'Community' Recap: 'Debate 109'
Troy shows everyone Abed's short films on the schools website, starring a cast that is very similar to that of the very show we're watching, to which Troy offers the program's first bona-fide catchphrase, "This is wrinkling my brain!" Abed's Troy has spiky braids, but his Pierce is also named Pierce Hawthorne.
Pierce, the man of infinite talents, offers Britta his hypnotic services to help her quit smoking. In the band room, he attempts to hypnotize her into associating smoking a cigarette with the things that disgust her most: sex with a man and wearing attractive clothing .
Chevy makes one of his trademark totally committed falls into a drum kit and seriously injures his leg. Abed's latest film predicted this would happen, and he assures the group he's not a psychic, the group's antics are just that predictable. Dean Felton promises Jeff a parking spot to be Annie's debate partner, and without his masterful powers of persuasion, the school couldn't possibly defeat Simmons, the wheelchair-bound master debater from City College.
At Greendale, Dean Felton points out, the greatest intercollegiate achievement is having a "really gay basketball team." The premise of the debate, "Is man inherently good or evil?" is vague enough to offer Jeff an opportunity to use his rebuttal to seduce the most attractive judge, and, after engaging the crowd in a singalong to ELO's "Evil Woman," she awards him zero points.
The debate is postponed when the gay basketball team takes the gym, looking very butch in their 70s inspired short shorts and mustaches.
On the way out of the gym, Simmons teases Jeff, calling him "Sizzle," to which vows to debate him "so hard." As he and Annie decide she should get rid of the spinster librarian look and let her hair down. She shows a lot of cleavage as they read poetry together, stepping up the sexual tension which will, according to Abed's film, manifest itself in Jeff and Annie making out. Alison Brie gets some flattering camera angles as well as a great Freudian slip- "reproductive- productive!"
After an intense back-and-forth debate montage on the duality of man, Jeff gives a rousing final speech. Thanks to their diligent practice the night before and matching Glendale cardigans, City College will need a miracle to win.
Simmons goes off script, the boldest of debate moves, and runs his motorized cart from full speed to an abrupt stop, sending him flying in a Christ pose across the stage toward Jeff.
Jeff catches him, despite the fact that he hates Simmons, proving the point that man is inherently good. Annie kisses Jeff, who drops Simmons like a sack of potatoes because he's horny, and Glendale is awarded victory.
Britta didn't see any of this, excusing herself to have a cigarette to calm the nerves, which she can't since it makes her think of having a three-way with Pierce in a hot tub.
Dean Felton, the gimp-like Ethnically Neutral Human Being, and Professor Whitman run outside to celebrate, and John Michael Higgins' facial expression insists they're up to some kinky stuff. The secondary and third tier characters are used so efficiently, it's hard to notice when they're off screen.
This episode was very backloaded as far as the big laughs go, but that's the show's slow-burning nature. When this it feels like it's moving at "My Name Is Earl" pace (the punchlines showing up at the end of the first few scenes), it's really an investment in future gags. Abed's actor's few lines were all set ups for hilarious one-liners much later in the episode.
When Jeff enters a scene wearing a terribly ostentatious Burberry oxford shirt and matching socks, the viewer starts to question the fashion sense of the costume designer, but then he kicks his feet up to reveal matching Nova Check socks, prompting Abed to call him out on his vanity and then Pierce to say, "You know your shirt's trying to get out through your pants?"
Story by Matt Anaya
Starpulse contributing writer
Image © NBC Photos
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