My wife bought me the both available seasons of my favorite TV show…of all time…Community.
My Mission: Watch and Review Everything Community
First up: the Pilot (Extended Cut)
Pilot (Extended Cut)
I actually have had this episode as a digital download for some time. It was probably free on iTunes and to be honest, I tried watching it before but didn’t get much past the first segment. I was afraid it would differ too much from the show in it’s current form to be enjoyable.
Verdict: it is different from the current show. It is clear that the cast getting their sea legs under them and learning to inhabit their characters.
- Troy Barnes (Donald Glover) seems to be almost cartoonish in his stupid jock persona.
- Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs) comes off as a little edgier than she would eventually evolve.
- Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown) shows signs of the troubled soul we would meet later on.
- Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase) is the oldster trying to fit in with his classmates.
- Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) if it is even possible, seems even more socially inept.
- Annie Edison (Allison Brie) comes off as far more troubled and near-psychotic.
- Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) comes off as a master manipulator, a role he routinely plays in the study group to this day.
The plot of the episode is that Jeff is a disgraced attorney who needs to get an accredited undergraduate degree. The school he chooses is Greendale Community College, a place described by Dean Pelton (Jim Rash giving a tease of the role he would eventually make shine) as “Loser college for remedial teens, Twenty-something dropouts, middle-aged divorcees, and old people keeping their minds active as they circle the drain of eternity.”
As an aside, being the proud holder of and Associate of Arts from a prestigious Upstate New York community college I can vouch for these characterizations as 100% accurate. This may be one reason I generally cannot stand Chevy Chase.
Jeff is taken with Britta a lovely blonde in his class who, using the information divined by Abed, hatches a plan to get close by starting a fictitious study group. But as all sitcom plans must, things go awry, and before he knows it the motley gang of characters are sitting around the table in a library study lounge.
Simultaneously, Jeff is trying to wrangle all his test answers from Psychology professor Ian Duncan, a former client of Jeff who was acquitted of making a u-turn on a freeway and ordering chalupas from an emergency call box. Duncan is intent on showing Jeff the folly of his plan though he eventually acquiesces.
When presented with the unexpected and unwanted group, Jeff attempts isolate Britta from the rest by sabotaging the group, setting them against each other. When this plan backfires he just as easily patches the group up with his sophistry. However Britta sees through his scheme and calls him on the deception. He confesses to the deception and despite having cheating materials he is shunned by the group.
But Duncan hadn’t provided the test answers. Instead Jeff got an envelope filled with blank pages and the gift of a life lesson and “a second chance at an honest life.”
As he leaves campus defeated and dejected he is met outside the library by Pierce then Troy who ask philosophical questions that Jeff deftly answers with sage advice. The rest of the group slowly congregates and it is acknowledged that once he left, the group lost it’s steam. After pouring his soul to the group, Britta reluctantly invites Jeff back noting it was his study group to begin with.
Cream of the Creative Commentary Crop:
- Your Commentators: Dan Harmon, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo and Joel McHale.
- Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) was cast halfway through the pilot.
- Joel McHale wearing sweatpants with a blazer apparently was a hotly debated topic.
- They can’t speak highly enough of John Oliver.
- Britta misidentifies Jeff’s phone as an iPhone.
- Duncan text abbreviated Conversation as Con-4-s-8-tion for a net gain of one character.
- The pilot library scenes were filmed at a defunct bank’s training center.
- LA band The 88 provide the music for this episode, the eventual theme song and much of the series
- The episode was dedicated to the memory of John Hughes.
This episode held up rather well to multiple viewings. I’m glad to see that the characters I love so much have evolved, even Pierce Hawthorn. I had hoped for some background gags to post screen caps of, but I didn’t catch any this episode.
My blog post palate cleanser episode? Season 2 Episode 14 Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.