10 May, 2012

Review - COMMUNITY 3.19: 'Curriculum Unavailable'

First of all... great news! COMMUNITY HAS BEEN RENEWED FOR A 4TH SEASON! Not good news? It is only 13 episodes. What does that mean for its syndication future? I don't think it matters or Sony would have gotten more. They already sold online syndication to Hulu, and cable to Comedy Central. They must be confident they can survive on 84 episodes (unless they plan on continuing the show on another network). Plus there's always the chance that everything else on NBC tanks next season and the show gets picked up for a back 9.

Anyway, let's get to the episode.

It has been two months since the gang was expelled from Greendale and the gang seems to be spending a lot of time together. When Abed is caught trespassing on school grounds, the fake dean, having been replaced last week by Chang, offers free counseling to help him cope.

The entire group joins Abed in therapy and discuss him with the psychiatrist. We get several scenes related to Abed's apparent lack of a stable mindset over the years.

*Freaking out over daylight savings.

*Calling Shirley a bad person for saying Brett Ratner is the next Spielberg.

*Narrating Pierce's habits as if reading from a novel.

*Video taping a sleeping Annie at four in the morning.

When the gang tries to defend Abed's behavior, they turn the evaluation onto themselves. We then see scenes depicting the rest of the group behaving strangely.

*Britta arriving at the study group looking like she just came out of a hurricane, seemingly after a night of freebasing peyote.

*Annie doing 'Troy and Abed in the Morning' by herself and with two stuffed animals.

*Jeff being weird about his jacket.

*Troy spending all his money on an all terrain vehicle.

*Shirley punishing her boys for eating the cookies she made for the group by giving the group her kids' personal things.

The psychiatrist determines that Abed should be in a mental institution. The gang argues that they've been subjected to mental anguish at Greendale and we get several scenes that show the total lunacy that is the school including classes on advanced breathing; "Can I fry that?" which gets a student thrown out for suggesting fries; ladders and other nutty things.

The gang also discusses the positive effect the school has had on their lives, all seemingly involving the real dean playing favorites with them, including another paintball game for free tickets to see a performance of "Chicago." Abed, having earlier tried to tell them that the real dean has been replaced, tells them the real dean would never have expelled them.

The gang rallies behind the idea that something doesn't fit and decide to return to Greendale to find out the truth. But the doctor tells them that Greendale isn't a community college but instead an asylum and that they have all been experiencing a shared psychosis. Having all been released at the same time, they have now relapsed.

We then get scenes of the gang acting out moments from episodes, but this time in crazy people jail garb. The doctor then tries to convince the group that they've been crazy the entire time. But as they leave his office it is Jeff who realizes the ridiculousness of it all. They go back in and find the "doctor" on the phone and sneaking out the window.

Problem for him? They have tons of evidence of Greendale existing, including pictures and a school bag. The fake psychiatrist then confesses that Abed has been right all along and that Chang has kidnapped the real dean and replaced him with a look-alike.

We then get crazy Chang scenes. As the gang reminisces, the fake doctor escapes. The gang decides to solve the problem. Chang gets a heads-up and begins to enact phase 2, whatever that is (as if he knows).

Hearing a knock on the door and expecting Abed to arrive with food, Troy receives a different surprise, a police officer with Abed in tow.
Troy: See? Cool. Abed brought delicious police.

Annie explains to the officer that Abed is just playing a character.
Officer Cackowski: Oh yes, I'm very familiar with Inspector Spacetime. You think a guy becomes a cop because his prom night was a dream? If this were comic con, I'd take a bullet for that kid. But here in the real world, trespassing is a crime.

Officer Cackowski: Anyway, walk to your cars in pairs tonight. Rape's up eight percent.

Psychiatrist: Talk to me about crazy-town-banana-pants.

After Troy rides into the library on his new ATV.
Annie: Troy! You can't bring that in here!
Troy: Yes I can. It's all terrain, dummy!

Troy: (crying) Please, mister doctor psychiatrist, sir! Please don't send my best friend to crazy people jail!
Jeff: Relax. He doesn't have the right. Abed isn't dangerous.
Shirley: Yeah, he's just unique like a snowflake who gets bent-out-of-shape when you mix up Star Wars and Space Treks.

Doctor: It was a mentally compatible alternative to your grim reality.

Doctor: And you've attended Greendale for three years but don't community colleges end after two?
Jeff: Everyone's always saying that! The average community college student attends school five to seven years. Many offer four year degrees.
Doctor: In your mind they do. In your mind.

If I had to rate this episode, and the gang says I do, then I'd give it:

90 out of 100

So this was the show's clip episode, except with clips from episodes that we've never seen. So, it was an original but felt like a clip episode. It was still very enjoyable and had some funny moments that passed by very quickly, like Chang's pre-cog bathtub, or the paintball game we never heard of before. I also loved the hospital sequence with the characters acting out scenes from other episodes. This may not go down in history as one of the best COMMUNITY episodes, but it was thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to next week's three-episode finale.

I am NOT looking forward to writing that review, though!

What did you all think?


  1. I loved this episode, so much, from the Lost references to Paintball Noir to Garrett as a pre-cog, and especially the stuff that was in an asylum; Jeff and Troy jumping on a mattress and saying they had found a “magical trampoline”. The whole thing was just awesome, start to finish. One of my coworkers at Dish was trying to decide if “Curriculum Unavailable” beat out “Remedial Chaos Theory” as the best episode of the year s far. We re-watched both of them at dishonline.com using and I’m still undecided. Did you have any thoughts on that?

    1. Alright... this Dish stuff has to end some time...

  2. Speaking of syndication, I'm beginning to wonder whatever happened to the syndication of Chuck episodes. Chuck got those extra episodes supposedly to sweeten it for syndication, but little seems to be happening.

    I thought maybe they might wait until the DVD came out, but it's out now. Ma

    (Not Community-related, I know, but your mention of it got me thinking)

    1. Shrug. I guess they're having problems selling it.

  3. Troy and Abed on Friiidays ( NIGHTS )

    What kind of demo do you think is need to survive there ?