by Josie Kafka
“This has the potential to be a uniquely Greendale experience.”
What does it mean to be human? What distinguishes us from the animals (grizzles or kitties)? Community answers these eternal questions: humans are judgmental, conniving, sexually and emotionally stunted freaks who make terrible decisions and run bathroom experiments on young Annie Edisons. But at least we have thumbs.
Troy and Jeff were both forced into awkward positions this week—oh, that doesn’t sound quite right, does it? Dean Pelton’s complicated sexual blackmail/crush scheme plays on Jeff’s desire to keep his secret from the “outside” (as he refers to the real world). And Jeff’s ability to convince anyone of anything (especially someone who admits he doesn’t know what to think anymore) means Troy “T-Bone” Barnes is caught between a master manipulator and Annie, who wants Troy to become the man she wants him to be.
As it turns out, that’s sorta the man Troy wants to be, too. He intentionally hurt himself in high school, and now he just wants to enjoy football and the pleasures of finding himself—and being himself—in college.
Britta may be the only woman in the world who has managed to fail the “tryouts for bathroom companion.” As an overly strident feminist with a tendency to preach rather than listen, she struggles with friendship just as much as Abed does, but lacks his understanding of what might be going wrong. Luckily, she has Shirley to guide her in a series of scenes that is both sweet and hilarious.
If any other show had attempted to suggest that feminists are women who don’t “get” women, I’d probably get all soapboxy and angry. But Community manages to make it clear that Britta is just britta-ing© the situation the same way she really does. And just as Troy finds himself exactly where he wants to be both in spite of and because of Jeff’s manipulations, Britta finds a feminist niche for herself when she gives Annie the girl-power speech Annie needs to hear.
As a human being, I am delighted that my people are accurately represented in a school mascot. Too long have us humans been marginalized, caricatured, and denigrated by the school-mascot industrial complex. “Football, Feminism, and You” asks us to consider who we are, and what we want to become—both for ourselves and in relation to those people who support us during out journey. As a symbol of this episode’s theme, The Greendale Human Being represents the best that our species can ever hope to achieve.
And it scares the hell out of me.
When you really think about it, the Greendale Human Being is not only a memorable mascot but also a rather clever game tactic. The other team will be so distracted by how creepy it is that they won't notice just how abysmal the Greendale team is. Instead of a humiliating defeat, Greendale will come away with a comfortable draw, if they are lucky (you never know when that linebacker's water will break).
That said, a falcon with a gun would've been a pretty kick-ass mascot.
Cool Cool Cool:
• Dean Pelton: “A lot of these students have been called animals their whole lives.”
• Abed: “Will they or won’t they? Sexual tension.”
Jeff: “Abed, it makes the group uncomfortable when you talk about us like we’re characters in a show that you’re watching.”
Abed: “Well, that’s sorta my gimmick, although we did lean on that pretty hard last week. I can lay low for an episode.”
• Britta: “I am a female pleasure unit. I require a new coat of paint.”
• Jeff: “It’s in your blood!”
Troy: “That’s racist.”
Jeff: “It’s in your soul!”
Troy: “That’s racist.”
Jeff: “Your eyes?”
Troy: “That’s... gay?”
Jeff: “That’s homophobic.”
Troy: That’s black.”
Jeff: “That’s racist!”
• Annie: “For that, you’ve convinced him to flush his life down football’s toilet again?”
• So many great quotes this week! I had to be picky.
Three and a half out of four human beings.