TV: ‘Community’ rebounds after last week’s flop

By Nicolien Buholzer | | @nicobuholzer
Community airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Rating: 4.5/5

I’ll admit I was slightly worried for tonight’s Community after last week’s dud, “Virtual Systems Analysis.” The hype about finally entering the Dreamatorium was huge, and then the episode simply flopped. With the similar buzz about “Basic Lupine Urology” (aka the “Law & Order episode”), I was definitely worried I’d end up disappointed.

Yet I was far from it. Tonight’s episode took a refreshing step back from the character studies that have been the focus of the last few episodes. While the insights into characters such as Abed (Danny Pudi) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) were fascinating, Community was on its way to becoming too serious. The pointless, over-the-top goofiness wasn’t as prevalent, and it was definitely missed.

The episode opens with a Law & Order-esque introduction and then shows us the discovery of a smashed yam by the janitors. The yam turns out to be that of the study group. Although Professor Marshall Kane (Michael K. Williams) says he will give the group a “passing” grade, he also hints that if they can identify the person who smashed the yam, he will grant them a higher grade. Annie (Allison Brie), of course, insists on continuing on in the search for the culprit.

Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed take the traditional detective duo role, while Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) adopts the role as chief. Annie and Jeff (Joel McHale) act as attorneys, and Britta is the (unsurprisingly) incompetent tech gal.

The ensuing case is unbelievably hilarious. The entire episode is riddled with cop one-liners and a brilliant Troy-Abed dynamic. And Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) never fails to pop in with his ridiculous sexuality. And Britta’s 30-second scene in which she worked with a photo taken from someone’s camera phone was the perfect epitome of Britta being, well, the worst.

To avoid spoiling who the culprit is (as well as who dies at the end), I won’t say much more about the plot. This episode — written by Megan Ganz (my personal favorite Community writer) and Rob Schrab — proves Community has really hit its groove and deserves its season four renewal (so give it to them, already, NBC!).


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