Community: Biology 101

“You could have lived the rest of your life in blissful ignorance and died a happy pansexual imp.”

It's the beginning of another year at Greendale Community College and this one promises to be more fun and less weird than the first two years combined. I know this to be true because they told us so during a great big Glee-ish style musical number. Oh, and it looks like this is the year that Jeff and Annie are finally going to sleep toge- what do you mean that was a dream sequence? Dammit, Community! Don't tease us with your musical of lies like that. You more than anyone should know how fragile and borderline insane we Jeff/Annie shippers are. Do that again and I'm going Jack Torrance on the magic table.

Anyway, I digress. On to the episode.

Reversal of Fortune

I was surprised by how quickly Pierce was back in the group. I was fully expecting a quick fix but I didn't think it would be that quick. He was back in just as fast as Jeff was out. Oh delicious ironic irony. Jeff did everything he could to keep Pierce out of the study group but ended up getting himself excluded instead. Cast out into a lonely, scary, Chang-filled world, Jeff became the new Pierce: alone, bitter, paranoid and casually racist. And that was before the monkey gas made him go a little Stanley Kubrick.

As for Pierce, it looks like his time at the Laser Lotus Celebrity Center was well spent. I'm happy to see that Pierce seems to be genuinely maturing as a person. Of the group, he's the one who needed to do the most growing up. He was willing to let everyone think he was still the same old Pierce in order to save Jeff from being banished completely from the group.

War of the Deans

New year, new Dean. He's got a new suit, a new beard (no references to evil mirror universe counterparts) and a new attitude. He's not going to be putting up with any more National Lampooning at Greendale. First order of business: get Annie's Boobs out of the air vents because this isn't some Monkey Hotel he's running. Second order of business: find out why Greendale's Air Conditioning Repair School Annex is using school funds to buy an Espresso machine for its faculty lounge.

Big mistake. Because now he's incurred the wrath of the true power at Greendale, John Goodman's Vice Dean Laybourne. And this is not cuddly Roseanne John Goodman or 'I occasionally play clich├ęd Republicans for Aaron Sorkin' John Goodman we're walking about. No, this is full blown, big bad insane, classic Coen Brothers John Goodman. The kind of which we haven't seen since O Brother Where Art Thou?.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Omar Cometh

The start of a new year at Greendale means new classes and new teachers. Step forward the study group's new tough-as-nails biology teacher, Professor Kane. The important thing you need to know about Kane, beside the fact he's an ex-con, is that he's played by Michael K. Williams. That's right, Omar has come to Greendale, people. Start spreading the word. Awesome as it was to see one of my favourite actors on one of my favourite shows, Professor Kane wasn't really that funny. But if this season is going to have a straight man, it couldn't ask for a better one than Michael K. Williams.

The Opposite of Batman

Poor Abed. Just as he and Troy were announcing to the world their intention to live together, ABC had to go and move his beloved Cougar Town to mid-season. Britta tries to save the day, because that's what she does even if no one wants her to, by getting him hooked on the British original, Cougarton Abby (Seriously, that's the best they could come up with?) Too bad it only ran for six episodes and ended with a mass suicide because we like to give you closure. This was probably the weakest part of this episode. It was cute in places but in terms of laughs it kinda fell flat. In the end, it was just something for everyone else to do while Jeff went crazy and the Dean felt John Goodman's power go through him.

Notes and Quotes

-- Jim Rash is now a regular. Let's hear it for the Dean!

-- Not sure yet how I feel about Chang joining campus security. Chang does work better as an unhinged authority figure than as Greendale's resident Gollum.

-- If Abed really thinks that Inspector Spacetime is the greatest show he's ever seen, he should seriously give Doctor Who a try.

-- Britta has now decided to pick a major and become a therapist. You don't have to be Carnac the Magnificent to know this is going to end badly.

-- Starburns has added a lizard to his special hat and sideburns. But he's still annoyed that no one is interested in the drug dealing human being underneath all that.

-- Speaking of Starburns, exactly what sort of Breaking Bad thing was he hoping to get going with a biology teacher? Guess he needed that class more than Tory.

