Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Community: Competitive Ecology

“Offence taken!”

I've noticed a pattern emerging with this season of Community. Episodes will usually have a very strong A-story, one that features the various members of the study group, as well as a much weaker B-story that will focus on Greendale's other misfits like Chang and the Dean. 'Competitive Ecology' followed that pattern to the letter. The A-story was great, the best so far this season. As for the B-story... I'll get to that in a minute.

Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon

It's no small thing to say that the study group has been through a lot together in their time at Greendale. They survived zombies, the space bus, two paintball wars and the disappearance of Annie's pen. Through it all they have come to know and love each other like a family. And like a family, they are completely messed up.

This week, Professor Kane assigned them to build a terrarium (which is sort of like a diorama). Rather than work with complete strangers, they decided to pair up amongst themselves. Simple enough. Annie teamed up with Jeff (no surprise there), Troy with Abed (ditto), and Britta with Shirley because neither of them wanted to work with Pierce, leaving him as the odd man out again, forced to work with Todd. But quicker than a punch from Kick-Puncher, things escalated, one thing led to another and before you know it, it's Annie's pen all over again.

In the end, after a day and a night of intense bickering, no one finished their assignment (besides Annie) and they all failed (even Annie). Worst of all, they broke poor Todd. Oh, poor, sweet Todd (he served in Iraq, you know). He just wanted to build his terrarium, but instead got unwillingly sucked into their weird and toxic love, nearly had his turtle immolated, and ended up becoming the scapegoat for their respective dysfunctions. Poor Todd.

Chang PI

I've always believed that, when it came to Chang, less was more. Now I believe even more less is good, as in none at all. In season one, Chang worked as the group's unhinged Spanish teacher, but since then the writers haven't really known what to do with him. Last season they made him a student, but that didn't work. This season they've made him a campus security guard and that isn't working out, either. I think that it is well past time that everyone admitted that Chang just doesn't fit in any more. Rather than try to awkwardly shove him in, they should just cut him lose and give all those spare b-plots to someone more deserving, like el Deano.

Notes and Quotes

-- This was originally meant to be episode four but was swapped for reasons I haven't bothered to look into.

-- Even when all around them were losing their heads, Troy and Abed never once turned on each other. That's true love right there. Even if they do spend too much time together.

-- Magnitude, the human catchphrase, made his season three d├ębut, and got a harsh dose of reality from Professor Kane ("You know they're laughing at you, right? I mean, that's my theory.")

Professor Kane: "As someone who has just finished spending the majority of his life in prison, what happened with Legos, they used to be simple? Aw, come on, I know you know what I'm talking about. Legos were simple. Something happened out here while I was inside. Harry Potter Legos, Star Wars Legos, complicated kids, tiny little blocks? I mean, I'm not saying it's bad, I just wanna know what happened."
-- I feel this man's pain. I don't understand what happened with Legos, either.

Professor Kane: "What is happening at this school? I have so many conversations that make no sense."

Troy: "I need to catch up on Breaking Bad."
-- That's the second shout out this season. I have a sneaky suspicion someone is a fan.

Jeff: “Guys, I just figured it all out.”
Troy: “Pierce, wake up! Jeff is gonna heal us!”
-- I love how this show makes fun of its own cliches.

Annie: “Jeff, maybe it’s just that no one wants to carry you all year.”
Jeff: “You’re right, Annie. It’s not personal. It’s not like people really like you. You’re just a good grade in a tight sweater.”
Annie: “Well, you’re just a bad grade in a tight sweater. And who the hell are you texting?! Everyone you know is here!”

Britta: “We didn't have time to finish.”
Annie: “Here’s mine.”
Jeff: “When did you even have time to do that? You’re pathological.”
Annie: “It’s too late for flattery.”

Dean: “I needed to know more about those firemen. Were they ethnically diverse? Did they bring a Dalmatian? Could I buy a calendar?”

Jeff: “Dean! What are you doing?”
Dean: “Nothing after lunch but I can skip lunch if you like.”

Professor Kane: “You all fail.”
-- Cue Annie's brain exploding.

Three out of four Harry Potter Legos.
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

7 comments:

Billie Doux said...

What a mean clique! All I could think of through the whole thing was that if I had to choose a lab partner out of that group, it would be poor Todd.

You have a point about Chang. I didn't hate his segment as much as you did, but they really don't know what to do with him, do they?

Greg Quinnell said...

Chang actually makes me laugh, so I have no complaints aboot him. Loved the pay off at the end of his bit, too, with the triple voice overs, heh. I AM gonna miss that head security guard, though. He was fun.

Also.... they need to bring back Todd. He was awesome. "While we were hiding, I found a turtle!!" Maybe he gets a study group of his own? Like the Frank Grimes to the main study groups Homer Simpson? Also they need to bring back Fat Neil.

Mark Greig said...

Billie, maybe it would be better if Chang became the Maris of Community, often mentioned but never seen.

Greg, Todd could join the cool study group along with Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Starburns.

Juliette said...

I have to confess, I've always hated Chang as a character. I've never found him funny and would be very happy if he disappeared. I like the biology teacher tho, he's a funny straight man. If that makes sense!

Patryk said...

Makes sense to me, it's really funny how he does not get the inside jokes that we do.

ChrisB said...

As someone who is obsessed with Legos, that line (with its spot on delivery) made me laugh out loud.

While I’m not a huge fan of Chang’s, I thought the film noir homage this week was fun. More fun, I’m afraid, than Britta who is nails on a chalkboard to me so far this season. The coda was just silly.

celticmarc said...

ARRGGHHHH

The matches B plot. A few good moments in there. What are they going to do with Chang in 5 days ????