A review of last night's "Community" coming up just as soon as throat surgery humanizes me...
I talk a lot in these reviews about how much pop culture referencing is too much, and "Contemporary American Poultry" took the idea about as far as it could go with an extended, marvelously-executed homage to "Goodfellas." We got Abed-as-Henry-Hill voiceover, push-ins, doo-wop on the soundtrack, freeze-frames, the extended piano coda to "Layla" accompanying a massacre of sorts, and even a brief homage to the end of the famous tracking shot of Henry and Karen at the Copa(*). There was also a bit of "The Godfather" thrown in, with people kissing Abed's ring, while the door was closed on Jeff as if he were Kay Corleone.
(*) Poniewozik wondered why they didn't do a full-on tracking shot, and the answer to that is that they take forever to shoot, and no weekly sitcom has that kind of time in the schedule.
All of that was very well-done, and appropriate for an Abed spotlight episode, in that Abed tends to relate to people through popular culture. And it led to a very nice character moment between Abed and Jeff in the kitchen, and it's the show's commitment to its characters, and also to showing how a community works (here with the chicken taking on too much currency) that makes it something far richer and more interesting than just a live-action "Family Guy." And because the "very special episode" conversation between Jeff and Abed felt earned and true to both men, it then gave the show license to throw in the "Sixteen Candles" gag at the end.
Some other thoughts:
• The "streets ahead" running gag is apparently Dan Harmon getting one final bit of revenge against some guy who attacked him on Twitter. I'm sure others of you can fill in the background on this.
• A monkey with the name Annie's Boobs was just the comedy gift that kept on giving, wasn't it?
• Add Alison Brie to the list of sitcom actors I want to see dancing as often as possible, after she busted out both The Running Man and The Robot in celebrating her new backpack.
• Shirley had a great line about Abed stealing Sexy Dreadlock Guy and how Tyler Perry has made a lot of movies explaining why that's wrong.
What did everybody else think?