Community Review: Internet Hardline Mainframes

Season 6, Episode 6 – Basic Email Security
Grade: B+

At this point in history, so much of the interactions in the Western World take place digitally. Behind our devices, we can have conversations and gossip to our heart’s content. If anything, we know that our friendly neighborhood study group, while loving, can also tear each other to shreds when the need arises. This need will obvious rear its ugly head as the group loses control of their private correspondences.

In what is probably the most realistic depiction of hacking on network TV (CSI’s 4 hands, 1 keyboard being the worst) Greendale gets hacked by a mysterious criminal known as “EliteFleet69” and threatens to leak the emails of everyone in the school, starting with the lunch lady. Although the screen shot of the lunch lady’s inbox is brief, it contains some great easter eggs. Apparently, Buzz Hickey passed away, Garrett has a monthly correspondence about his food allergies, and Magnitude sends out “POP POP” email blasts.

This is going to most likely be the most overt way that Community will address any hot topic issue. I suppose that it’s good that they’re killing two birds with one stone, right to privacy and terrorism. The right to privacy is obvious, but negotiating with terrorists part is actually kind of interesting. Yes, they don’t cave, but in the process, everyone suffers. It’s a very intriguing allegory that the show poses, in a way that only comedy can do.

Are we part of the problem when we read what’s leaked? Sure we are, but at a certain point, it’s all just news right? Britta again makes an impassioned plea to stand up against the demands of EliteFleet69, and if you dig beneath the hippie-dippy crap there’s sense in what she says. Leave it up to Britta, even when I agree with her, I don’t want to. Of course, then the activities committee/study group/Committee to Save Greendale is threatened with their own email leak. The group decides to remain bonded in solidarity to bring Gupta Goopi Gupta (the episode’s director Jay Chandresekar) to stage.

However, the study group having the impulse control of a 5-year-old with ADHD off his meds, reads the leaked emails, and the ensuing breakdown is glorious. Accusations and revelations fly left and right, I won’t go into details, but the best bits are the group’s pool on Frankie’s sexuality, Elroy’s fake family, and Chang’s 1 vs. 2 email chain. Despite it all, the group manages the rally and put Gupta Goopi Gupta onstage, only to realize that his show wasn’t offensive and funny, just offensive, and frankly, pretty damn terrible.

At the end of the ordeal, the entirety of Greendale has lost its privacy, and while the group stood the moral high ground, everyone else had to pay, a recurring theme. Chang is searching for some sort of meta-lesson and the gang is at a loss, until the police show up with EliteFleet69 aka FartMitzvah. Somehow, they pull “Crime Doesn’t Pay” out of their ass and call it a day. Again, the stinger scene at the end of the episode is somehow one of the best parts.

This foray into the study group proved to be a little more solid than the rest of the episodes this season so far, but it still misses some heart. I guess it just seems like it’s been out a while, but this is only episode 6. Next week will be the official halfway point, and hopefully it all trends up from here on out.

Terence Chen
Terence Chen
is someone who realizes that his love of comic books since he was a child is one of only things allowing him to understand pop culture right now. He's irreverent and irrelevant most of the time, but every once in a while, he can put together a few coherent thoughts. He is currently a contributing writer on the Workprint. You can follow him on twitter @ErrantBachelor, and read his personal ramblings at

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