Friday, February 26, 2021

My Favorite Community Episodes Each Season

(Guest Post by TJ)

I feel like most fans of TV shows have a favorite episode of each season their beloved TV show was on. If not, you should, it will make me look less weird. Regardless, because I’ve watched so much Community in the last year (and re-watched), I’m sharing my episodes from each of its six seasons (still waiting for the movie). 

Season 1: Episode 23: Modern Warfare

The paintball episode that first made people sorry for the cleaning crew. Seriously, how much destruction could one episode of a TV comedy have? Apparently, a lot. One of the things about this episode that makes it what it is, is that it shows the cartoon nature of Community in its strongest sense. 

It also shows one of the biggest character changes. Back in episode 9 of the first season, Annie and Jeff did debate where they won an argument on good vs evil by proving that mankind is inherently selfish. But this episode with its fun and humor has a touching moment that almost goes unnoticed: Jeff gives his priority registration to the person in his group that he deems most deserving of it. Jeff’s reason for the priority registration is extremely selfish (and smart). But in this moment, he decides to give it to Shirley so she can spend more time with her kids. (Still confused as to who’s watching them, but whatever.) 

Jeff, who is doing his best to skate through college, makes his life just that much more difficult by helping out Shirley. It goes to show that deep down inside, he’s not the arrogant selfish jerk that he thinks he is. The act even surprises himself. And while the rest of this episode is lighthearted and fun, this moment is simply wonderful. 

Season 2: Episode 11: Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas

After 35 episodes of complete randomness from this show, you get what has got to be the most random one yet. The entire episode is in Claymation, with the exception of a single shot of the cast in the reflection from the TV they’re watching. If you don’t catch it, it’s not a surprise. But what makes this Christmas episode isn’t it’s play on 1970s Claymation, but rather its message that sometimes your friends are your most important family. 

One of the best scenes is near the end, when Abed is frozen and the Christmas Wizard—er—Duncan is mad at the rest of the study group. But they are able to let him know the true meaning of Christmas….kind of. 

Jeff: The delusion you’re trying to cure is called Christmas, Duncan.

Annie: It’s the crazy notion that the longest, coldest, darkest nights can be the warmest and brightest.

Britta: Yeah, and when we all agree to support each other in that insanity, something even crazier happens.

Annie: It becomes true. 

Troy: Works every year. Like clockwork.

Christmas in the northern hemisphere is just a few days after the shortest day of the year. Christmas is cold and full of snow…in some places. But regardless, Christmas is made bright with its cheer. That’s what makes this episode so great. 

Season 3: Episode 4: Remedial Chaos Theory

I became a Community fan during the early stages of this wonderful pandemic….So, unfortunately I didn’t watch it whilst it was airing. But that’s what binging is for. I really had no clue about the various dynamics in the show whilst watching it. But when I saw this episode full of alternate timelines, which is one of my favorite plot points, it immediately became my favorite. 

This episode likes to continually ask “what if” with a simple roll of the die. There’s an episode of Friends that asks “what if” that shows that sometimes, our different choices may still lead to similar outcomes. But with Community, we get seven different outcomes that really probably wouldn’t end up the same way. You’ve got a moment with Britta and Troy hinting at being a couple as well as a moment between Jeff and Annie, both of which have already been hinted at. While I feel like Britta and Troy didn’t have that great of chemistry, I always feel like Annie and Jeff worked well together. They balanced each other out. 

Of course, this is the episode that brings us the darkest timeline, something brought back at the end of season 4, basically the Community equivalent to Star Trek’s mirror universe. The sad thing is, as I pointed out that different choices lead to similar outcomes, it’s technically two years later when Pierce has unfortunately passed on, something similar to the Darkest Timeline.  

Season 4: Episode 12: Heroic Origins

It’s difficult to pick a favorite in a season that isn’t all that great. Even though "Heroic Origins" is a prequel, it goes to show that sometimes the negative things in our lives can lead to some great things. Abed’s great moment of inviting Chang to join them goes to show who Abed is as a character. While there’s the robotic aspect to Abed, this is a moment that makes him truly human and shows how forgiving of a person he is.

Let’s go to Shirley for a moment. Her husband cheated on her because of…well…we can go with Jeff and Abed. Combined, one person’s robotic negativity and another’s active distain led to an awful circumstance for Shirley. However, even those both those men did something that hurt Shirley’s life, by the end of season four, she has to admit that her life wouldn’t be the same without them.

While Britta’s storyline isn’t all that great in this story, the Troy/Annie dynamic is quite interesting. While she had a huge crush on Troy to start off, Annie is no longer shy to him. And definitely doesn’t have a problem standing up to him at this point. But she knows that her life is better off with her study group than without it.

This episode really focuses on Abed, Shirley, and Jeff, which doesn’t really happen very often. But what makes this episode one of my favorites is the fun the story has at looking a step back at everyone’s past.

Season 5: Episode 5: Geothermal Escapism

Troy’s final episode is a fun bummer. Yeah, it’s sad that Troy’s leaving. But this episode has a lot of fun going on in it. Abed’s mind creates this full-on game of the floor is lava. This episode shows something that may not have been noticed in the previous games on the show: it really doesn’t celebrate who wins. It celebrates the stories of the rest. 

I mean, there’s a simple question to ask here: Why does Britta win? Simple, because she just wants to help Abed. She recognizes that Abed is trying to hide his pain in Troy leaving. But you’ve got some great moments like Hickey driving a floor cleaner. Britta Britta-ing a joke which leads to Jeff on his back on the floor. Shirley Island with the orb (because apparently the cafeteria is some sort of safe haven in most of these types of games). The “cloning” of Abed and Troy so that they can deal with the absence of their constant friendship. And of course, the return of LeVar Burton in what has to be great closure to a joke started in season 2 about Troy’s inability to be around Mr. Burton.

Season 6: Episode 13: Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television

I love a good a series finale. (Would’ve been better without a few choice swear words.) This one is all about change. Technically, at the end, the only members of the original study group to remain are Jeff and Britta as Abed and Annie leave for their futures. 

The writers seemed to know that the audience preferred Jeff and Annie. That kiss at the end (I forget everything after that) just goes to show that in the end, Jeff and Annie became the main couple. 

The fun thing about this episode is that it asks a “what can happen.” But the problem is that we don’t know. If I were to ignore the seventh season idea but rather say “and a movie” and come up with my thoughts for what I’d see in a movie. First, Annie would return from FBI, now working for the Colorado branch. Troy will have returned with LeVar Burton (Abed having somehow rescued them.) Jeff finally decides what he wants, and that’s Annie (which I’m sure he realized but he just couldn’t find the words.) 

However, one thing about this episode that’s important is that it shows Jeff never really grew as a character. Britta never really grew. Abed kind of grew. It really goes to show that this show did its best to maintain its cartoon persona. However, one thing we really get is that Annie grew. 

She started off as this girl who really became a woman throughout the show. She’s gone from one major to another to another. And then ends up with a job with the FBI. Annie goes from the girl that everyone worries about being taken care of to the girl that can not only take care of herself, but she can take care of others. 

So yeah, not a good discussion about the episode, but really, the episode is just full of randomness just like the good six seasons of Community

Anyway, thanks for reading. Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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