COMMUNITY: ‘Advanced Dungeons & Dragons’ - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

COMMUNITY: ‘Advanced Dungeons & Dragons’

February 4, 2011 by  

Jeff Winger: son of William the Barely Known, worker-outer of abs, kisser of inappropriately-aged young women, world champion texter. He also has another, rather unfortunate habit: the tendency to do mean or inconsiderate things to the people around him without even realizing it. This has long been part of his charm, part of the swarthy smile that stretches across his face and reminds us that, yeah, he may be a douche, but he’s also hot and hilarious and surprisingly self-aware, so it’s OK.

Then there’s the fact that is the most comforting of all, that tidbit that throws all of Jeff Winger’s actions safely into perspective for all who doubted him: He’s still better than Pierce.

COMMUNITY runs on a lot of egos. From Britta, who rises up to defend all disenfranchised parties, safely dictating the rules of society from her perky blonde middle-class perch; to Jeff, who would probably crumble into a sack of tears if his favorite hair mousse went out of production. There’s even Troy, who has had to be coaxed past the ego of his jock roots to reveal his true geeky self.

But above all of these egomaniacs and the havoc they regularly wreak over our beloved study group, none reigns so cruelly or painfully as Pierce Hawthorne. Is anyone else as completely fed up with him as I am? He seems to be purely wicked now (and not in the fun British way), and in other shows I watch — THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, CHUCK, hell, even GOSSIP GIRL — this amount of betrayal and nastiness might mean it’s time for him to be revealed as such and killed and/or banished. But this is COMMUNITY, so who knows how they’ll deal with it.

Tonight’s much-anticipated episode of COMMUNITY focused on a rather epic game of Dungeons and Dragons. HUZZAH! It’s a testament to the writing of the show that it can pull off not one, but two popular bottle episodes in one season and still have people begging for more. They don’t need special effects or fancy medieval costumes; all they need is some really flowery language and some imaginary Pegasi (Pegasuses?).

The game itself was organized by Jeff around a character known as “Fat Neil,” who had become so downtrodden by his disparaging nickname that he gave away all of his DnD books and threatened to never play again. Rather than let him give up one of his great passions in life, the group decides to take the plunge — with Abed as Dungeon Master — and play the game with him.

And so, with Annie playing a character by the name of Hector the Well-Endowed, the group began their LARPing. And it was glorious.

And then Pierce showed up. And the old bastard ruined everything.

Upset that the group didn’t invite him to game with them (again), Pierce decided that it was time to make them all miserable. And so he did. Somehow mastering the tricks of Dungeons and Dragons in an alarmingly short span of time, he soon goes from laying naked in a forest to having conquered every other player in the game. And at some point I think there was a dragon. I may have hallucinated that part, but — oh, no, there was definitely a dragon in there somewhere.

Pierce was once an OK character; he could make the off-color jokes and (kinda) get away with it. He was Chevy Chase! He’s a legend! But apparently even Chevy Chase can wear out his welcome with an audience, especially if his character is as grating as the one we witnessed last night. He was once just the clueless, bumbling fool. But his behavior in this most recent episode was simply unacceptable. I have reached the same point as Shirley did in the episode last season where Pierce pantsed her: I am done with this character, and it is going to take a major intervention on the part of the writers to bring me around to him again.

In what could be considered the climactic scene of the episode, Pierce reveals to the study group (and to us, and to Neil) that the reason this whole game was started was because Jeff felt guilty for inadvertently coining the nickname (“Fat Neil”) that had spurred Neil’s depression. Yet I did not feel anger towards Jeff — he’s an inconsiderate ass. We know this. But he’s the type of inconsiderate ass with the conscience that will inevitably win out in almost every situation. His ego is such that he can’t stand to be seen as the devil, or to see himself as that. He’ll give up dating the too-young girl, he’ll encourage his friends to accept each other for who they are. If given the choice I have every confidence he’d choose giving an inspirational speech about the values of friendship over prowling some bar looking for a chick to take home. He may be a self-proclaimed doucherocket, but he’s a doucherocket with a heart of gold.

Pierce, however, is not a friend to these people. According to the last few episodes, he wants to see them suffer as much as possible if they don’t do everything he wants them to. But the problem is this: I love these people. Over the past year and a half I have grown alarmingly close to these characters. And as much as the comedy-lover in me enjoys watching them squirm, that doesn’t mean that I want the instigator of such pain acting as a wolf in sheep’s clothing hiding amongst them. Leave them be, Pierce, it’s time to move in to the home.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode very much. COMMUNITY does odes to geek culture much more convincingly than many other shows, and as a geek and fan-girl I take great pleasure in watching it do so. The scene where Abed and Annie engage in LARP-sex is one of the most epic (and epically inappropriate) things I have ever witnessed. Is LARP-sex even the term? Would “verbal tryst” work better? In any case it was one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen.


* “Britta, he was an imaginary waiter.” “I wouldn’t expect you to understand”
* “If that’s sarcasm I can’t tell because everything in this game is silly”
* “So we’re just going to ignore that hate crime, right?”

What was your favorite part of the episode? Do you share my feelings about Pierce, or am I overreacting? What would YOUR DnD character be, and would they get along with Hector the Well-Endowed?

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6 Responses to “COMMUNITY: ‘Advanced Dungeons & Dragons’”

  1. wel on February 4th, 2011 11:45 am

    The LARP-sex scene, and Troy’s note-taking, was one of the funniest moments of the season. Every time I think this show has gone too far, they pull it off (except that stop-motion Christmas show which I thought was actually bad). Sometimes I want them to be more accessible so they stick around (watch out for Sports Night syndrome), but then I wouldn’t love it so much. Also, the tiny moment when Britta implies Jeff is bad at sex was perfect – hot guys are usually bad at sex.

  2. EmKay on February 4th, 2011 3:12 pm

    This review misses a huge plot point. Neil wasn’t threatening to never play DnD again–he was contemplating suicide very seriously, hence the “escape we dare not speak of” line from the narrator. He wasn’t about to “give up his great passion in life,” he was going to give up his LIFE. If someone is depressed and starts to give away his or her prized possessions, it’s a loud warning sign.

  3. Julie on February 5th, 2011 2:28 am

    I completely agree with your assessment of Pierce. He’s always been bad, but in this episode he reached a new low. I really hope that Community deals with him appropriately.

  4. Madison on February 5th, 2011 7:39 pm

    I was gonna bring up the same point EmKay, you beat me too it. I thought it was a fantastic way to have a comedy deal with a very serious subject. The D&D language kept it light and it never felt too preachy while still letting everyone understand this was a real situation. I hate when a comedy all of a sudden is serious for an episode to deal with a dark subject matter. Community keeps it real and keeps it funny. Great episode!

  5. John on February 7th, 2011 1:00 pm

    Dude LARP is LIVE ACTION ROLE PLAY, where people go out dressed like their favorite characters, carrying around their weapons, and pretend to actually be the characters (reference Role Models the movie, and notice the difference between what D&D RP’ing is and LARP’ing). This is NOT LARP’ing, this is RP’ing. Get your facts straight before writing about things like this is all I’m saying. The episode was really funny and didn’t portray D&D in a negative manner like most other shows do. It’s just a fun hobby and a nice way of spending time with friends who share the same interests.

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