Community: Accounting for Lawyers

“If I wasn't actively repressing my bi-curiousity right now, I would kiss you on your beautiful mouth.”

It seems strange to have a 'Jeff is a jerk and learns a lesson' episode so soon after they opened the season with a great big 'Jeff is a jerk and learns a lesson' episode. I could let it go if 'Accounting for Lawyers' had at least been a good laugh. But it was not.

Say hello to Alan Conner. He's a lawyer from Jeff's old firm, the Sundance to his Tango (they worked with different partners), currently at Greendale to attend NA meetings. Alan's presence has caused Jeff to revert back to his old, pre-Greendale ways. He's started skipping classes, wearing expensive suits, having lunch at fancy restaurants, and snubbing his study buddies so he can hang out with Alan; something they are not happy about at all.

In season one, Jeff was often referred to as being the dad of the group. But what has never been said before is how the group acts as the mom of Jeff. They look out for him, nurture him, make him study, and try to keep him out of trouble. So it is only natural that they don't approve of that Alan kid he's been hanging around with. But Jeff doesn't hang around with Alan because he likes him (how could he, Alan is a massive prat). He hangs around with him because Alan gives Jeff a taste of the life he has been cut off from. The life of a sleazy lawyer.

In order to save Jeff from being pulled back towards the darkside, our little study group embarks on an adventure away from the relatively safe confines of Greendale for the first time ever. The venue for their first field trip is a wretched hive of scum and villainy - Jeff's old law firm. They must be cautious. And ignore all of Abed's plans for avoiding trouble.

Despite the novelty of taking the group away from Greendale, there isn't really much about this episode that is fresh. It's virtually the same as every other Jeff centric episode. He acts selfishly. The group disapproves. He ignores them. He quickly learns the error of his ways, realizing that while this may be the place he wants to work, these are not the people he wants to hang around with. He'd rather hang around with cool people, like his study group. Cue group hug. Yeah, it's not the most earth shattering of revelations, is it? It's all a bit too Stan 'I've really learned something today' Marsh for my liking.

Josie Says...

Episodes like this make me think about the show as a whole. Not just how two back-to-back episodes repeat a plot, as Mark pointed out, but also how I remember the show versus re-watching it, episode by episode. After all, I think Community is brilliant--but a lot of that brilliance comes from the episodes that are exciting, memorable, and genre-bending. Episodes like this are just fine, but rather pedestrian in comparison to some of the better ones. The ones I actually remember.

And, again, I've got to agree with Mark twice over: first, that the slapstick Abed, Annie, and Troy chloroforming scene is hilarious, especially Troy tripping over the security guard as he runs out of the room. Second, the group-as-mom theory is a great one. I wonder if we can think about all tight-knit social groups that way: do they provide a sort of superego for the people in them? That's a sweet thought.

Notes and Quotes

--I think this is the first time we see the Dean in costume. And a rather memorable costume it is too:


--The best part of this episode was Troy, Abed and Annie's less than successful attempt at breaking and entering. The freak out that followed was hilarious.

Jeff: “Britta, you're not a whore. Shirley, Jesus turned the other cheek. He didn't garnish wages. Pierce, do I even need to say this? It is bad to hunt man for sport.”

Alan: “What are you doing here?”
Jeff: “I'm a teacher. Wait. That's worse than the truth. I'm a student.”

Abed: "I usually have one foot about of reality, and even I’m freaking out right now."

Jeff: "Shirley, don’t sue a stripper."
Shirley: "Why not?"
Jeff: "She's a stripper. Life sued her and she lost."

Annie: “Why me lookout? Why not you guys?”
Troy: “Because if someone comes up here, Kanye and Kumar get taken to jail. You get taken to dinner.”

Two out of four islands in Indonesia where you can hunt people for sport.
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

2 comments:

Juliette said...

I really like this one, mainly for Annie's chloroform habit and Donald Glover freaking out. Every episode should have Donald Glover freaking out in it. The hole in the hand thing was stupid and maybe hunting man for sport was going a bit far (though the payoff, in Jeff's line, is hilarious, so it's worth it) but overall I like it. I guess I prefer it to the season opener, Jeff and Britta's fake relationship was very funny but I prefer my heartwarming reconciliations to be attached to a pop and lock a thon

ChrisB said...

Interesting review, but I’m not sure what lesson Jeff learned. In however many years time, this group will graduate and go their separate ways. Jeff believes he wants to return to a world where there are no feelings, just the bottom line. As a result, the end felt stop-gap to me. As long as Jeff is stuck in the “zoo,” he will be caring and participate in dance marathons. But, as soon as he is free to “run in the wild again,” he will not. This one left me with a sad feeling.