Community: Conventions of Space and Time


by Stephen Janes

Throughout the series, Community has often teased a fictional show called “Inspector Space Time,” which sounds eerily familiar to Doctor Who. While the setting and various sci-fi references were appreciated, it was definitely a missed opportunity on many fronts. The episode was entertaining in some parts, but again, it could have been much better and I felt this was a conservative approach to make an episode known for having paintball wars and epic dance contests.

As Troy and Britta continue their relationship, Troy is afraid that Abed will not be able to cope with the change in their lives. Troy’s protective nature changes to shock and despair when Abed reveals he is aware of their physical relationship and doesn’t seem to care. This causes Troy to start panicking and, as a result, stresses Britta out. Troy begins to lose it when Abed meets a new friend at the convention and the two of them hit it off. Troy was initially afraid he was going to be replaced, but their friendship was reassured toward the end. It was entertaining to see Troy overreact to almost everything but comforting to see that “Troy and Abed in the Morning” will never go away.

Pierce and Shirley essentially had no reason to be in this episode, as their brief scenes together set-up one joke at the end of the show. Usually, Pierce’s awkwardness is hysterical to watch, but it seemed like he was just there to be there, as was Shirley. Both could have been excluded from the episode and it probably would not have made a difference, unfortunately.

The story arc I really enjoyed this episode involved Winger and Annie. While at the convention, Winger was mistaken for a popular villain on the fictional show, which had some entertaining moments including a bad British accent and a Hulk-like shirt removal. With Troy and Abed dressed as the protagonist duo and Winger’s resemblance to the villain, I expected the episode to become a live re-enactment of “Inspector Space Time.” Sadly, this did not happen and I was left greatly disappointed. The dungeons and dragons episode was great because the characters got lost in the game, and this would have been a great opportunity to recreate that in a sense.

Seeing Annie be referred to as ‘Mrs. Winger’ was both adorable and creepy. Seeing her bounce around like a child receiving candy was fun to watch but I felt her being upset at Winger was a little uncalled for. She gets upset at Winger for being ditched at the convention, but changes heart when Winger decides to stay at the convention longer than planned just for her. It was entertaining to see her get upset at her “husband” cheating on her only to keep face, but a simple apology from Jeff and she was fine again. To me it just felt odd and I would have liked to see them fight and argue in a public setting while everybody still believed them to be married (and Winger the villain Thoraxis).

The episode had some quality moments and laughable jokes, but with the convention setting I was really disappointed the writers didn’t try and play off of it. Again, having Troy and Abed as the hero’s to oppose Winger and his “wife” Annie would have been great, or at least I believe so. Aside from that, the episode could have benefited from less Shirley and Pierce, who were minimally involved anyway, and more Troy freak outs. As a sci-fi fan, it still has some value, although if you didn’t see this episode you don’t need to be in any rush to catch up.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    One Comment

  1. NerditaFebruary 25th, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I would give this episode 5 of 5 stars, but I don’t watch Community, I watch Doctor Who.

    The number of in-jokes, visual allusions, and the phrases that came out of characters’ mouths in relation to the show Inspector Space-Time were just made me laugh again and again because they were so spot-on for what Whovians actually say. I think it plays on a different level for fans of the Who, so while I would rate it average for sitcom episodes, I found it quite fantastic.

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