TV Review: "Community" 6x07: "Advanced Safety Features"

Using product placement as a joke isn't anything new. Any minimally self-aware comedy has done it. I remember seeing it in Family Guy and 30 Rock. Hell, I'm sure Community itself has done it before. But wow, this is the first time the joke has been stretched so far without making it lose any kind of punch. This was probably the best and funniest episode this season.

In previous reviews of the season, I had complained about the lack of concept episodes, and how these all seemed to be very straightforward. I think "Advanced Safety Features" is the closest thing we'll have to a Community-brand concept episode, and that's okay. Many of the things that had bothered me before, like Britta still being treated like a joke, Elroy having no role whatsoever in the group (and the entire show) were worked on here. I also really appreciated the show bringing back Britta's old love from season three, Subway (now working as 'Rick' for Honda). Also, her parents made a return, and I was happy about that.

Hell, even Abed's meta-awareness of the show wasn't as bothersome as it usually is. It was sweet to see them remember Troy if only for a moment (I loved Frankie just wondering what was so special about him. "Did he own a rainbow? Was he this group's pharmacist?"). I gotta say that the steel drums joke was a bit lost on me. I think I got it but it didn't really have that much of a punchline to have so much set-up.

I liked that Jeff had a role to play, even if his narcissism is a trait the show has explored way too many times already, I was glad it was done to go deeper into the character of Elroy. It took them half a season, but he's finally found a role in the group and a part to play in the story. He's still not very funny or very interesting, but he might get there.

Family Guy often tries to do that thing where if they make a joke for a long time, it will be funny, then annoying and eventually funny again (sometimes it doesn't circle back). I was kinda picturing this is what would happen here, but the story is so well written, with the character of Britta so well incorporated into the gag, that it never became annoying. It was only funny the whole way through. I really hope we see more of Rick.

But then there was this scene.

I hadn't lost my shit this hard watching a TV show since Moss' Iraq war interview in The IT Crowd. I knew I loved Frankie for a reason and eventhough she's basically ripping the Dean (probably my current favorite character, now that Annie hasn't had much to do) seven new assholes with some of the greatest acting and dialogue in a comedy show. I swear I had to pause the second or third time she apologizes for losing it. Man, talk about schadenfreude.

Overall this is the best episode this season (or maybe the second best after the season premiere; I'm not sure). It portrayed  the elements that make Community so good: clever ideas brilliantly executed. Also it was but-gustingly funny, something that had been missing for a while. Long live Frankie.
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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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