Season 6 Episode 3- “Basic Crisis Room Decorum”
Air Date: March 24, 2015
There’s some I just can’t put my finger on, but there’s something off this season. The tone and the antics might seem one and the same, but it just isn’t the same in Season 6 of Community. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m interested to see if I can figure it out by the end of the season.
The episode begins with Annie being startled by an email and sounding the horn of Gondor to rally the study group/Committee to Save Greendale to an emergency session. Of course, this means sending a text to Frankie and the ensuing farce in the group text is great. Group texting as a whole is a dangerous proposition, but mix in the Dean’s delusions of his relationship with Jeff, and it’s amazing. In fact, the running gag between the Dean and the future head of the Yakuza was my favorite part of the episode.
It’s been awhile since we’ve had the specter of City College lurk over Greendale, but an attack ad featuring Greendale giving an (alleged) bachelor’s degree (not just a two-year degree) to dog is going to run at 7am. Personally, I don’t know what they’re really worried about because the ad is running, AT 7 AM IN THE DAMN MORNING, but I guess an attack on Greendale at any time is an attack on them all. Annie, Frankie, Jeff, and the Dean all show up as promised. Chang shows up (because he has a right to be there) and Britta rolls in drunk from her bartending job. Within a few minutes, she literally craps her pants and wanders out into the wilds of Greendale, only to return with Elroy Patashnik in tow, thus setting the scene in the “Situation Room”.
As the group views the ad, the truth dawns on them that the Dean may have actually given a degree to a dog. Is anyone actually surprised that this could happen at Greendale? To those that are still in doubt, remember the Dean’s dalmation costume from seasons past. Of course, Jeff does his usual shtick and decides to obscure and obfuscate the truth while Annie, now with her new-found partner-in-crime Frankie, go out in search of it. In the mean time, Chang decides to go shoot a porno on City College campus (while decked out in Greendale attire), and Britta goes on a quest to find coffee while wearing Elroy’s pants. While all of this is going on, Jeff and Abed remain in the situation room, crafting an attack ad on Ruffles the dog and asking the hard questions. How many puppies does she have around town? Does she maybe bark a little bit more at black mailmen?
The weakest part of the episode are the scenes between Elroy and Britta. They bond over their shared love of the band “Natalie is Freezing” and we see Britta go on a trip inside a music video, with Elroy snapping her out of it and sending her out in search of coffee once again. We get it, Britta is annoying, she’s in a terrible place, and it just seems like a huge waste of Gillian Jacobs. I personally don’t think the show has been the same since Troy (Donald Glover) left, and that grows more and more evident as the seasons progress. Troy brought an innocence, naivety, and good-heartedness that I feel the show needs, and with that gone, I believe that Community has lost its center, this shows especially during this benchmark 100th episode.
Of course, Frankie and Annie find proof that Ruffles in fact did NOT receive a degree….but only due to unpaid library fines. Of course, a dog could never pay library fines, but the real question is, how did a dog borrow a book from the Greendale library in the first place? Victory achieved (relative to Greendale), but Annie voices her concerns over smearing a dog and winning on a technicality. She threatens to leave if they go through with it, and the group calls her bluff. Of course, in the typical Community fashion, they bring her back in the end with a heartfelt mea culpa from Greendale and all is fine in the end.
This is where I’m really concerned for the direction of this show. I understand that it will be a bit clunky with the addition of two new characters, but it seems all too formulaic. This is a light-hearted show, but the reason why I loved watching this show week in and week out was that it was unique and it showed heart, as well as incredibly sharp writing. I just don’t see that anymore, and that concerns me. So far, the best things in the episodes have been the stingers at the end of the episodes, and this one keeps up the trend, being the prologue of a Japanese teenager’s descent into organized crime.
Oh, and how many of us are morbidly curious to see Chang’s genius arthouse solo porno?
That’s what I thought.