28 February, 2013

Review - COMMUNITY 4.04: 'Alternative History of the German Invasion'

The fourth episode of this fourth season, which I believe was actually shot as the second episode, is perhaps the most classic feeling one of this Dan-Harmon-less season. Does that make it good? Read on.

There have been some complaints by our dear readers that my grades and comments related to this season have been unfair. These people feel I've given Dan Harmon too much credit and that he was at the helm for bad episodes in the past. Episodes that these people claim are worse than any of the first few of this season.

Let me address those comments in this review.


Dan Harmon is the GOD of the COMMUNITY universe. He created it and put himself into every episode (and by that I mean he didn't just let writers have their way with a single episode). With his departure, the new show runners, no matter their qualifications or talent, are at best demigods of that universe. And up to this point, they've helped deliver what amounts to mediocre/bad fan-fiction.

If you think any season 4 episode has been as good or even better than ANY season 1, 2, or 3 episode of the series, then that's your problem. We have totally different perspectives on quality. I'm not suggesting mine is more accurate than yours. My perspective is the one that comes from this mind, this soul, and expressed via these fingers right here (I'm holding them up for you). You don't have to like it. In the same way I didn't like the first three episodes of this season.

That brings us to the fourth episode which I previously mentioned was shot second (as far as I know).  And that's what is very strange about it. Because I'd have thought it was shot much later in the process, after the writers and actors had worked out all the kinks.

This time most things feel very familiar. Comfortable.  That's not to say the episode stands out as one of the best, but at least it can sit alongside those Harmon-era episodes that felt unusually below average.  We get the return of the Germans, Chang (and his Changnesia),  and geek-centric dialogue that doesn't feel (too) forced.

When the Germans figure out a way to take the study-room away from the group, our heroes suffer the consequences until they figure out a way to take it back (if god was still running this show, I'd detail that for you, but I don't make that much of an effort for demigods).  Unfortunately for the gang, the Germans make themselves the victim and rally people to a protest the study group.  And hilarity ensues. Followed by a message delivered by Hitler-Jeff.

This isn't an epic episode but it does have fun dialogue that works with our characters. It succeeds on a most basic level, never achieving greatness but works because of familiarity. This is one of those cases where if Harmon was still running the show, it would earn a much worse score. But because these try-hards are behind it, I'm actually inclined to praise them for it.

Reinholt: Don't worry. If there's one thing Germans don't do it's hold a grudge.
Abed: Unless we're talking about DIE HARD 3.
Jeff: Or the 20th century.

When the Dean reacts to the return of Chang, off in a different part of the school...
Abed: I just felt a strange disturbance.
Britta: Did you have dairy this morning?
Abed: Could be that. Or it could be that great evil's nearby. I'll take a provisional lactate.

Troy: I don't understand any of these puns. I think I need to learn history. 
After Jeff gives a long speech...
Abed: You had me at 'ruse'.
Jeff: That was the last thing I said.
Abed: Good thing you said it.

And some other stuff. I'm super lazy tonight.

If I had to rate this episode, and I don't mind doing so, I'd give it:

81 out of 100

Though, after I subtract 50 Dan-Harmon-is-god points, the score is a 31 out of 100. So a failure. Sorry, I didn't make up that rule.

(so I made up that rule)


  1. I should have added that if this had been a Dan Harmon era episode, it would have received a 70. Maybe even a 68.

    1. Since Dan Harmon's presence in the writers is worth an automatic 50 points, does that mean the episode was worth only 15 or 20 points on its merits? Or am I not understanding how the Harmon-is-God points work?

    2. No, it was worth 31 points on its own merit. Also, the 50 Dan Harmon points aren't completely accurate since Harmon sometimes put 90% of himself into an episode, whereas some episodes were only 42% of his heart and soul. I just figured 50 was a fair number for removing what was an auteur show runner and replacing him with replacement show runners that weren't even on the show until this season.

      Hell, saying that makes me think I should have made it 90 points.

  2. Finally I get to reading the blog

    1. You'd think the president of my fan-club would make more of an effort!

  3. It felt like a run-of-the mill Harmon episode. Well done!

    1. I was very impressed that it was so below average!

  4. If Harmon was so awesome how come not many viewers tuned in? Oh right, they are dumb and he is not. Too bad he was not smart enough to stay employed.

    1. More viewers tuned in while he was running the show than tune in now. So, I don't know what point you are trying to make.

    2. I think he may have been comparing the viewership numbers for Community versus viewership numbers for The Big Bang Theory, which is kinda crazy.

    3. Only a fuckin' idiot would do that.

    4. Yeah, apart from being 22 minutes long and in the same time slot, the shows could not be any more different.

  5. Even Harmon admitted he was a shit manager for Sony and NBC. Like Charlie Sheen, they could not control Harmons vices (alcohol abuse) and his public meltdowns did not help. Saying Fuck you Chevy in front of all his cast and crew and leaving those messages did not help. Plus him doing all these lectures and interviews about how executives suck and money being evil just will not make him friends.

    It is sad but Dan was just too fucked up, they had no choice. He abused everyone, even his staff.

    1. There is ZERO evidence, nor does any reporter even suggest, that alcohol was what did Harmon in. It was his attitude toward the suits at Sony and NBC. Nothing more. You think Harmon is unusual in his attitude toward suits? You know nothing.

      They had choices. They chose one of them. And they suck.

    2. @Anonymous,

      I think you are using Dan Harmon's interviews against him. When he said stuff like he drank a pitcher of vodka, I think he was joking...and how you connect him supposible drinking a lot, even if he says he does...how does that mean it resulted in him having a bad attitude?

      Sure he admitted that he has cried in his car when the suits did not get his point of view and the Chevy stuff was infortunate, but, if you take a gander at Hollywood news pages there is a lot worse shit that goes on. There is sexual harrasment cases being filed all the time. There is all these drug abuse cases where stars or directors or whatever are checking in and out of clinics like I go and buy milk. Suicides, murders and plenty of other shit that is sadly just the norm for Hollywood.

      The executives and public know this and as long as they make money they do not give a shit. look how long they let Sheen carry on when they were trying to protect their cashflow.

      Dan Harmon is a kitten in comparison.