Community: Basic Story

“So be it. Let the lack of story.”

At first pass, the episode seemed to be just a lot of set up for the season finale. At a second look, it’s clear that the episode is largely focused on the Greendale Five’s utter inability to deal with normalcy.

The Save Greendale Committee has been somewhat miraculously been able to turn Greendale around in just a few months. Through what exactly? Is Dean Pelton just so incompetent that the Save Greendale Committee can accomplish in weeks what he hasn’t been able to in years? Or is it down to Annie’s To Do Star system?

Now that Greendale is less Greendale, the school board has sold it off to Subway (the same corporate overlord villain from “Digital Exploration of Interior Design”). The only possible way to save the school is convenient hidden treasure. Tune in next week to see how that plan goes hilariously awry.

Britta and Jeff appear to be dealing with the stress of Greendale’s closing and being forced to return to the real world relatively well, but their crazy is just being masked. Getting married? Really you two? I’ve never been a big fan of the Jeff and Britta pairing. I like him with Annie best, but, truth be told, both women are too good for him. I like that the sort of rekindling of their season one romance here wasn’t a serious ‘Oh it’s been you all along how could I have been so blind my darling’ sort of thing. Instead, both Britta and Jeff are panicking in the face of change. Jeff, in an Abed sort of moment, has decided that because his Greendale story began with him wanting to “bang the blonde,” it should end with them riding off into the sunset together.

Britta, a thirty-three year old with a degree in psychology but no career has decided that it would be easiest to settle into suburban blandness with Jeff than make a major life decision. On the one hand, you really can’t blame them. Greendale’s closing was sudden and it makes sense that they would fall into something familiar and known rather than taking a risk with change. On the other hand, they really shouldn’t be looking down on Abed and Annie for their less than healthy reactions. Those live in glass study rooms...

For her part, Annie wants to turn Greendale into a #CinderellaStory. No doubt she envisions the school’s plight going viral and getting serious media coverage, eventually culminating in a heartfelt piece on Nightly News where Brian Williams travels to Greendale to interview heroic grassroots activist Annie Edison, who single handedly saved her school.

Weirdly, Abed seemed to be more comfortable with the idea of Greendale closing than Greendale continuing on in an uneventful and boring manner. After five seasons, Abed is still unable to grasp that his life is not a TV show (even though it is...oh you know what I mean). Occasionally life does devolve into a half hour spent on a mindless app. It’s funny that Abed is unwilling to accept real life for it is, but it’s also sad. If everything’s a story, everything has a purpose. Bad things (like your best friend leaving to sail a yacht around the world with LeVar Burton) always happen for reason in a story.

Similarly comic and sad is the Dean’s breakdown over his labelmaker. It actually made me cry. There’s just something so relatable about finally thinking you have control over something only to have the proverbial rug pulled out from under you. The Dean loves his school and, although he may not have been the best at his job, he only wanted good things for it and his students. In that way his accidental turning on of the PA system is emblematic of his tenure at Greendale. He makes mistakes, but he really does love his students.

Bits and Pieces

Completed items on To Do Stars include:
Make copy of front door key
Renegotiate fish sticks contract
Investigate Gum Balls
Exorcise Gymnasium Demons
Post “no intercourse” signs inside library (Jeff, Britta, are you listening?)

Spotted on the whiteboard behind Annie and Shirley: “This may be your last chance for a screen capture!” Also, the chalkboard behind Britta and Abed appears to be flatlining.

Great continuity with the perennially drunk school bored members.


Abed: “Usually a lot more than this happens in thirty minutes is all I’m saying.”

Abed: “I have a plan. We’ll pretend our school has a world-renowned physics department. Dean, start learning Swedish.”
Dean: “I’ll do my best!”
Abed: “Hickey, do you keep in touch with any unstable criminals that you busted?”
Hickey: “Mmm...five.”
Abed: “Get them down here for costume measurements. Annie, we need to make a particle accelerator out of Kleenex boxes.”

Annie: “Who’s the lucky....?”

Jeff: “I love scotch and myself. I tolerate Greendale.”

Ronald Mohammed: “But the city defines a dog as any living entity with four legs and a tail, so raccoons, bears, mountain lions, mice, these are all just different sizes of dog.”

Hickey: “If I come over there, there’s going to be two sounds: me hitting you twice.”

three out of four to do stars


Freeman said...

This episode was hilarious. One of my favorite bits was Chang spying on the study group at the end. It was like four jokes stacked on top of each other.

It was funny to see them reference the days when everyone was just sorta standard sitcom characters. How the times have changed eh? Well, I guess the only thing that will never change is that pesky threat of cancellation always floating around.

I hope Jeff and Britta don't follow through on the marriage thing. They would be the most unhappy couple ever, geez.

ChrisB said...

Great review, sunbunny. You got much more out of it than I. I saw it as all set-up for next week's finale. That's not a bad thing. It was, in fact, funnier than many episodes have been lately.