Troy and Abed

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I feel like I just got socks for Christmas. After waiting and waiting and waiting for October 19th, it finally came tonight — albeit 3 and a half months too late — and new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port did disappoint, delivering the AT&T of Community episodes.

They Britta’d it people, throwing a garbage pale full of pop culture crumbs at the screen in an effort to Harmon-ize the show. Honestly, I’m really glad that Guarascio and Port probably spent a weekend watching season 3 on Hulu a couple of days before they made this episode, but did they have to try and make this feel like a tribute collage?

There are movie references (The Hunger Games, an utter failure and inexplicably absent any mention of Starburns’ nefarious facial hair. Inexcusable.), an animated Muppet Babies segment, a mockery of laugh track sitcoms (at least, I think it was supposed to be mockery), and a well deserved attack on chunky glasses, because the show runners decided that they must die, even though they make girls look 9% hotter and they really pull my look together.

As for the viewer response, from what I saw on Twitter during the show, it was mixed. Some superfans seemed to take pleasure in seeing these characters again, but others were underwhelmed.

I feel bad for the superfans. I’ve come to “know” some of them online, a great group who worked tirelessly setting up flashmobs and other events like Communicon. These people have become a well-meaning cult that worships this show, and I mean that in the best sense, not the sense that implies some sort of mental defect. Frankly, they deserved better.

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Personally, I think it was a poor imitation of a Community episode, and while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the flattery part falls short when someone is living in your house, wearing your clothes, and trying to be you. And while I’ve finally accepted that Dan Harmon’s Community is dead, I do believe that this show can still live and be worthwhile if the producers stop trying to court fans with awkward poses and instead, try to make them laugh and put out a good TV show.

Right now though, I am skeptical that they’ll have the guts to push this show away from it’s comfort zone, even though episode 1 of this unfortunate experiment seems to indicate that they really can’t find that comfort zone with a flashlight, a map, and ample prayer.

It’s simple, Community gained attention for the impossibly intelligent way that it spoofed pop culture, but in the first episode of a new era, the show went unintentionally meta and spoofed it’s past self in the most in-artful way. So far, this is #ThreeSeasonsAndACatastrophe

Best:

– Um… everyone looked like they took care of themselves over the hiatus. That’s good, right?

– It was only 22 minutes long.

– Dan Harmon is working on 3 new TV shows.

Worst:

– The end bit with Troy and Abed in drag made me contort my face and understand that this is the darkest timeline.

-Catatonic Abed was criminal and showed that the producers don’t get the magic of a character that is — arguably — the most important character on the show. This episode was written by Andy Bobrow, who also wrote “Basic Rocket Science” and “Pillows and Blankets”, proving that either he had a really bad week, or that Bobrow without Harmon is as worthless as saltines without Orangina. I really like Orangina. Harmon is Orangina, because that fizzy citrus drink makes everything better. I just killed this analogy, y’all.

– Dean Pelton and Jeff as almost-roomies. Hilarity shall not ensue.

Be sure to look out for this weeks episode of The Bastardcast, where I and Jeremy R! Hudson further examine this week’s episode of Community. 

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Under Dan Harmon, Community existed to poke normality in the eye, embrace the weird, and pay tribute to and/or mock… well, nearly every meaningful shred of the pop culture swaddling cloth, but now that he’s out, the show is in-arguably heading into a different era. Good or bad (so far, bad), the show will be different in some way, and so, as October 19th occurs across the globe and as Community returns in an effort to fullfill the promise of #SixSeasonsAndAMovie, we thought it would be best to name our top 7 episodes of Community, a task that was incredibly hard due to all the fantastic candidates.

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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.

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