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Community: Advanced Criminal Law

“I don’t know about you, but this feels like a real college to me.”

I jumped in the comfy chair, grabbed a cat, spooled up the Community streaming and said to myself, “Oh, it’s the one with the trial by the swimming pool!” And, indeed, “Advanced Criminal Law” is that one. However, it is also the one in which Pierce tries to write a song, and Chang dials it up to a nineteen. And did you know Abed is an alien?

This episode of Community throws a lot of plots at the wall, but only a few of them stick. Pierce is a sad-sack loser who wants to be important, but isn’t. (And knows it.) Chang is crazy, but not in a funny way. Britta’s willingness to take one for the team is funny, though, and the trial shows that Jeff, like Pierce, is something of a one-trick pony. Pierce only knows one song, and Jeff only knows one defense: 9/11.

But if Jeff and Pierce are struggling to realize their own inadequacy, Abed is coming into his own. While it took him a while to comprehend the nuances of messing with people, he quickly developed a complicated mess for Troy to wade through. Trust Abed to take one of the simplest forms of comedy (lying, basically) and make it into a complicated joke about the nature of jokes, honesty, and the meaning of friendship.

As Jeff said, “Everyone on this campus is crazy.” And they’re all working through a purgatorial process of understanding their limitations and trusting others to help them overcome those limitations. Troy may not be the brightest tool in the bush, but he can help Abed learn about how to interact with people. Jeff may be an idiot, but he’s a convincing conniver. Pierce might be a loser, but Annie’s neurotic force of will can shape him into a slightly less losery loser. Isn’t that what friends are for?

Mark Says...

It is about time that Jim Rash received more screen time. Can we have more Dean Pelton and less Chang, please?

This is one of those episodes where I vividly remember one single aspect of it (the famous trial by the swimming pool) and completely forget everything else. The B and C were like the Silence, only less creepy. Fun though they were, the minute I stopped watching, I forgot they even existed.

Oh, Jeffrey Winger. Josie is right (she always is): you are a one trick pony. If you want to get back into the legal profession, you really do need to learn another defence tactic. Have you considered using the Chewbacca defence, Jeff? It worked well for Johnnie Cochran (God rest his soul).

Cool Cool Cool:

• Jeff: “You have the savoir faire of a hyena. How is it that you and James Bond come from the same island?”

• Starburns: “My name’s Alex, dude.”
Chang: “Maybe you should spend five hours sculpting that into your face.”

• Dean: “Take that, Yale!”

• Jeff: “If crazy people can’t be at Greendale, where are we supposed to go?”

• Annie: “Pick up your pompoms, stuff your bra, and get ready for the team bus to leave you at a Taco Bell, because life is tough.”

Two and a half out of four Luis Guzmáns

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. I totally sympathise with Abed - I hate practical jokes, messing with people and all related 'humour'. Because I'm very, very gullible - in fact, despite also being from the same island as James Bond, I too have the savoir faire of a hyena.

  2. Ahhhhh

    Court near the pool. What a refreshing concept LOL

    With each passing episode during the first season, my love with this show grew exponentially !

  3. Juliette,

    the last nine words of your comments are bloody brilliant ! Love this ! A touch of French in British humour.

    (ah ! Allo, allo; Monty Python; the Goodies; the IT crowd, just to name these) (oh ! And Ricky Gervais too)

  4. Yes, this is the trial by the swimming pool. I'd pretty much forgotten the rest. But it was pretty memorable.

  5. Well I can't take credit for that, it's from the episode. :) But it's true!

  6. Juliette :

    awwww crap ! (bugger) You're right ! Now I remember LOL

    But please, take 15 % of the credit nonetheless.....

  7. Like Abed and Juliette, I am extremely gullible and so tend to strongly dislike any form of "practical joke." I've never really seen the humor in making other people feel stupid. And, this is what I felt a lot of this episode was about, both overtly and subtly. Like you say, Josie, no one really shines brightly here.

    I'm also afraid that I don't really see the humor in the Chang character. When he kissed Annie, I grimaced. Ick!


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