Thursday, November 05, 2009

Community, "Home Economics": The fairly odd couple

Quick thoughts on tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I decide whether "Pierce, You're a B" is a catchier song than "Comfortable in My Sexuality" from last night's "Cougar Town" (answer: probably not)...

"Home Economics" was another solid episode, particularly in the Jeff/Britta/Abed story. Those three were in a rut for some of the post-pilot episodes, but they rebounded nicely in the Halloween show, and that continued here. Abed's pop culture references are just fine(*) when that's not all he's about, and episodes like this one show him being more perceptive than he lets on. Joel McHale, meanwhile, had a lot of fun playing Jeff's downward spiral, and I think the Jeff/Britta friendship (with occasional thwarted flirting) is a lot more interesting than when he was just trying to sleep with her.

(*) Goodness knows I try to work the phrase "a shadowy flight into the world of a man who does not exist" into conversation at least once a week, so I can't complain too much.

Meanwhile, Shirley got to demonstrate her struggles with being coy, Alison Brie again got to play about 75 different emotions in a single episode, Eric Christian Olsen got to come back as small-nippled Vaughn, and Patton Oswalt joined the show's increasingly awesome guest ensemble as a nurse at the student health center.

One concern: Pierce's revenge rap on Vaughn was fine, but I'd grown accustomed to the Abed/Troy tags. I don't want the show to force one if it's not there, but it's nice to have some reassuring constants in life, like the awareness that new generations every day are discovering the landmark theme song to "The Jeffersons."

What did everybody else think?

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

My favorite line of the night: "I'm kind of the hawkeye around here"

Josh said...

I think what impresses me most about the show so far--this episode included, of course--is that the entire cast feels extremely well-developed.

Vaughn, for example, could've just been the hippie whose sole trait is being Britta's boyfriend. Instead, the writers pair him up with Pierce; I love the constantly new pairings of all the characters, and McHale's dryness seemed to improve without doing any personal hygiene.

Now, let's get Oswalt, John Oliver, Chevy Chase, and Ken Jeong in a scene together. That'll be manna from heaven.

Devin McCullen said...

Good episode. I was really amused when Pierce couldn't figure out how to get out from behind his keyboards.

Rinaldo said...

I think that if we'd had another Abed/Troy tag this week, we'd be hearing the obligatory complaint "they're getting into a rut."

I love how we continue to get different combinations of the characters, and they all work. And I admit that I would have enjoyed seeing the Abed/Jeff roommate situation continue an episode or two longer before ending; it just really amused me.

"Annie can't speak what she really feels" may be in character, but it's such a sitcom cliche (as a means of prolonging the status quo), I wish they'd gone against it and just had her tell Troy what she thinks. I trust these writers to be able to keep it funny and alive after that.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Glendale strikes me as less a community college than a shabby liberal arts college with very low admissions standards.

Anonymous said...

I really want to like this show, but I'm just not digging it. You've said that with certain shows even if a particular episode isn't that funny sometimes you like the characters enough that you just want to spend time in their world. Well I'd be hard pressed to find a single character on this show I'd want to spend time with. Plus, after giving Senor Chang a little more depth in the last episode he's turned back into a one-note screamer again. I don't find him funny at all and actually kind of hate that character.

Abby G said...

Really enjoyed this one. The only thing that bothered me was, why does a community college have dorm rooms? Unless Anonymous is right and it's really just supposed to be a crappy college? I don't know.

mrsb said...

Even if I didn't love this show, I'd watch just hoping for another shot of Joel McHale without his shirt on.

Whoa.

Mel said...

Some community/junior colleges are adding dorms to enable them to recruit kids from communities further away.

It's so funny you mentioned the missing Abed/Troy scene. As we came out of the commercial, my sister said, "Oh, good! An Abed/Troy moment! These are my favorite!" And then we both kind of sighed sadly. We enjoyed the rap, but . . . .

Anonymous said...

Funniest thing I missed the first time: Vaughn confusing Garfunkel and Garfield the Cat. Ha!

Mike said...

The Simon and Garfunkel, Garfield the cat thing went right over my head. I was like, "Eats all the lasagna -- huh?" Thanks for pointing that out; that's hilarious.

barefootjim said...

I loved that they somehow got mileage out of the now rote "Cop Rock" reference.

"Cop Rock, sounds cool."
"Yeah, it does."

Myles said...

Liked this one, and am getting a total Sports Night vibe from the romantic pairings (with Troy/Annie as the Natalie/Jeremy and Jeff/Britta as Dana/Casey) and my opinions towards them.

Ben said...

The dorm room part sounded odd to me as well, but maybe that is a newer thing happening. And I agree with those that say the "school" feels more like a 4-year school than a community college.

However, what I really wonder about is what happens if this show lasts at least two seasons? Alan, any thoughts?

In theory, the students would be gone, right? Ok, maybe Pierce and Shirley stick around and keep taking classes here and there, but one would Troy, Annie and Abed would move on. Not to mention Joel McHale's character for sure; even if he finds love or something else while on that campus, hard to imagine he sticks around no matter what, right?

