Now THAT’S more like it. Things got contentious in the comments last week, with all those loud, shared opinions about “German Invasion,” but don’t worry, I have nothing but nice things to say about “Cooperative Escapism In Familial Relations.” James Brolin fit in nicely as Jeff’s much-mentioned, still-virile father, and the way the episode balanced his fake heart attack and demented would-be father figure Piece’s non-seizure was well done. I’ve never cared about meeting Papa Winger as much as some, especially when it was announced he wouldn’t be played by Bill Murray, so while it wouldn’t surprise me if some viewers felt disappointed in how their shared scenes didn’t feel revelatory enough, and how Adam DeVine was a distraction, said viewers would be wrong(ish).
OK, yes, Adam, excuse me, Willy, Jr. could have been a stronger character (literally, too, what with him being the DeVito to Jeff’s Schwarzenegger), but goddamn if the specificity of Jeff’s speech, in which he revealed he cut himself with scissors as a kid to fake having his appendix taken out, didn’t get to me. We know a lot more about Jeff Winger after “Escapism” than we did before it. Plus, the texts to nowhere.
In the other story, Abed, Troy, Pierce, and Annie are at Shirley’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, which naturally turned into a “hiding out in the garage,” Shawshank Redemption and Prison Break parody before we had time to process Shirley’s supposedly overbearing family. That’s a minor quibble, however, because some of the episode’s biggest laughs came from the car-hold scenes, like Troy’s inability to lie about eating garbage dip and Troy sadly admitting that, yeah, Batman is kinda gay. Basically, Troy was on roll this episode, as was Britta, and yes, you see what I did there. Break up Troy/Britta, please; put Jeff/Britta together, pretty please.