Season 6, Episode 1: Ladders
Season 6, Episode 2: Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care
By hook or by crook right? We’re finally at the sixth season, and though it’s technically not on television anymore, Yahoo brought us the beloved and tenacious Community back. Honestly, the show’s saga is only possible in this day and age of media, but hey, I like the show, so I’m not complaining. We’ve decided to review these two episodes together, due to their release and similar tone, and then the single episode reviews every week thereafter.
Ah, Greendale. After Subway decided to leave the little school that could alone, we snap back to the community college with a PA announcement written by Abed. It was great to see that even though season six is on Yahoo, they carried over so much, even the to-do board that Annie fastidiously updated was back, and lo and behold, due to some faulty tape, a major catastrophe occurs, bringing back old memories for Leonard. Can we just take a second and marvel at how different he looks with a wig? Also, the CGI here is just absolutely awful, it completely knocks you out of the story, but I guess Yahoo doesn’t have the budget that NBC has.
This episode is obviously the introduction to Francesca “Frankie” Dart, who is the typical type-A pathological problem fixer that is all the rage in TV nowadays. She steps in and immediately tries to whip Greendale into shape, and she succeeds…but in the process alienates the study group because she’s actually a professional. As the study group decides to rebel, they create a secret committee which of course turns into a speakeasy in the back of Shirley’s Sandwiches. In the meantime, Frankie convinces Abed that making a real difference is hard, because it lacks drama and tension.
This is where the episode weakens for me. The show is trying to introduce the character of Frankie, but it also tries to out-meta Abed, which in a sense is just trying to directly break the fourth wall and speak to the audience. This attempt seems clunky, and out of character for the show. Of course, Frankie finds the speakeasy, shuts it down, and in turn finds herself out of a position at Greendale. What I love though, is that in her next interview, her type-A personality is called out as no real person would speak like that in the workplace. This makes her an oddball, so of course, she’s welcomed back to Greendale with open arms (but mostly just to deal with medical bills and lawsuits for negligence).
AND JESUS WEPT!
But, not really, I just couldn’t stop burst out loud laughing whenever the Dean screamed that phrase from the top of his lungs. The second episode was much stronger, because Greendale went back to its usual nutty antics, involving the Dean putting himself in a 90’s era virtual reality machine (and misquoting the aforementioned line) and meeting Britta’s parents.
While the last episode introduced Frankie, this episode introduces Elroy Patashnik, the inventor of virtual reality machine which the Dean spends $5000 dollars on. While the last episode revolved around the introduction of Frankie, this episode gently introduces us to Elroy in a more casual manner, which may be the reason why I like him more. Of course, it could also be the fact that Keith David’s voice is incredibly soothing for some reason.
But, as the Dean becomes entranced in the ridiculously complex virtual reality world (you have to drown/murder a file in a fountain of a monastery to delete it), he gets trapped in ‘worlds within worlds’ and Jeff has to go track down Elroy in order to get a refund, which after some cajoling, happens, because Elroy comes back to Greendale and shows the Dean the next advent of virtual reality technology, which is in fact, the mouse. And so, with that out of the way, the stage is set for Elroy to enter, who I guess will be the new curmudgeon, a la Pierce/Hickey.
But, before the episodes are over, we get to meet Britta’s parents! Britta’s parents have secretly been paying off Britta’s debts to the study group for years and in fact have had them over for both game nights and dinners, dinners at which Jeff will eat mashed potatoes because they’re not made from carbs, they’re made of love. Britta’s realization of this (after having her parents pay for her to move in with Annie and Abed) sends her on a route of confrontation with her parents, only to realize that the parents she knew and rebelled against are gone, and that they, like herself have grown. Britta realizes that the reason why she can’t see her parents for who they are now is because she was there when they were still growing into those people (as Frankie hilariously puts it, Jimmy Fallon syndrome). I really hope that we see her parents in future episodes, they seem like they’d throw a wrench into the bummer that is Britta, and that’s a good thing.
All in all, these two episodes were mixed, but I understood what they were for, exposition. With the arrival of two new main characters for the season, there had to be a vehicle for them to be introduced. Frankie’s episode was clunky, Elroy’s less so. We’ll have to wait till next week to see where this leads us.
Oh, and hopefully by then Chang’s cat bite will have healed, that thing looked gruesome.