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Community: Environmental Science

“That guy goes anymore nuts, he’s gonna win a Grammy.”

This is a great episode, despite the Chang. Perhaps even—dare I say it?—because of the Chang. No, that’s taking it too far: what makes this fast-paced episode so much fun is the way Chang’s 20-page essay assignment turns everyone’s anxiety up to eleven.

Troy’s fear of rats is not unique: great men throughout history have been afraid of rats, with their creepy, fleshy tales and tiny, beady eyes. Fievel’s loss was Abed’s gain, as it helped Troy realize that friends do more than help him. They help each other.

Shirley’s problem with the nervous sweats was adorable. That’s two episodes in a row that Pierce has managed to do some good: first, he helped Britta quit smoking thanks to some vivid threesome-hot-tub imagery, now he’s helped Shirley master the art of public speaking. In the first case, his help was accidental. In the second, it just worked. Here’s brownies!

But not even Pierce can fix Greendale’s Envirodale’s problems. This episode aired during NBC’s annual “Green Week,” in which the failing network tries to convince us that just watching TV will help us cool the earth and save the baby sea otters. It’s a stupid ploy, and I’ve always worried that NBC somehow manages to classify the “expense” as tax write-off. But trust Community to point out just how silly it is while still giving it the required lip service.

The theme of this episode is definitely Help. (Yes, it deserves a capital letter.) Troy and Abed’s duet of “Somewhere Out There” could be used in an afterschool special about the meaning of friendship and helping one another. Jeff even helped SeƱor Chang reunite with his super-hot wife to the tune of an uptempo jig. And, because man is evil and/or selfish, in helping others, Jeff was able to help himself.


Mark Says...

Oh dear. A Chang heavy episode. I can't think of anything more off putting. There is no way in hell that I am going to enjoy this- wait, are Troy and Abed singing 'Somewhere Out There'? They are! OH! MY! GOD! And the rat is even called Fievel. This is brilliant. This is fantastic. This is the best episode - oh, they've stopped. Ugh, and now there's more Chang. Will this episode never end?

No wait, they're singing again! And Greene Daeye are backing them up. I know, I can't believe they got them, either. I was worried they'd got that annoyingly self-righteous punk band. Oh, this is glorious. Not even Chang can ruin this moment. I'm sure if you could all see me now I'd look something like this:

Cool Cool Cool:

• Pierce: “First we give a month to Black History Month, and now we’re blowing seven days on the Irish.”

• Annie: “You’re the one with the silver tongue.”
Pierce: “Yeah, go tongue Chang.”

• Shirley: “I believe that fusing brownies with the internet will create the next Napster.”

Tres out of quatro manzanas gigante [sic].

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


  1. I haven't seen An American Tale in probably about a decade, yet I could easily sing every single word of "Somewhere Out There" along with Troy and Abed. Oh, the films of my childhood...

  2. The final song, cutting among Abed's and Troy's searching for the rat, Chang and his wife dancing and Shirley nailing the speech was incredibly well done. It was worth wading through the morass of the beginning to get to that point.

  3. I had never seen An American Tail, so I rectified that this evening. What a lovely film and what a difference it makes in watching this episode. The allusions are subtle, but beautifully done.

  4. You should also catch the sequel, Fievel Goes West. I actually like it better. It was Jimmy Stewart's last film. :(


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