Community: History 101
by Stephen Janes (@stephenkjanes)
Happy October 19th, everybody! Sure, we might be three months late, but senior year at Greendale Community is back in session. If you haven’t been keeping up with Community since last season, this episode may catch you off-guard a little bit, but one of the great aspects of Community is how easy it is to pick up any episode and begin watching. Despite the long hiatus, it still felt like the show never left and started on a high note.
The episode goes back and forth from the real word and “Abed TV,” a sitcom version of Greendale Community College that plans out exactly how Abed wants. Random and unconventional changes to the television format are nothing new to Community, yet it was still different enough to be fresh and entertaining. It did get really weird when Abed went to his happy place within his happy place, which became an obscure cartoon featuring the Greendale babies. Some of these really out-there segments can get weird, and this was one of them. I’m thankful the Greendale babies segments were very limited, as I wasn’t a huge fan of them.
Due to an error in the registration, nearly every student is enrolled in a ‘History of Ice Cream’ class, which prompts the Dean to have his own version of “The Hunger Games” called, “The Hunger Dean.” Jeff Winger reveals that he is only one credit away from graduating and will stop at nothing in order to get his history credit. He tries to prove he is a new Winger by competing for spots for everybody in the study group and not just for himself. Very often we see Winger try to prove he’s not being selfish with fairly expected results, but with unexpected progress.
Britta and Troy show that they have moved their relationship by holding hands around the hallways and trying to do more things together. There is only so much character development that you can establish in a thirty-minute window, but I really feel like a lot was to be said in the limited screen time they received. I never really anticipated the two of them moving their relationship on past the intrigue stage, but having them together for a full season (if they can last) will be an interesting development.
Knowing that Chevy Chase will not be a cast member by seasons end, I think we’ll see less and less of Pierce Hawthorne as the show goes on. In the season premiere, Pierce spent the entire time trying to make a ball joke, which was entertaining in its own right. I’m not sure if this trend of limiting Pierce will be consistent, but it’s very obvious he will be written off the show. In fact, the ‘Abed TV’ version of Pierce (played by Fred Willard) I think had more dialogue than Chevy the entire episode.
Annie and Shirley’s mother-daughter like connection is adorable in a very devious way. The two try to find a way and prank the Dean and discuss how they are going to spend their senior year. I always enjoy these characters individually because they are such wild cards and always love it when they go completely off the charts, which did not happen here.
Overall, this was a great way for Community to return to television. We even got a look at Chang, who approaches a random bystander at the end of the episode with a note reading, “My name is Kevin. Help me, I have Changnesia.” How he will come into play this season is anybody’s guess, but I eagerly await it. Nothing from the writing to the great comedic timing has changed since we last saw the study group and if the rest of the season can be on par with this premiere, then this will surely be the greatest senior year we’ve ever watched.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars