Everyone else has said it. Now it’s my turn. Community is indeed back. “Cooperative Polygraphy” was an old school episode of one of my favorite shows. Better than that, it was a GOOD old school episode of one of my favorite shows.
At its best, Community is not only funny, almost unbearably irreverent and starkly satirical. It makes us think. As a culture, we mourn in a very formulaic way. Appropriate sadness, insistence that we “loved” the decedent and they will be missed followed by moving on. Is it better to mourn in the traditional way in which all your negative memories of the deceased are erased (even if that involves erasing 90% of their personality) or is it better to do embrace that person: all of them, flaws included. Isn’t that ultimately a better way to honor their memory?
And really, it’s not that hard to mess with the study group. Shirley and Britta have such opposing worldviews it’s frankly a miracle they’re friends. Troy and Abed’s best friendship necessarily means that the other members of the group are kept somewhat at a distance. And then we get into all the secrets Pierce knows about the group, all of which fit perfectly with their characters and aren’t just shoehorned in solely to make jokes. Troy is so desperate to be liked he looked up a best friend handshake on YouTube. Britta needs to be high to sit through a baptism. Annie once drugged the study group to up their focus and steals from Troy and Abed, but only in order to make sure they’re saving money. Shirley feeds meat to vegetarians to save a few bucks. Jeff keeps trophies. Abed has no sense of personal privacy and will go to great lengths for pancakes.
The ending was bittersweet, but, ultimately, appropriate. Pierce wasn’t into façades. He never ‘got’ Abed and he acknowledged so in his will. Abed didn’t seem to mind. Pierce knew and liked Jeff and picked out the perfect gift for him, a bottle of Scotch, but, naturally, couldn’t resist a few more gay jokes. Their relationship was real but wasn’t based on a deep emotional connection. What he gave (and what he said) to Annie, Shirley, Britta, and Troy was beautiful. Pierce had a rocky relationship with Shirley from the pilot episode. Here he acknowledges that and told her what she needed to hear. She is a strong, smart woman. His gift to her was fitting. Shirley works the hardest of anyone in the group and she most deserves a vacation. Pierce always looked upon Troy as sort of a protégé, so it stands to reason he would give him his fortune. Making him sail around the world for it is reasonable compatible with their characters. Plus the writers had to get Donald Glover off the show in some way.
Pierce refers to the events of “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking” when he finally gives Annie the tiara and tells her again what he told her in that episode. She is his favorite. It was what he said to Britta that got to me. Pierce doesn’t tell Britta she’s perfect. Doing so would feel false; Britta’s far from perfect. He acknowledges what makes Britta special and tells her she hates herself more than she should. I think we all deserve someone to tell us that. He also gave her an iPod, a callback to season one’s “The Art of Discourse,” in which it was revealed that Britta does not have an iPod but will have a “used iPod Nano” in 2014. Well done, writers. And of course, they all get semen. Because it’s Pierce.
Bits and Pieces
I still don’t think Pierce is dead. I fully expect the tracker Abed planted on Pierce to start moving soon.
Polygraphs do not work that way. Nor are they 100% accurate.
Mr. Stone pronounced Abed the same, incorrect way Pierce did, even after Abed correctly pronounces his name on the record. I’m sure that was in the instructions.
If you don’t include the tag, “Cooperative Polygraphy” was technically a bottle episode.
Shirley: “If there is a blurple, the Lord keeps it hidden for a reason.”
Abed: “I always wanted to try a polygraph. They’re like the pie fight of cop movies.”
Abed: “If I had a final wish, I’d use it to stay alive.”
Britta: “Yeah well if I wanted the government in my uterus, I’d fill it with oil and hispanic voters.”
Shirley: “Annie, you should know better than to hoard money. That’s a stereotype.”
Annie: “Was that anti-Semitism?”
Shirley: “No! That’s sensitivity. It’s anti-Semitic to do things like that when you know full well you’re Jewish.”
Troy: “SILENCE WENCH!”
Abed: “Cool. Cool, cool, cool.”
Woman: “That’s a lie.”
three and a half out of four life essence containing lava lamps