About 3 years ago, I reviewed NBC's Thursday night block in its entirety. Recently inspired by the AV Club's reviews of single TV episodes, I thought I'd do the same thing:
I have no idea if the AV club is hiring, but note to you guys, consider this my application:
This week, Britta cheats on a Spanish test and Jeff continues his quest to win her favor by defending her before the honor council. Despite Jeff being an a—hole (or maybe because of it), his romantic pairing with Britta is one of the most endearing romances on television simply because of the very reason he stated so succinctly towards the end of the episode: His motivation with her is about more than just sex, because if it was just about sex he wouldn’t be going through all this crap to be friends with her. In an effort to develop the outer edges of their ensemble instead of hiring more guest stars, Community uses the three faculty members on the show (Tony Jeung, Jim Rash, and Jon Oliver) as the honor council and they provide some of the episode’s best moments.
The two b-plots are pretty much throwaways: Annie relies on Pierce to write the school song and he lets her down while Abed tries a little too hard to play a prank on Troy. The last two Abed subplots remind me of those plots on Star Trek where Data tries to answer the question of what it means to be human. That’s how disconnected from the world around him Abed is.
I’m somewhat tough on this show because while it has some characters with potential and moments of humor, its attempts at combining the cynical musings of smart-aleck Joel McHale with genuine heartfelt moments of togetherness fall short. Joel McHale’s rambling diatribe in the pilot about pencils, sharks, and Ben Affleck made me cringe and both attempts to infuse the show with the broken-souls-in-need-of-a-second-chance theme fell equally flat: Annie’s pep talk to Pierce to keep him from giving up on writing a song and Jeff’s ludicrous appeal that while Britta violated the honor code, it’s in the school’s interest to keep her.
Fortunately, both those corny moments were redeemed by comedic mishaps: The song Pierce ends up writing was stolen from Bruce Hornsby and Jeff’s speech allows Jon Oliver’s Dean to make a power play on Britta (under her punishment she must undergo counseling with him once a week).
Also, check out this latest article I wrote at the Examiner (17 Actors overdue for a nomination)