‘Community’ Collides With The Rest of Comedic TV

Donald Glover and Danny Pudi in last week's episode of NBC's "Community."

When I started my mass viewing of Community, I noted that it differs from a lot of the other wildly successful television comedies because they are all in the current mockumentary fad. Tonight, Community puts itself in that same mockumentary format, continuing its trend of flashy meta-humor.

I really have no love for the mockumentary format. It doesn’t bother me, but I don’t think it really adds much to television in general. It was interesting the first time around, but now it’s kind of old. Watch a mockumentary TV show some time and ask yourself if the funniest parts of the show are during the little aside interviews or in the actual dialogue. It’s usually in the actual dialogue.

Community, in it’s typical fashion, does a nice job of poking fun of the manipulative tricks of mockumentaries that drive me nuts. “Don’t you dare intercut this with footage of me freaking out!” Jeff yells at Abed, and sure enough, we see Jeff tearing up magazines and making weird noises to himself in the waiting room. Abed also ends the episode with “a generic voiceover that tries to tie everything together in a theme.” Well done, Community.

The plot of tonight’s episode is that Pierce’s pill-popping has finally landed him in the hospital. The group feels guilty because they’ve largely been ignoring this problem for the last few episodes. Don’t feel bad, gang–I’ve been ignoring it, too. Throughout the episode, he “bequeaths” them all gifts designed to play with their minds and make them miserable.

I’ve come to ignore a lot of the Pierce-related segments of episodes, mainly because he bothers me if he’s not making a racist/sexist comment. The last few episodes have been very Pierce-centric, and I heard that this episode was supposed to be redemptive for the old man considering his straight evilness in the Dungeons and Dragons episode. If that was the writers’ goal, it was kind of a flop. As Jeff pointed out, none of the tricks Pierce played on them proved he was anything other than irrelevant and mean-spirited.

I don’t know, guys. There were some funny bits, but this episode just felt like a miss to me. They did a good job of using that classic Community meta-humor, but there was something missing. Maybe it’s that Troy and Abed didn’t get any screen time together.

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One thought on “‘Community’ Collides With The Rest of Comedic TV

  1. I agree with your take on Pierce. When Pierce is on the outside throwing in outdated snark, he can be better taken than when he is highly involved with the rest of the plot. He is not compelling and has never been when compared with the rest of the characters. His role needs to devolve back to where it started or the show as a whole might be in trouble.

    The execution of the mockumentary in true Community fashion was impeccable. I think that if you remove the superficial closing moments and end with something pulling the rest of the cast together (such as Jeff’s dad actually showing up and him showing that he needs the group because of his father letting him down/leaving or something to that effect), it goes down as one of the show’s stronger outings. But, as is, it was something of a miss for me as well. The emotions were considerably more hollow than normal for Community.

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