Just to be clear, loved the episode and really happy to see this show continues to improve.

jarodrussell said...

@Ben, well, if Jeff can get his BS/BA degree to reinstate (?) his Master's Degree, he could always teach at Greendale.

belinda said...

I wonder if the writers of Community, Cougartown and Modern Family got together and decided they should all do a memorable little ditty jingle/song on their respective shows. (I also wonder a little if it's a little influenced by the popularity of the Conchords too.)

I am impressed with how they've been writing all the student characters for the show - now if only they could do the same for Ken Jeong's teacher character (or bring John Oliver back more often). All in all, a good episode, not as strong as last week's halloween episode, but still a very strong one. Can't wait to see more!

Witzke A said...

I would love to see a running gag with Pierce and Tiny Nipple Guy insulting each other with song

Dennis said...

Who knows why things strike us as funny but Pierce signing back-up vocals on the "Britta is a B" track had me absolutely roaring.

I can't believe no one else mentioned it

The first line was good but when he crooned, "she was a GD B" it struck me as funny on a few levels. I'm not sure if Pierce was oblivious to what the lyrics were about - and he most likely was given later events - or if he was just giving it his all because he was so jacked to be part of a band but the scene absolutely did it for me.

I was sorta iffy about "Community" at the beginning because the first couple of eps didn't grab me even though I thought all the pieces were there. I let a few eps build up and then I burned through them one night last week and caught up before last Thurs.

But after last night, it's the "can't miss" pile.

Finally, there's an old Rolling Stone article about Chevy Chase that paints him in an unflattering light but given his work in recent eps and the way he came off on a recent appearance in Fallon, I hope the guy's back.

Tarantino could give work to all the older serious actors so hopefully McKay or Apatow can find a role here or there for Chase.

shermski said...

However, what I really wonder about is what happens if this show lasts at least two seasons? Alan, any thoughts?

In theory, the students would be gone, right?


Anyone who has actually gone to a community college would know the answer to this question. I know people who have put in upwards of 6 years without ever actually graduating.

Besides, it's TV. If it works, you get to bend the rules. Like how Cliff and Norm never had to go to AA, despite spending every night for 11 years sitting in a bar.

Anonymous said...

Jeff said in the pilot that he was planning on graduating from this college with his BA. You can stay for as many years at a community college as you want, and all you'll get is an AA (associate's degree).

Not to insult the show, the show is awesome.

Tracey said...

shermski said...
... what happens if this show lasts at least two seasons? ...
In theory, the students would be gone, right?


That never got in the way of M*A*S*H. That series lasted much longer than the Korean War it was set in.

jason said...

Brita/Annie = Ginger/Mary Ann.
Think about it.

Ben said...

Appreciate everyone commenting on my 'what happens after two years at community college" post.

I guess I was looking beyond the obvious in terms of the writers can manipulate time and scenario however they want. I mean, how of those 24-hour days can Jack Bauer have in a lifetime?

It just seems like the very large driving force of the show involves a guy who is doing everything he can to not be there and three (Abed, Troy, Annie) post-HS students who "realistically" wouldn't be at this school much beyond the two-year period, if at all. (Ok, I can see Abed staying and staying, especially if he gets a gig on the campus radio station or the Glendale Batman gig takes off).

That means new cast members - which is a positive of being at a location that expects constant turnover - or really changing the arc for certain characters to keep them around.

Its the latter part that scares me or makes me wonder what happens going forward. I'm not knocking CC at all - I took classes at my local one once upon a time - but how many characters can play the career student role. If we grow with the characters, do we not went them to grow as well? If yes, would we feel satisfied if they don't move beyond the doors of Glendale?

Again, love the show. Just curious to see how they get themselves out of a potential corner they have painted themselves into.

arrabbiata said...

regarding the BA degree and community college...

For what it's worth, the community college where I teach (NJ) has a partnership with a state university that allows AA students to go on to earn a university BA (limited to a few specific programs) while taking all the classes on the CC campus. So if it can happen here, I guess it can happen at Glendale, too. (same as the possibility of a CC dorm addressed in an earlier comment)

Jenn said...

I considered the two-year college issue when this show first started, and one season does not have to equal one year. Shows often pick up right where they left off the next season. That's one way they can get around it. There are no kids on the show so aging wouldn't be an issue. Of course, if they want to do holiday or season-related episodes, then this wouldn't work.

Tracey said...

See, I have much less problem with the 2-year issue than I have with other departures from reality. This week's example that I couldn't ignore: Jeff's condo association changing his locks and listing his condo as available. Um... nope, sorry, doesn't work that way. If it's a condo, not an apartment, he owns it, and there's nothing the condo association can do. In any case, all he owes them is the association fee, which would not possibly be equivalent to the value of the condo. Now, his mortgage company might be foreclosing on him, but again, can't change the locks the way an apartment can.

Of course, we all know that TV writers don't live in the same reality as the rest of us.