TV Review: "Community" 6x03: "Basic Crisis Room Decorum"


Community's 100th episode was pretty surprising, and not necessarily in a good way. When you think of a show like this getting to 100 episodes, you'd expect it to be a concept episode, to have some meta allusions to this milestone many shows never get.

There was none of that! This was as straightforward as a post-season one episode could be. Now, this isn't really a bad thing; I just feel it's unexpected. The episode involves Annie invoking an emergency meeting of the study group (and not Chang!) when City College threatens to unleash a smear ad that reveals that Greendale once gave a degree to Ruffles, a dog, a revelation that would pretty much completely make any other degree given to a student pretty much invalid.

As expected, some of them aren't happy with the meeting, others are way too eager to engage in a pseudo-political investigation and damage control strategy, turning the study room into a cliché Situation Room in a scene that felt like classic Community (Abed's descriptions of what they'd need, like a bunch of clocks with different times, was great).

There is something amazing at display in this episode, and that is the way in which the show teaches us how all the ridiculous craziness that's been going on for years now actually has had an effect on us as viewers. The dramatic stakes at the end of the episode, in which Annie confronts the rest of the study group (namely Jeff and the increasingly likeable Frankie) were surprisingly high.

There was actual drama involved, which is absurd when you take into account how ridiculous the story is; we've grown so accustomed to stupid stories, it's become easier for the writers to make us care without elevating stakes. This kind of explains why, when the drama is real (Pierce's death, Troy's departure), it hits incredibly hard.

This of course comes at the cost of the episode not being as consistently funny as we'd expect, but I think it's a good trade-off, especially considering that the moments in which it wanted to be funny, it was hilarious. The scene with Dean bringing Jeff a bunch of olives ("This isn't the first time you do this. I am very confused by this.") was fucking hysterical.

Bigger problems? They still treat Britta as a huge joke, one that's stopped being funny and was particularly crude here. There were better chances for her character when she showed up drunk to the meeting. The way they treated her was just terrible. It worries me that the writers no longer know what to do with her.

And speaking of, I'm still wondering what they're planning to do with Keith David's character. He didn't have a role here at all. They've incorporated Frankie remarkably well into the dynamic, so I don't doubt their capacity to do it right; I'm just wondering how long it will take.

Once more, the end stinger was excellent. What a weird fucking joke; I have no clue why it made me laugh as much as it did.

This was another good, sometimes hilarious, episode that showed some minor worrisome symptoms that no longer have anything to do with the show's identity, but with its capacity for longevity. I hope these slips don't show up in future episodes, because then I will begin to doubt whether there should be any more Community after this.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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