Community: Economics of Marine Biology
by Stephen Janes
For most part of this season, the writers of Community feel they can stretch multiple storylines and increase the humor by splitting up everybody’s favorite community college slackers. While I’ve been mostly critical of the idea, “Economics of Marine Biology” actually was executed properly and produced a humorous and touching episode.
Dean Pelton gets wind that a “whale” student (named Archie) is thinking about attending Greendale. Whale students are described as constantly retaking classes due to failing, but also have a limitless pool of wealth, so naturally the Dean envisions this to be a great milestone for his school. From here, the group is split and the results are not what you would normally expect.
Pierce has been desperate to hang out with Winger, who acts as a decoy to prevent Pierce from getting jealous of all the attention the new student is getting. Winger is at first annoyed at his role, but actually ends up enjoying his time until his true motives are discovered. Winger admits his fault to the displeasure of Pierce, but they eventually learn from each other and make up. I was really hoping to see Pierce ruin the day by arriving at the campus and causing havoc, but I still enjoyed the sentimental closure between the two. This branch had a lot more potential but I was still satisfied with the outcome.
Meanwhile, Shirley and Troy attended their new class, Physical Education Education, or PEE for short. Instead of playing sports and engaging in activity, they were taught how to teach PE in an interesting run around. Troy went into the class feeling very confident and fit, but Shirley’s organization skills and bipolar demeanor quickly spearheaded her to the top of the class. I would have loved to see more time spent here only because I love Troy’s mental breakdown, but again their progression and ending was fitting given the amount of time everybody was allowed.
Annie and Britta played an extended role alongside the Dean in attracting Archie. After realizing their whale has exquisite taste, the group attempts to make Greendale something it’s not by piling lies on top of lies in order to make their new client happy. This was easily the highlight of the episode as you started to feel bad for the campus as it was practically pillaged by a newcomer. Things got too much to handle for Annie and Dean Pelton when Archie decides that he wants Magnitude’s signature phrase, “POP POP,” which left Magnitude a broke shell of his usual enthusiastic self. I loved his random appearance and I loved the way it nearly crippled his character.
All while this is going on, Abed decides to live his own “Dean versus Fraternity” scenario by forming the Delta Cubes (or Delta Delta Delta). He gets the idea from Dean Pelton at the beginning of the episode, and then is rarely seen again except for “Operation Slack Attack.” This one moment made up for Abed’s lack of inclusion, but I really hope we see more of the Delta Cubes in the upcoming episodes. I feel there is so much potential for Abed and his new fraternity, it would be an absolute waste just to show it once and then stop.
Overall the episode was very strong and enjoyable. I feel Community is headed toward the right direction again, although I’m still waiting for the return of Chang (who was briefly seen in his Kevin alter ego) to really blow this season wide open. There were only a few low spots for me, but again this was a lot of fun to watch and should comfort fans in the positive direction of the writing and performance. There were even a few good morals to come out of the episode, which is something that we haven’t seen in some time from the show.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars