Community: Basic Genealogy

“I wanna believe you’re right, Britta, but you never quite are.”

While Community sometimes overdoes the saccharine, when the show gets it right, it knocks it out of the park. From Jeff’s realization that his study group is a family to Shirley’s Abed-inspired pride in her children, Family Day at Greendale Community College did exactly what it was supposed to do: it brought people together. Sometimes with sex, sometimes for $25,000, but mostly because of shared affection.

Jeff’s relationship with Michelle Slater, Ph.D. is over. That was fast (not as fast as I expected), but not a bad thing. Jeff isn’t willing to tell his mother about his unlawyering, but he ‘fessed up about the breakup to the study group right away. Might we say that Jeff wasn’t wrong, since Greendale (or at least the Greendale Seven) is his real family?

They’re likely the best Pierce will be able to find, given his seven ex-wives, twenty-three conniving ex-step-children, and pathetic uncoolness. As Jeff said, “he’s a racist, homophobic old goof” who “does bad stuff all the time.” But he’s part of Jeff’s ad hoc family, and Jeff wants to be a good friend, just like Annie said. And Jeff only slept with Amber once, even though he wanted to do it twice.

Shirley’s disagreement with Gubi Nadir about appropriate parenting styles was delightful. Sure, it is a little weird that the burqa is portrayed as something one just takes off to reveal western clothes underneath, but whatever. Shirley’s unruly kiddos did the right thing, letting Abra play in the bouncy house—and it’s a testament to Shirley’s parenting that they did.

The highlight of the episode, though, is Britta’s desire to respect her elders. Well, not her elders: Troy’s grandmother. The whuppingly intense black woman is about as nuanced a portrait as the burqa-ed Muslim girl, but it’s hilarious to watch Britta attempt to participate in what she sees as a culturally-appropriate ritual that is respectful of oldness and blackness. She could have just walked away. And hipsters could just buy pre-churned butter. But sometimes, they have to participate in nightmarish scenarios to feel respectful.

Let’s let Jeff have the last word this week, like he usually does. Because he’s not wrong, and it’s a very sweet sentiment: “If you have friends, you have family.”

Mark Says...

I don't know what was more bloodcurdlingly adorable, that the Greendale Human Being had a Little Human with it, or that the Little Human Being seemed to be carrying around a Little Human Being baby?

Poor Jeff. He was entertaining the idea of taking the biggest of big steps—introducing his girlfriend to his mother—when suddenly he gets dumped for reasons that remain unknown. Don't cry, mate. She isn't worth it. Remember, she always made you watch the shows she wanted to watch. She made you watch Glee. GLEE!!! I think I speak for everyone here (even though I don't) when I say that you are better off without her.

But is anyone else annoyed that we never found out exactly why Slater broke up with Jeff? Was she still jealous of Britta? Did she catch Jeff making googly eyes with Annie? Or Abed? Did she finally get sick of filing paperwork with the Dean? Is she really a covert operative for a super secret government agency and breaking up with Jeff was the only way to keep him safe from the insidious forces of C.H.A.N.G. (Crazy Homicidal And Nuts Group)? Come on, tell us! We need to know. This is like an unresolved Lost mystery and it is really bugging me.

Cool Cool Cool:

• Professor Slim Calves: “Jeff, we need to talk.”
Jeff: “What, are you breaking up with me?”
Prof.: “Whew! Maybe we don’t need to talk.”

• Jeff [to Annie]: “Disappointing you is like choking the little mermaid with a bike chain.”

• Cop: “This isn’t going to stop until Pictionary bans the word 'windmill.'”

• Pierce: “Have a family. Share your life. That and understanding computers are two things you just can’t knock out at the end.”

Three and a half out of four switches, used for whupping.

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

3 comments:

Juliette said...

It never really bothered me that we don't know why Slater dumped Jeff - I think I was just too relieved that we didn't have to go through the inevitable Break-Up episode. I have something of a sitcom obsession, but the one unfortunate sitcom necessity I could really live without is the inevitable impending break-up episode that is the culmination of every relationship.

(Except for the episode where Niles from Frasier breaks up with Maris. That was just a relief).

ChrisB said...

“Disappointing you is like choking the little mermaid with a bike chain.”

I wrote this one down. What a great metaphor and Annie's face was a study. I like the dynamic going on between Jeff and Annie; there's something very gentle about it that appeals to me.

celticmarc said...

Second out of 3 episodes re watch: great stuff.

"I HATE GLEE !!!!"