I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to read my thoughts on the season premiere of Community. I know I have!
In brief, I thought it was a pretty good episode. Not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but so few things are. Including most Community episodes! Most of them are very good, and even the ones I liked less than some others were no worse than good. I would rank last night's episode alongside that last group. It was solid enough and had a number of moments I enjoyed very much, but it won't go down in history as one of the best sitcom episodes ever.
Here's what I didn't like:
- Repetition. There were quite a few jokes that had been done in earlier episodes, usually better. For example, in the second season episode "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy," Troy takes off a hipsterish neck scarf when he sees Britta wearing the same thing. In "History 101," Jeff took off his hipsterish glasses when he saw Britta wearing them too. The previous one was a better joke, because neck scarves were more au courant among the hipster crowd — Dan Harmon admitted in the commentary that one of his young writers had to tell him about the trend — whereas hipsterish glasses are so readily recognized as hipsterish as to hardly qualify as hipsterish anymore. That said, the name of the episode was "History 101," and I'm willing to entertain the idea that the recycled jokes were metacommentary, i.e. a literal history of the show.
- Annie's crush on Jeff. I thought this was played too broadly, given the events of the season three episode "Virtual Systems Analysis," where she admitted her attraction to Jeff had more to do with the fantasy Jeff than the real Jeff. Of course, by the end of the season, Real Jeff had moved closer to her fantasy Jeff. And it's worth noting that in the scenario she spins about her life as a health care administrator, she casts herself as a single woman trying to catch the eye of a hunky doctor.
- Pierce's "storyline." Didn't go anywhere and the payoff was lame.
But I did like:
- Fred Willard as Pierce in Abed's happy place. I didn't know Willard was due to appear, so when he walked into the study room, it was a delightful surprise. The man is a national treasure.
- Greendale Babies. Another great surprise! A happy place within a happy place was a nice idea, and nicely executed.
- Instagram for Besties. Hee! And especially the part with Baby Pierce bouncing on breasts. Hey, I'm immature.
- Annie's plan to have Senioritis. Because of course she would try to plan something like that. And of course she would be terrible at it. Good characterization.
So all in all, I rate it good but not great. And I'm looking forward to the rest of the season!