Community: Intro to Political Science

"Oh Abed. Will your reality ever come out on Blu-Ray so we can enjoy it?"

Community was bound to do a political satire at some point. I just wish they could've waited until they had something new and interesting to say on the subject.

To be fair, it is really hard to do a great political comedy these days. Real life politics has become such an absurd self-parody on its own that satirist just can't keep up. Three quarters of The Daily Show’s work is already done for them by ignorant senators, bumbling congressmen, the incompetence of CNN and the sheer insanity of Fox News. So I shouldn't be too hard on this episode for its lack of satirical bite. It was still Community, and therefore still funny and also featured a lot of great Jeff and Annie moments.

In fictional elections there are usually two distinct types of candidates – the idealist and the showman. The idealist is someone who is serious about the role, the issues and actually wants to do some good. The showman is charismatic, yet shallow. They tend to have no policies, no clear vision for the future or even any enthusiasm for the job they are campaigning for. What they do have is a nice smile and a love for all things red, white and blue (regardless of the fact that a lot of flags have those colours, including Britain and France). Annie and Jeff, who have now established themselves as the show’s Hepburn and Tracy, take on each of these roles respectively, as they battle it out for the honour(?) of shaking Joe Biden's hand.

True to type, Jeff has no interest in politics. He just wants to show Annie how much of a joke modern politics is, how all it takes to succeed is white teeth, a sharp suite and hollow patriotic speeches. And he’s right. Many have been elected to high office for less. But that’s not all it takes to succeed in the cutthroat world of politics, as Annie is quick to remind him. His laidback charm was just no match for her pathological need to excel at everything she sets her mind to. Annie did what any good politician would've done in her place - she destroyed her rival by exposing a dark secret from his past, in this case Jeff's embarrassing audition tape for MTV's The Real World.

If only Annie wasn't cursed with a conscience - the one thing no successful politician should have – she would've won (or at least come second to South Park). Instead she's in the supply closet with Jeff. This scene was a Jeff and Annie bonding scene. There was even a "M'lady" at one point. They're basically going through the same old motions they did in season 1. But those motions lead to one hell of a kiss last time, so I'm curious to see what it leads to this time.

While this episode fell a little flat as a political satire, it did work well as a parody of how media represents election campaigns. Abed and Troy take a break from hosting Tory and Abed in the Morning to act as political commentators. And great fun they were too. Their coverage of the debate was more entertaining than the actual debates and the highlight of the episode.

While this was going on, Abed was having his own side adventure with Secret Service Agent, Eliza Coupe, who may or may not be Abed’s soul mate, something I’m sure Troy was not jealous about at all. Abed finds a kindred spirit in Agent Eliza Coupe. Abed can see through her stern exterior and see the lonely soul within. Is she the non-Tory shaped love of his life? I'm not so sure, but I've gotta admit that allowing yourself to be considered a threat to national security just so you can kind of spend time together is impressive as far as romantic gestures go.

Notes and Quotes

--Jeff was once a George Michael fan. You learn something every day. And no way did Joel McHale look 19 in that video. And how did Annie get hold of it so quickly? Methinks she's had hold of that tape for a while.

--Some jokes can't be described, they just need to be screencapped:


--Pay close attention to Tory and Abed's show and you'll learn that Professor Slater is still missing, among other things.

--I know it was just a throw away gag, but I was really disappointed with how uninspired the show’s depiction of Biden was. Everyone makes jokes about how old and senile he is meant to be. Why couldn't they have taken a page out of Parks and Recreation's book, where the seemingly irresistible VP is the object of Leslie Knope's lust, and given us something different?

--The final, nail baiting debate between Magnitude and Leonard is probably the best comment on political debate I can think of. Two people just shouting a load of nonsense each other.

--Pierce is back from rehab and is still being a complete d**k. He’s branched out from the study group. I cheered when it turned out Vicky had stabbed him in the face.

Jeff: "Politics are all about ego, popularity and parlour ticks."

Abed: "For GCTV this is Abed Nadir saying: Did you know you can make napalm out of common dish soap and cat food?"

Troy: "According to our polls, the campus is almost evenly divided. Now keep in mind, the margin of error on this thing is about 98%."
Abed: "Could be higher. We don't even know how to do margins of error. We talked to two people at a vending machine."

Jeff: "Don't kid a lawyer."
Annie: "Well if I see one, I won't."

Three out of four notches.
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Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

3 comments:

sunbunny said...

I hadn't realized it until these latest reviews, but the second half of season two was pretty darn underwhelming. It definitely had its high points, but this isn't one of them.

I read your review, realized I had no memory of the episode, and watched it again. I can see why I'd forgotten it. It's not bad, its' just sort of meh. Maybe Meh +? I did love Abed and Troy's coverage of the election and I especially enjoyed the ticker at the bottom. "Why do we watch tickers? More at 12." :)

Mark Greig said...

The ticker was packed with great jokes. Community is one of the best shows for background gags.

ChrisB said...

I had forgotten this one as well, but enjoyed it when I re-watched it this morning. As you say, the "media coverage" is very well done, but I love the romance between Abed and Coupe. It made me smile the first time I watched this and it made me smile again.