04 May, 2012

Review - COMMUNITY 3.18: 'Course Listing Unavailable'

I have said it before and I will say it again, this season has been the show's best. With a more serialized plot and and increasingly creative episodes, the writers and producers have outdone themselves. Not to mention those fantastic actors, all of them (well, maybe not Chevy) worthy of an Emmy nomination (unlikely since the voters can't figure the show out).

However, not all the episodes are epic and not all of them can impress as much as others. Yet, even when we have an episode that isn't as strong as some of the ones preceding it, COMMUNITY is still superior to most shows on television, and ALL 30-minute comedies.

Following the death of Starburns, the study group tries to deal with their sorrow via Britta's psychology expertise, something Jeff reminds her is not her profession. When the Dean informs the group that Prof. Kane has quit following the series of events depicted in the previous (and brilliant) episode, and that it means they have to repeat the class in the summer, things go from bad to so much worse very quickly.

This little plot point, that turns mighty, is totally inconsistent with reality or even what the show has established in the past, since this isn't the first time a professor has been replaced without affecting the students in this way. It is one of the few missteps by writers who would usually come up with reasons that make much more sense.

In any event, the students attend a cafeteria rally that is part mourning Starburns and part revolution against the school. When things get out of control, after several impassioned speeches from the gang, the Dean gives Chang and his evil group of kiddies the power to use any available force. Thus we get a riot partly the fault of the study group, and partly due to Chang's bastards. We also get more proof that Subway is the coolest company ever when they allow themselves to be used as an impetus for the riot and the ire of the students.

Later, when Chang finds out that the Dean is going to side with the study group, he knocks Pelton out and replaces him with a look/sound-alike. The two then ambush the so-called Greendale Seven at a school board hearing and get them expelled.

Back at Abed, Troy, and Annie's apartment, the study group meets for a callback to the great timeline episode, Remedial Chaos Theory --with the pizza guy who Britta is strangely attracted to included. Abed thinks he should have let Jeff roll the die and that this is the darkest timeline. But Troy, in a very sweet moment, tells them they will be fine because they have each other. Abed agrees and proclaims this to be the perfect timeline.

Awwww. It is the sweetest moment between the gang yet and it works nearly as perfectly as Abed's timeline theory.

Troy noticing urns on the Blu-Ray shelf.
Troy: What is that?
Abed: Starburns also left me his ashes. He requested they be burnt. I don't think he knows how ashes work. The small one's his lizard.
Troy: If we rub that, will he come out and do celebrity impressions?
Abed: I don't think so.
Troy: Then I want it out of here.

Britta tries to help the group through their grief.
Britta: As a psychologist...
Jeff: (interrupting) Student!
Britta: (still talking) I hereby offer my licensed...
Jeff: (interrupting) Unlicensed!
Britta: (still talking) services as a grief counselor.
Jeff: Grief causer.
Britta: If anyone needs to talk, the doctor...
Jeff: (interrupting) Not even close!
Britta: (continuing) is in.

Jeff: You seemed smarter than me when I met you.
Britta: Thank you.

Jeff: ...that this place, this Fallujah of higher learning, is a prison that none of us will ever escape.

Annie: I've given this place my childhood, my enthusiasm, and my loyalty. And in return, Greendale has warped me like a Barbie in a microwave! Our school flag is an anus!
Dean Pelton: You were the guys who drew it.
Annie: We're not even the best community college in our community. Let that sink in. And the cherry on top of this total lack of sundae, I'm failing a remedial biology class on a technicality! All because you (pointing at Dean Pelton) don't know how to run a school!
Dean Pelton: Ohhh, that's not...
Annie: Shame on you, dean! Shame on you! Edison out!

Pierce: Let's burn this mother down!

If I had to rate this one, and Starburns' charred remains say I do, then I'd give it:

87 out of 100

I enjoyed seeing the study group band together in mutual outrage and then find the joy, in an otherwise dark situation, in simply having each other. That level of sweetness doesn't always come off as genuine but it felt earned and believable. It will be interesting to see whether this makes them all closer for the rest of the season or if there is still a wedge off on the horizon ready to prove Abed's darker timeline theory correct, or should I now say disprove his perfect timeline theory?

I'm looking forward to next week's episode to see if Chang's master plan works. Also looking forward to the three episode finale in two-weeks. People have asked me if I plan on writing one big review or three separate, and the plan is to write three. However, I may change my mind after seeing them. Stay tuned!

So, what did you think of this episode? Comment below. Anonymously if you must.


  1. I thought this was another absolutely perfect episode, and you're right, this has been their best season yet. I'm also starting to believe that some of these theories I've been reading from fans might be spot on. One suggested these episodes are all a figment of Abed's imagination following his coming face to face with Evil Abed in 3x12. Others have suggested that they've been in this dark (or perfect) timeline since 3x04, and that's why this season has been as dark as it has been. Even if those theories aren't correct, I wouldn't put it past Harmon to write something of that caliber of genius.

    1. Well, it could very well be that and that there will be some huge time traveling finale. But I'm not going to get too invested in that possibility. As with LOST, I like just going on this ride and not over-thinking it.

    2. I'm with you. I mean, a part of me wonders whether such theories could be true, and if one or the other were true, it would be an epic finish to this season. Of course, even if neither theory plays out, I'm sure we'll all be blown away by whatever Harmon and the writers come up with. I'm at a point with this show where I truly believe the writers are capable of pretty much anything even though I know how dangerous putting the writers on a pedestal like that can be.

  2. Come on I'm Dean
    And my hand are so clean
    At this moment
    I'm stapling !!

    Hahahaha !

    I didn't really like this ep when I watched it live . Well, I liked it but didn't love it . Probably expected after the epic ness of the L&O ep the week before . But after a few rewatches I liked it a lot more .

    I love me some Chang , in small doses . I hope the rest of tbe season isn't devoted to taking him down . Or if it is , please don't have him front and center .

  3. Quick question

    What's the point of renewing community if only 13 and not tbe 17 it needs for 88 ? That doesn't make sense to me .

    Also Parks&Rec is also likely to get some sort of abbreviated season when they are about 20 eps away .

    According to deadline .

    1. I hadn't heard that number was 13. Where did you hear that?

    2. It's not necessarily 13 per se but both could be abbreviated seasons

    3. Well, while anything can happen, I've heard everyone will get the necessary number of episodes to reach syndication.

    4. could they mean that instead of the 22 ep orders they got the past few years that they are just getting 13 + the optional back 9 ?

      For the price that sony will inevitably giving away community for , wouldn't it just make sense to order the 17 , then give it an option for a + 5 if the ratings are there ?

      I don't follow parks&rec , but it would seem silly to not at least have them reach 88 for next season .

      NBC is really going the comedy route next year , from the descriptions of the shows they have already picked up I doubt their luck will change in that dept .

      Maybe Universal should give NBC a 13 week order with the option of a back 25 lol

    5. Every time you are renewed, there is the potential of a back order. Even when they announce a show is in its final season. If the network needs more, they will order more.

      As for the syndication number, not every show needs 88. That's just a minimum number that has become what buyers seem to look for... but shows have made syndication with less (and others have not made syndication with more).