Community: App Development and Condiments

“You people are monsters.”

When Abed and Troy made a blanket fort, it quickly engulfed the entire campus. When Dean Pelton introduced a game of paintball assassin to the school, it turned into an out and out war. Just this season, a childish game of ‘don’t touch the floor’ transformed the campus into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. So why on earth would the Dean agree to beta test a new app at Greendale? I am sincerely grateful for that lapse in judgment. It provided us with another hilarious high-concept episode, the kind you really only get from Community.

It wasn’t “Modern Warfare”-perfect but it was a far cry from the disaster that was “Intro to Felt Surrogacy.” The Meowmeowbeenz app allowed the show to parody everything from how trends start to the politics of popularity to actual politics. What begins as a Mean Girls-type scenario (twos and threes wear grey) ends up as a dystopian nightmare where a small group of outlandishly dressed individuals control every facet of Greendale life. Predictably, this doesn’t sit well with Britta, the mother of ones, the mustard face slayer, who leads a people’s revolution, complete with beret and propagandistic posters. Again, I must say I am happy and relieved to have season one Britta back. After three years of being little more than a punchline to a dumb blonde joke, Britta has reclaimed her roots.

Just as many predicted, after last week’s meta ‘Shirley doesn’t get a lot of screen time’ comment, Shirley was brought to the forefront this week; the Jeff/Shirley friendship makes a triumphant return. Previously seen in “Social Psychology” and “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism,” but rarely touched on, Jeff and Shirley are, in many ways, very similar. As this episode points out, both are control freaks fond of manipulating their friends. Jeff tends to rely on speechifying while Shirley pulls out the mom standards of passive aggression and guilt, but the end result is the same. They conclude the episode agreeing that they should be better friends (which will never happen, because this is Community, the land where character development never sticks).

Everyone else is very much in character this week as well. Britta is incapable of stomaching social inequality. Annie takes to sycophantically following Shirley around. Abed is at first overjoyed that the intricacies of human interaction have been converted to a numerical system, but is uncomfortable when he is raised above everyone else. We still don’t know too much about Hickey, but I have to say his going along with Meowmeowbeenz because “Mark Zuckerberg is Fidel Castro in flip-flops” is a weak justification and more than a little weird.

My one substantial complaint about the episode is Koogler. Who? Why? Koogler seemed little more than a lame way to feature Mitchell Hurwitz (creator of Arrested Development). His role in the episode could easily have been filled by a recurring character. It was bizarre so much focus was placed on him.

Bits and Pieces

How much mustard was on Starburns’ sandwich?


Dean Pelton: “Look what Facebook did for Harvard, right?”

Abed: “Meowmeowbeenz takes everything subjective and unspoken about human interaction and reduces it to explicit, objective numbers.”

Jeff: “Haul, ball it, never call it. Girls are objects.”

Britta: “I shouldn’t have to put mustard on my face for this to make sense.”

Dean Pelton: “Fives have lives, fours have chores, threes have fleas, twos have blues, and ones don’t get a rhyme because they’re garbage.”

Britta: “I’m a psych major. Words are my weapons.”
Guy: “I’m a security guard. Weapons are my weapons.”

Britta: “Long live the review-loution!”

Britta: “Nonsense. All fives were reduced to oneness in the great purge of about two minutes ago.”

three and a half out of four meowmeowbeenz


Freeman said...

The mere presence of Tim and Eric elevated this episode. I wouldn't be surprised if they designed everyone's costumes. This episode was hilarious. I just love how Greendale is so easily roped into these hideous hive minds. And it was beautiful how Jeff basically pointed that out in the end.

I really do wish at least SOME of the character development that happens in episodes would stick, but I guess a lot of the comedy would be lost if everyone was all well-adjusted and level-headed.

Mitch Hurwitz actually played a very similar character in Workaholics, Cool Eric. I thought he was funny, even though he totally appeared out of nowhere. And come on, that "movie trailer" during the credits was great.

Hickey's sad interrupted speech at the beginning was one of my favorite parts. It'd basically how I react to anything that mystifies me.

Mark Greig said...

Only Community could take a story about the group trying out a new app and turning it into a Logan's Run parody with just a dash of Zardoz. Happy to see they are continuing to de-dumbing of Britta and returning her to her season 1 best.

ChrisB said...

Although I liked this episode and respected what the writers were trying to do, it felt like a parody of itself after a while. Maybe the writers just took on a bit much, but I didn't think it finally worked that well.

There were, however, some wonderful moments. The Jeff/Shirley talk was classic.

Juliette said...

For some reason, I was buying it until the crazy costumes (like Jeff's spectacular blue piece in the picture). Because, I can buy Greendale turning into a Logan's Run esque sci-fi dystopia but not that everyone had time to make or buy special clothes? Is that where the line is where my suspension of disbelief collapses? That seems totally arbitrary, but there you have it!