COMMUNITY Recap: ‘A Few Paintballs More’ - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

COMMUNITY Recap: ‘A Few Paintballs More’

May 13, 2011 by  

And so the second season of COMMUNITY comes to an end. It contained such wonders as Christmas pterodactyls, surprise Nazi trampolines, a meta episode about the metaness of being meta, sexual tension, ABBA zombies, some unplanned pregnancy, and Drew Carey.

I think it’s safe to say it’s been a grand sophomore season.

As we moved into the second half of the paintball reprise, the western theme quietly dissipated, replaced instead by STAR WARS. Wait, what? How has this not happened already? I’m frankly surprised every episode doesn’t contain a STAR WARS reference, à la 30 ROCK.

Where we left off last week Greendale was being invaded by a group of masked ringers, sent in to destroy the remaining competitors in the school’s paintball assassin game. Within seconds it is revealed that the perpetrator of these intruders is not in fact Pistol Patty (if she even exists), but the dean of City College, Greendale’s leading competitor. Their goal was to provoke the students of Greendale to destroy their own campus, and then destroy themselves in the process. The fiends!

Our scrappy band of misfits must work together to defeat the big bad foes of City College and win the paintball game, but can they hack it? With Abed stepping into the role of Han Solo, Troy itching to take more of a leadership role, and Annie still wearing her Badass Pants, I’d say the answer to that is a resounding yes! Mostly. There’s still Jeff, who doesn’t look too kindly upon Troy’s usurping of his “rightful place” as leader. And there’s Pierce, who’s been taken captive by the bad guys. And there’s that strange new romantic tension between Annie and Abed, brought on by their role-playing as Luke and Leia — but wait, the last time we did a STAR WARS reference wasn’t Troy the Leia in the situation? Or was that Abed?* Now they’ve gotten me all confused. Still, Annie and Abed’s brief relationship was kind of hot, even though it might never come up again. It just further supports my hypothesis that I can probably ship any two characters on this show if it’s presented in the right context.

This episode — although in many ways a continuation of last week’s — was a couple notches degree sillier than the last, although in the important moments it still held a frightening grip on my more mushy of emotions (why did I almost tear up when everybody was “dying”? IT’S PAINT). It all still moved within the territory that COMMUNITY fans are very familiar with at this point, and it provided a strong finale. Not as “WTF” as last season’s romantic cliffhanger, but enough intrigue to get you through the summer months. Or at least until the DVD comes out.

One of my favorite parts of this episode was the fact that everybody got their moment to shine like the badasses we know they all are. Troy showed his leadership skills with a plan to defeat the bad guys, Shirley took over when that seemed to falter and the blood/paintbath started (bringing Britta along for the ride), Abed was full-on Han, and Pierce even managed to save the day — winning Greendale 100 grand in the process. Even the cinematography was appropriately epic.

The real storylines of impact came late in the episode, when the study group gathered around their table after the game was over and done with, trying to decide amongst themselves what class they were going to take as a group during the next semester, when Pierce walks in. And though they eventually invite him to join them back in the group next year, he…declines.

It has long been said that the biggest problem the show has had this year has been the character of Pierce. Is he a friend? A villain? If he really cares about these people, why does he act the way he does? He wasn’t a developed enough character to make the jump from malicious fiend to show favorite (à la Chuck in GOSSIP GIRL or Eric in TRUE BLOOD), and many (including myself) have called for his removal. If there’s one show that pays attention to its audience, it’s COMMUNITY, and I always had faith they’d take these concerns to heart —I  just didn’t know how they would ever pull off nixing a character played by someone who is as big a legend as Chevy Chase is, or if they’d even try.

It just goes to show you should never underestimate Dan Harmon and company. The way they handled the closing scene was both graceful and just shocking enough to subvert your expectations. We knew they had already struggled with whether or not to invite Pierce back to the study group, but who ever thought he’d be the one to reject them? He tells them that he’s been taking class at Greendale for twelve years, that it was a place that accepted him for who he was (just like it had accepted all of them), but that he hadn’t had any real friends until he met them.

Chevy Chase’s performance in this scene was note perfect; he was perfectly resigned, which somehow made his decision to leave the group all the more sad, even for those who had been rooting for it all season.**

It’s the kind of season ending that leaves things wildly open-ended, with just enough questions for the fans to theorize over in the coming months: Will Chevy Chase still be on the show? In what capacity, now that his character broke up with the rest of them? Are Abed and Annie the new Annie and Jeff? (My answer: no.) What’ll happen to Jeff and Britta? Britta and Troy? Will that Secret Service agent ever come back for Abed, or has she been lurking in the background this entire time? And, most pressingly, what will be the first thing to be referenced in the third season?

Congratulations on another amazing, incredibly strange season, to everybody involved in the creation of COMMUNITY. If you don’t get nominated for an Emmy this year I might anger cry.

*It was definitely Abed.

**Britta’s reaction to this was also hilarious: “He’s just acting out. I’ve seen this behavior before…In cats…My cats.”

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9 Responses to “COMMUNITY Recap: ‘A Few Paintballs More’”

  1. Madison on May 13th, 2011 5:42 pm

    I enjoyed every scene in this episode!!! But especially the blink and miss moment near the end with Busy Phillips and Dan Bryd from Cougar Town cheering on Greendale, did they bond with Abed on his extras day? haha

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