by Mark Greig
When I started watching this episode I thought it was rather odd that the study group were starting history class four episodes into the season. That's because this was the second episode produced and really should've aired after 'History 101'. But some chronological inconsistencies are the least of this episode's problems.
This was essentially a filler episode, and not a very good one. The obnoxious German stereotypes from 'Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism' were brought back so they could annex the study room. The study group are very territorial about the place they first came together. It is their couch at Central Perk. Their booth at MacLarens. Their bar stool at Cheers. It is precious to them and they weren't going to let it go without a fight. Thus the stage was set for what looked like a promising parody of World War II films. Alas, that was not to be.
The potential was certainly there, but either because of lack of imagination or lack of funds (the budget has been seriously slashed this season) nothing funny or interesting really came of the conflict. This has been a recurring problem with this season so far. While the dialogue and character interactions are as sharp as ever, the episode plots come across as half baked. Few of the ideas the writers are introducing are taking off.
The whole point of the battle was to make the study group see things from another perspective. They saw themselves as the heroes, vanquishing the obnoxious German stereotypes from their special place by cleverly tricking them into celebrating their own culture at Greendale (big mistake). But to everyone else, they were bad guys, the evil empire that goes stomping around the campus doing whatever they want, getting whatever they want, and crushing anyone who stands in their way. And that was kind of it. After they realised they were the Nazis it was just one quick decorating montage and everything was back to normal. There was no real sense that the gang had learned any kind of lesson. We were told they had been forgiven but there were no scenes showing this. It was a badly constructed ending to a badly constructed episode.
Like Anthropology and Biology, the class the group were all taking this year was taught by a special guest star, the Great Malcolm McDowell (who will always be referred to as the Great Malcolm McDowell). He's Professor Noel Cornwallis, an Oxford professor exiled to Greendale after an unfortunate slip up with a co-ed (no doubt they discovered he starred in Tank Girl). He wasn't really used well in this episode. Like Omar before him, the Great Malcolm McDowell was here to play simply straight man to the group. Hopefully they make better use of him in later episodes.
Finally, IT returned this week. And that is all I have to say about that.
Quotes Without Notes
Dr. Ken: “It is not uncommon for victims of memory loss to experience syntactical confusion. Thus the inappropriate insertion of his name into a unrelated phrase.”
Dean: “No, he's always Dean that.”
The Great Malcolm McDowell: “And that failed ventriloquist name was Slobodan Milosevic.”
Reinhold: “Don't worry, if there's one thing we Germans don't do it's hold a grudge.”
Abed: “Unless we're talking about Die Hard 3.”
Jeff: “Or the 20th century.”
Abed: “That man saved my life. In a video game.”
Troy: “Someone must have changed the channel to USA 'cause I just saw a Burn Notice.”
Jeff: “When I was growing up, it was just me and my mom. I didn’t have much of a family, that is until I met you guys. So excuse me if I’m not willing to give up the place where we became a family.”
Troy: “I don't get history. If I wanted to know what happened in Europe a long time ago I'd watch Game of thrones.”
Two out of four episodes of Hogan's Villains.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.