by Stephen Janes
With the group still in disappointment that they weren’t able to get into the ‘History of Ice Cream’ class, they realize they need to take excitement and positivity going into their history class. There, they are met with a new professor and the return of the obnoxious Germans that Shirley and Jeff defeated in foosball some time ago. In addition, the Germans prove to be a hefty obstacle standing in the way of their study routine. The rift between the two groups spurs a refreshingly good and humorous episode going back to what made Community so great to begin with.
For starters, this was the first episode this season where the entire group stayed together, which is a dynamic I love. The humor is generally at its best when everybody has a chance to feed off of one another, and this episode proved that theory. Between Winger’s heroic monologues, Annie’s innocence and Troy’s confusion, this was the first episode this season where I genuinely enjoyed all of the jokes.
The Germans returning was a nice touch, I thought. They served a double meaning which was more evident at the end of the episode. The group was learning about Germans in historical wars, which prompted several mentions of the classic show Hogan’s Heroes. What really made the episode fresh was the revealing twist that the Germans in the show actually never did anything wrong, but it was the study group who were the bad guys, prompting a bit of role reversal. Very rarely do you see a show flip the tables on their own star characters and turn them into the bad guys. There even was a small montage of various study room antics (the lost pen, dungeons and dragons and the ice skating costume namely) where the rest of the school was upset at what was transpiring.
With the bad guys being the good guys and vice versa, Winger and the rest of the group decide that they need to make amends and give back to the campus. After a sentimental and touching sequence and feeling good for themselves, their history professor reminds them they missed their exam and failed. Their ignorance and tangents as a result were vintage study group and entertaining to watch.
Speaking of returns to the show, Chang had made his return in a bit of a different role. He claims to have “Changnesia” and doesn’t remember anything about himself, hereby calling himself Kevin. Dean Pelton refuses to admit ‘Kevin’ back into the school, but the school board claims they are getting paid for Kevin’s admittance. The Dean tries reminding Chang what he did in the previous season, which then leads Chang to admit himself into prison. The Dean at this point believes Chang is a different person and attempts to re-introduce him as Kevin to the campus. When the study group meets Kevin, the episode ends with everybody screaming in fear.
This episode was a perfect homage to earlier episodes of Community. With the study group acting as one entity, the jokes were as clever as ever and allowed them to act as a single unit against an established antagonist (of sorts, anyway). Chang was always a fun character and perhaps the biggest wild card this show has to offer, so it’s good to see him re-introduced. I’ve seen enough television shows to know that he won’t be ‘Kevin’ for long, but his inevitable transformation back to the antagonistic Chang will be anticipated and closely followed. Definitely a fun episode and should be checked out.