A quick review of this week's “Community” – which you can watch on Yahoo Screen – coming up just as soon as I'm here for the Such…
A lot of this season has involved Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna and company – here represented by writers assistant Briggs Hatton, who not only wrote the episode but was the subject of the incest-obsessed tag – slapping new coats of paint on very familiar “Community” episode types. Sometimes, that hasn't worked, as you might expect from any comedy – and particularly one as idiosyncratic and experimental as this one – in its sixth season. But last week's paintball episode and this week's mockumentary one have easily been the season's best, suggesting that even in old age, “Community” can be “Community.”
“Wedding Videography” wasn't just a return to the fake documentary format, but one of those periodic episodes that looks at whether the group is ultimately a force for good or evil, both within its ever-evolving membership and in the larger world of Greendale(*). Here, we see them get very high on themselves as they prep for Garrett and Stacy's wedding, only to ride a rollercoaster where they are constantly on the verge of either ruining or saving the entire event. And because Frankie is a newcomer to the group and someone who has deliberately held herself at a distance from the others, she got to offer a hilariously dry running commentary on their awfulness in their good moments (I particularly liked her poking her head in frame on Jeff's talking head to discuss co-dependence, as well as her desire to keep Annie and Jeff apart for Annie's sake), even as she was working with them to redeem the bad ones.
(*) One of those previous episodes involved the study group being mean to Todd, who here not only officiates at Garrett's wedding but develops a God complex along the way.
The show has done more interesting commentary on the mockumentary device itself in the past, even as Abed kept telling Annie not to “Jim the camera” (a la Jim Halpert). But it did give us a good outsider perspective – yes, Abed is a member of the group, but he's always been able to see the others more clearly than they see each other (even if he has to smell hair to tell Annie and Frankie apart) – on how smug and off-putting Jeff and the gang can be, and it allowed for the set up of some of the episode's funnier running gags, like Elroy's addiction to encouraging white people, or even the opportunity for half the cast to show off their Garrett impressions.
This season has really flown by, huh? Hard to believe we are once again a week away from what could very well be the last episode of “Community” ever. Ken Jeong has his ABC show, Gillian Jacobs has the Judd Apatow show she's doing for Netflix, and we haven't heard a peep out of Yahoo about whether they're pleased enough with the show's performance to try to keep it going beyond the limits of Six Seasons And A Movie. I've liked this season – which has been more consistent than season 5, even if it hasn't had as many highs as there were in those first few episodes before Troy left – enough that I'd gladly watch more, but I don't know how enthusiastic anyone on the show and in fandom is at this point. (Feel free to vote in the poll below.) Certainly, there hasn't been the level of chatter about this season that there was even for the final year on NBC.
Episodes like “Wedding Videography” and “Modern Espionage” suggest “Community” has the ability to keep going if all involved want it to. And if not, they'll be part of a nice victory lap.
What did everybody else think?