiding combatants suffering from injuries like broken glasses and lightly grazed testicles. Britta (Gillian Jacobs) captures the horror of linen warfare with her often blurry and terribly framed photographs. Jeff (Joel McHale) uses his power of compelling speech to rouse both sides to the fight while at the same time sharing in a text message exchange with Annie like displaced lovers during wartime. Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) proves she’s as good at kicking asses as she is wiping asses and eventually becomes Troy’s second in command. Peirce (Chevy Chase) is the first to choose sides, joining Troy because he’s less weird and foreign, but quickly defects to Abed when Shirley is made his superior.
Desperate to bring the conflict to an end before the Guinness Records assessment guy arrives the Dean (Jim Rash) calls in Jeff to broker a peace deal between Troy and Abed. Of course, Jeff think this whole thing is stupid and doesn’t put his heart in it at all. It’s classic jaded Jeff. The magic friendship hats he gives Troy and Abed that would immediately make them best friends again fail and no words can convince them otherwise. Abed’s New Fluffytown (Eventually renamed Pillowtown for conceptual symmetry) and Troy’s Blanketsburg are too entrenched for war to be avoided.
The peace talks are a disaster and Troy issues Abed an all tomato. Note, that’s not a misprint. Pillowtown is to relinquish all territory to Blanketsburg by midnight or else. Abed refuses and Troy leaves.
Dean: Do people go to classes?
At 12:07 am forces from Blanketsburg attacked the Pillowtown territory, the old library. Feathers flew and the bodies piled up. It lasted six minutes and no land changed hands.
Pillows, but no sleep
Feathers, but no birds
Pajamas without children
Violence without purpose
I saw mommy kissing Exxon Mobile
-Amanda Johnson, poet by choice, lesbian by birth
As the conflict escalates both sides hatch secret weapons hoping to turn the tide in their favor. Troy seeks the help of Chang (Ken Jeong) who’s recently hired a group of preteens he met while moonlighting at a bar mitzvah as security interns. But really, they’re his own private army. He calls them the Changlorious Basterds. It’s like the Inglourious Basterds, but with “Chang” instead of “In.” I don’t get it, and neither does Keith David.
To combat the Changlorious Basterds, Abed unleashes the secret weapon Pierce has been developing since he humiliated himself at the Battle of the Big Bulletin Board. Warning, contents of the below video might be of a disturbing nature.
Annie and Jeff continue their wartime correspondence text messages, complete with nonsensical emoticons. Piece of sushi, birthday cake, stop sign, snow man, umbrella. That is until Annie finds out Jeff’s been delivering speeches to both sides to keep the conflict going in an impressive, Ferris Buellerian effort to hold off classes resuming. She confronts him by saying he only uses his words to get something he wants. She proposes he keep a journal, somewhere he can collect his thoughts without the intention of anyone else ever seeing them. Even in these dangerous times Annie tries to be something of a conscious for Jeff until he can discover his own.
Things begin to get out of hand when Troy and Abed begin implementing tactics that hurt each others’ feelings. Abed sends out an email to his commanders outlining ways Troy can be emotionally broken. Troy responds by texting Abed a hateful message pointing out he’ll never have another friend because no one will ever be as patient with him as Troy was. Real hateful stuff. Can these two ever resolve their differences?
Jeff, thinking about what Annie said, decides to try and make things right and during an agreed upon cease fire so both sides could watch Ski, Shoot, Sing, a biathlon/singing contest reality show, Jeff calls both Troy and Abed to a secret summit. It ends horribly with Troy and Abed coming to the agreement that whoever wins the war stays in their apartment and the loser must move out. Yeesh, these are harsh terms.
Everything climaxes at the Battle of Greendale in the north cafeteria. The forces of Pillowtown and Blanketsburg meet for their final battle. During which the Dean comes in and tells everyone the representative from Guinness World Records isn’t coming. He’s been fired. Without a reason to continue the war is over.
Except for Troy and Abed. They realize that according to their agreed upon terms the war is the last thing they’ll ever do together, and they can’t stop. Jeff sees his opportunity to make everything right and retrieves the magical friendship hats. This time they work because Jeff acts like he cares just enough for Troy and Abed to believe, and everything is restored to normal. Well, almost normal, Jeff learned the lesson that he would do anything for his friends, even go all the way back to the Dean’s office to retrieve imaginary, magical friendship hats. He writes about it in his new journal, then promptly gives the entry, which he calls pretty profound, to the film crew to include in the documentary. Yep, everything is back to normal.
Make sure you tune in next week, Thursday at 8pm on NBC for new Community! And if you missed this episode or any others you can always catch up on Hulu.