Jeff: “Yeah, we have parted ways with our closest, oldest, craziest, most racist, oldest, elderly crazy friend, and he's not coming back.”
Pierce: “I'm back.”

Troy: “Britta, why did everyone on Cougarton Abbey just die?”
Britta: “They only ran six episodes. That's the great thing about British TV, they give you closure.”

Jeff: “Hey dude, Sean Penn called. He says to dial it back ... Sean Penn is an actor.”
Kane: “I know who Sean Penn is. I seen Milk.”

Troy: “Britta, you've done enough, ok. Why don't you go start a ruiners club. Oh wait, you probably just ruined it.”
Britta: “Well then, I'd be doing a good job, because it's a ruiners club.”
Troy: “You ruined my analogy!”

Shirley: “I don't want to push it but this would be a great time to baptize him.”

Dean: “I forgot everything you said before rectum.”

Season openers are rarely ever completely satisfying. They have the undesirable task of introducing new characters, getting rid of old ones, resolving last season's cliff-hanger, wrapping up any dangling storylines, continuing ongoing storylines and establishing brand new storylines for the season ahead. 'Biology 101' did all of that (save for the getting rid of old characters part) and even managed to do some, if not all, of it really well.

Hmmm, let's say three out of four trips beyond the infinite.
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

14 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I couldn't believe how much went on in this episode. My favorite part was probably the 2001 take-off, where Jeff actually became Pierce.

Terrific review, Mark! Thank you so much for reviewing this show for us.

Greg Quinnell said...

YAY!!!! Hi, Mark. :) I really love this premiere. But I love anything community, though. Sadly, it didn't do well in the ratings and there are already rumblings of the show being canceled. Which, if it happens, means I'm gonna have to go and have a stern talk with NBC. And bring my bazooka!!

Celtic Marc said...

LOL Love the show, love the 2001 bit, and the show deserves a 4th season

Greg Quinnell said...

And a fifth. And a sixth. And a seventh...

Another of my personal fave jokes was at the beginning, when Britta was all like "I'm not gonna screw things up ever again, this year!!" Then Jeff's like, "Um, Britta?" and points at her textbook and she just looks down and gives an "Aw, crap," look, cause it was totally the wrong textbook. Not sure why, but that made me laugh.

Also.... Abed's panicked noise. :D

Mark Greig said...

Greg, when I read about Community getting such low ratings while something like Two and A Half Men gets 30 million viewers, I think I die a little inside. I would love for the show to run and run for years and years and get massive ratings and boatloads of Emmys but I think Dan Harmon's plan is to have the show run for only four season. That way it would cover Jeff's entire time at Greendale.

Gus Brunetti said...

I was wondering how they would extend the show for more than 4 years.

I think the ratings were particularly low because The Big Bang Theory had a double episode at the same time. It's hard to compete against such a hit.

Jeff's 2001 sequence is one of those scenes that remind me why I like this series so much.

And I also wonder: will we actuallt like Pierce this year? I hope so; I like happy endings in comedies.

Billie Doux said...

I thought they would just ignore the limit of four years if the show ran longer. They could even make jokes about it.

Mark Greig said...

I could definitely see Abed making some M*A*S*H references, Billie.

Billie Doux said...

Okay, Mark, stop reading my mind! I was actually thinking of M*A*S*H when I posted that comment but didn't include the reference.

Patryk said...

Jeff mentioned in one ep that he has the last day of year 4 marked in his calendar and mentioned it by exact date. For me it was something like a statement that the show won't last longer. So they would have to make everybody repeat a year or make Jeff the new dean to prolong the show. Not that I would mind, comedies rarely grab my attention but this one is amazing.

Patryk said...

Cougarton Abbey is a riff of Downton Abbey. That's why they didn't come up with something better. ;)

Juliette said...

I figured they'd switch everyone to part time degrees to extend the show. I hope it gets a 4th seaon at least. What were they thinking scheduling it against The Big Bang Theory, surely there's tons of audience overlap between those two? (like me!)

Juliette said...

I forgot to say, I quite liked this, simply because it had a reference to actual uni life - the total lack of funding!

ChrisB said...

I smiled a happy smile when I saw Omar. Hope we see more of him than we did Betty White.