COMMUNITY Recap: Paradigms of Human Memory - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

COMMUNITY Recap: Paradigms of Human Memory

April 23, 2011 by  

“Feast your ear-tons on these memory pops!”

Everyone who has seen and enjoyed more than a single episode of COMMUNITY can tell you: this show does things a little differently. It’s a sitcom like so many others, but while it acknowledges the tropes it works within, it spends its energy on twisting them, and its characters, in ways that might defy your expectations of them.

It’s what makes the show so consistently refreshing: give an audience a group of twenty- and thirty-somethings with oodles of romantic and personal issues and witty dialogue, and you’ve got your FRIENDS/HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER standard (albeit hilarious) show. Enjoyable in ways that tens of millions of people can appreciate (including this writer), but when you cut it down to the bones we’ve seen it before.

Twist all of the above around and make the twenty- and thirty-somethings into magnificent weirdoes who go on the sorts of adventures that’d usually be reserved for cartoons? Add one adorably meta robot, a jock nerd, a high-pitched Christian woman who had sex with a man she dislikes while surrounded by zombies, an ex-pill-popper who now has a crush on a 35 year old man, a dean of a school who probably belongs on some sort of sexual offenders list, and three raging egomaniacs (one of whom is a comedy legend, one of whom may be on his way to becoming something of the sort)? Put them through adventures involving such things as Paintball Apocalypse, Claymation Christmas, Epic Fort-Making, and surreally calming Nazi trampolines, all while making so many references it’s difficult for even to keep up? Mix all these ingredients and throw them into the best comedy night on TV? Well then, friends, you’ve got COMMUNITY.

Last night’s COMMUNITY was epic. Not in the same way that “Modern Warfare” was when it aired; it wasn’t a straight-up riff on one of America’s most popular pop-cultural fares, and it could be argued that nothing spectacularly big even happened.

It is also a perfect example of what COMMUNITY does best as a sitcom: It does all those things that make the other sitcoms supposedly work, but they refuse to be the Gretchen Weiners to FRIENDS’ Regina George. They are Janis Ian, and they are damn proud of that.

(I think in this scenario I might be Glen Coco)

Last night’s COMMUNITY took the form a flashback episode, an episode nearly all sitcoms use in some form if they last more than a day and a half. COMMUNITY, as you might have been able to tell from my long-winded praise, however, went in a different direction. As opposed to the usual tradition of showing us all the favorite moments we’d already cultivated mentally over the past two seasons—or, as HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER exhibited, showing us clips of our favorite characters before we met them—COMMUNITY constructed a flashback episode full of all new material, all taking place within the timeframe that we have known our study group.

Basically, it was all the adventures they have when we’re not looking.

And apparently there are a lot of them.

Camping trips, a ghost town, a mental hospital, St. Patty’s Day boat rides, Abed’s brief obsession with doomed NBC show THE CAPE (which I reviewed when it first premiered), and something involving a drug cartel pointing a gun at Pierce’s head. Never have I wanted to be a member of this study group more than in the half-hour I spent watching this episode. And that’s saying something.

All of these trips down memory lane, however, leads to a revelation about what two of our leads have been up to. According to Abed’s observational skills, Jeff and Britta have been hooking up. Consistently. For most of the season.

And, honestly, that’s probably how it should be. It might be a minority opinion, and Jeff and Annie may have superior chemistry, but Annie’s still only 19 and he’s in the latter half of his thirties. It’d be mighty difficult to go there without getting a bit creepy.

Jeff and Britta may not be soul mates, but they don’t have to be. They are both disgustingly attractive, egomaniac hipsters; there’s no way they wouldn’t find the prospect of clandestine boinking appealing.

Of course, the revelation of this piece of news threatens momentarily to tear the group apart. They reminisce about the ways in which Jeff and Britta are constantly putting themselves in front of the group, and they have a point. Of course, if they were actually going to oust anyone from the group they would also have to deal with Pierce, who I guarantee has done worse things to this group of people than stealing chapstick and switching wigs.

They may not be happy with the new developments, but our study group shall remain safe for now. A rousing speech by Jeff (which, by the way, made absolutely no sense) saves the day as usual. Or, as “usual” as COMMUNITY can be.

This episode made me happy in so many different instances, I’m just going to have to list some of the ones that didn’t make it into the rest of the recap:

Back when I reviewed “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” I expressed my urge to see bits of the episode from the non-insane, live-action point of view. So it should be no surprise to anyone that I audibly squealed when they did just that in this episode!

  • Annie’s Boobs is back! Bringing with him (her?) memories of the Debacle of Annie’s Purple Pen
  • The montage of Dean Pelton’s costumes and irrelevant news deliveries? Classic.
  • Troy and Abed being chased by the racist man from the Old Western Ghost Town
  • Their brief but pointed reference to GLEE was much appreciated
  • The subtle masturbation joke they snuck in via Donald Glover’s Troy
  • “Pierce, you’ve had three flu shots! That’s for the day-care center!” “I’LL BE A LIVING GOD!”
  • Troy and Abed getting caught making fun of Jeff actually made me feel sorry for Jeff. Poor Jeff and his small egg.
  • For all who didn’t catch it, that Jeff/Annie montage set to Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity” was a reference to an actual fan video. Yes, my brain might be exploding. It’s official (and fantastic): COMMUNITY will parody anything.
  • I really, really need to see an entire episode exploring how the entire group ended up in straight jackets.

So what did you all think of last night’s episode? Were you as inspired as I was? How did you react to the Jeff/Britta bombshell?

Filed under Community


18 Responses to “COMMUNITY Recap: Paradigms of Human Memory”

  1. Jen on April 23rd, 2011 1:05 pm

    Community is genius. I need to watch episodes over and over again to catch all the references. This “clip-show” was great in that it was fresh and gave us new info rather than re-hash what we already knew.

  2. Elena on April 23rd, 2011 2:14 pm

    You forgot the Pierce/Abed montage–hilariousssssss!!!

  3. kate on April 23rd, 2011 3:44 pm

    I love this show so much, but this episode took the cake. It was so freaking hilarious… especially the dean, but my personal favorite clip was the Habitat for Humanity home being destroyed and Jeff and Britta getting out of it. SO. FUNNY. Everyone needs to watch this show!!!

  4. Maggie on April 24th, 2011 9:37 pm

    You go, Glen Coco!

    I freaking love this show and this episode in particular. I also have to rewatch over and over to catch everything, and it makes me so happy to do so. The return of Annie’s Boobs was my favorite bit. 🙂

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