Season 6, Episode 5 – Laws of Robotics and Party Rights
Air Date: April 7, 2015
As usual, our gang is convened around the study room table at the request of Frankie. While they wait for her to show up, Britta rejoices at the end of midterms and wants to throw a party in her new apartment. Annie chimes in saying that a party in their apartment is limited to 8 additional guests, anything going over that is considered a rager, which is explicitly prohibited, especially because Britta is the newest roommates, and is just a ‘coucher’.
Following Annie’s strong rejection of a rager, an iPad attached to a Segway rolls into the study with Frankie’s face displayed. She explains that Colorado is piloting a program where convicts use telepresence platforms to attend college. Despite Chang’s initial warning of, “they’ll rape us, they’ll rape us all” the committee decides to green light the program, not out of any sort of altruistic motivation, but the fact that this means Greendale will get $300,000. That, and with Jeff’s affirmation, the Dean’s weakness to anything Jeff says, a group of convicts sets foot wheel onto campus.
After the Dean’s threat to adjust the contrast on the iPads to prevent any race gangs from forming, the convicts each roll off through the halls of Greendale. Jeff’s Fundamentals of Law class gets saddled with a charismatic convicted murderer named Willy. It’s obvious from the repartee between the two that the main difference between Jeff and Willy is an orange jumpsuit, oh, and Willy actually killed a man. An uneasy chill falls between the two men as Willy challenges Jeff’s dominance in the classroom, a chill that is eased by what has to be the twentieth watching of Planet Earth by Jeff’s class.
While all that is going on, Britta continually is thinking about throwing her party, so using Britta logic, because Abed has technically has been the longest tenant of the apartment, he supersedes Annie on created the apartment rules. Of course, Abed has no desire to throw a party or override Annie, so Britta preys on Abed logic by convincing him to instead shoot a film exploring parties, to which Annie gently whispers in Britta’s ear, “before this is over, you’ll beg for my forgiveness”. Crazy Annie, is the best Annie.
As Jeff leaves Greendale to go to his car in the Greendale Parking Garage (why have there not been more scenes in the Greendale Parking Garage), we see what would’ve been a threatening atmosphere with a hardened criminal become incredibly laughable as we see Willy attempt to throw Jeff down the stair by repeatedly bumping him with this iPad/Segway combo. Even his attempt at retreating into the shadows fails as he gets stuck on litter. Of course, following this little attempted murder attempt, Jeff goes to see the Dean, only to find that Willy has preempted him and complained to the Dean about the Planet Earth marathon that is Fundamentals of Law. Threaten his life, fine, but Jeff will not take potshots against his nonchalant lifestyle that he’s carefully built.
As Jeff heads back to class, he sees Willy taking control of the students who used to hang on his every word, and tries to reclaim his spot at the head of the class, but Willy breaks down his carefully constructed adult life, using his prison charisma and rep as a felon to usurp Jeff. Jeff’s ego is his reason for existence, you wound that, and you wound the beast. Jeff retreats to Britta’s Party/Abed’s film, and starts to unload, only to find that Frankie and the Dean have brought the convicts out of the school and into the party, to celebrate the funding of Greendale. As Willy breezes in and takes over the party, Jeff leaves, ego beaten and battered. Of course, Abed’s devotion to cinema has him filming way past Britta’s bed time, so her clever ruse to throw a rager backfires in her face. Gee, who would’ve guessed. Things finally come to a head when Britta begs Annie to intervene, which she does, and Britta screws things up with Abed, bringing that boring plotline to a close.
With Jeff on the outs with the school, Willy shows up to gloat and twist the knife, keeping on taunting Jeff, and this takes him to the brink, and “murders” Willy’s iPad/Segway in front of the Dean, who sends Jeff away from Greendale on a two-week paid sabbatical, PAID DAMMIT!! Willy has obviously usurped Jeff’s position as the Dean’s object of affection with his bad boy image. When Jeff finds out that Willy is going to be named a Professor Emeritus, he decides to crash the ceremony using Elroy, an iPad, a broom, and a remote-controlled car to roll in. Jeff interrupts the ceremony/faux wedding to profess true and genuine friendship for the Dean and actually caring about Greendale. Willy is about to fight back, but is exposed as an innocent man, which sets the scene for battling iPads, with the Dean carrying telepresence Jeff out into the sunset.
Last week’s episode was definitely the highlight of season six so far. Does this week’s episode continue on the upward trend? Well, no, not exactly. This is where the whole paradigm of the sixth season starts to bother me again. Yes, some of the plots in Community are ridiculous and amazing, but that’s not why we come back to the show. We come back because we love the characters, which I think is the strength of any show. The strongest episodes of Community are when the characters show growth and development. So far, most of season six is just a series of ridiculous plots that rely on the character stereotypes to play into it.