'Community' Recap: 'Romantic Expressionism'
This week's episode of Community was a treat for fans, delivering on all the long-arc plotlines the first half of the season carefully built. As Britta and Jeff walk through the quad, we are briefly reminded
of Jeff's professor girlfriend when Britta points out the gold star on his fly, and she is scarcely brought up again.
They catch Annie talking to Britta's perpetually shirtless and shoeless ex-boyfriend (and Pierce's ex-bandmate), Vaughn. Jeff despises the over-earnest hippie, joking that he's surprised Vaughn "hasn't died from lack of service."
Anytime Eric Christian Olsen makes an appearance in this series he rules the screen. He was the best thing about the tragically underrated mid-00s Fox comedy "The Loop," and his brand of goofiness is comfortably at home on Community.
The possibility of this unlikely romantic pairing troubles both Britta and Jeff, for reasons well known to viewers but not revealed until later in the episode. The two, acting as Annie's "community college parents," devise a plan to drive her away from the skeezy Vaughn by turning her interest back to Troy before she becomes an object of all the douchebags on campus.
To put their plan in action, they go to Troy. Jeff whispers in his ear what male viewers of the program have noticed since the Halloween episode, that Annie isn't the nerdy pillhead from high school, but a total babe.
Confident in their conspiracy, they leave Troy to go after Annie (props to the writers, who have already snuck in some tv taboos in 8/7 central, for hilarious use of the word "boner").
The b-plot involves the gang (minus Jeff, Britta, and Annie) going to Abed's dorm to watch a b-movie called Kickpuncher and ripping off zingers. Sr. Chang joins them, resplendent in a white tuxedo, holding a can of what appears to be (I don't have HD) Olde British malt liquor.
Everyone gets laughs with their offhand remarks during the film except Pierce, who Troy thinks would be better served laying in his twin bed "thinking about how (he) used to be." Pierce's sense of humor is dated, mostly racist and homophobic jokes that no one appreciates.
He enlists the assistance of Greendale's sketch comedy troupe during a pre-screening of the next night's 80's flop, Kickpuncher 2. After failing to illicit laughs, he scolds them for being petty critics and Chevy Chase does one of his trademark falls on his dramatic exit.
One has to wonder if this isn't a commentary on the show's writing sessions, as Chase is well beyond his prime among such talented youngsters as Donald Glover and Greg Harmon.
After Troy, playing up his T-Bone high school persona, ruins his chances with Annie as well as hers with Vaughn, we see Jeff and Britta celebrating, sharing a tender moment over sodas. They are interrupted by Annie sarcastically thanking them for meddling in her life, Troy thanking them for turning Annie into another hot girl he's got no chance with, and an old man named Leonard thanking them for eating all the macaroni, a classic non-sequitor the characters can't help but address.
The sexual tension among the group escalates during study group, with nearly a minute of silent salacious glances and reactions across the table from all the principal characters.
Abed and Troy's questionably platonic relationship is brought up a few times this episode, as are half a dozen or so other callbacks: Britta's tap dancing, Vaughn's micronipples, Troy's "butt stuff" fetish, Jeff and Annie's steamy makeout scene during the debate competition, and the time Britta showed Jeff the poem Vaughn wrote for her.
Self-referencing writing can grow tiring, but here it used at Arrested Development caliber, which only makes the shows disciples more faithful. This show is getting so good, I'm already sad that it will someday be taken off the air.
Image © PR Photos
Story by Matt Anaya
Starpulse contributing writer