As tough as it was to grade last week’s “Basic Story” without part two of the two-part finale, it’s damn near impossible to fully evaluate “Basic Sandwich” until we know if Community has been picked up for a sixth season or not. It’s an episode about series finales and what happens when characters you fall in love with disappear forever, give or take a spinoff. As a critique on television, it mostly worked, but as an actual entertaining episode OF television? Yes and no.
Yes: Jeff and Britta didn’t get married. So…that’s a good thing?
No: maybe I was watching the episode the “wrong” way but I kept waiting for a subversion, a moment when Community pulled the rug from underneath the hyper-insanity involving humans humping robots and secret dungeons and millions of dollars in gym bags. But it never came. How much of what happened are we supposed to take at face value, or was “Basic Sandwich” wrapped in so many layers of meta — hey, be glad I went this long without using the word — that the REAL joke is that I didn’t get the joke? Or something. I enjoyed the episode as I was watching it, but afterward, once I stopped and thought about everything that happened (was having a Dave Matthews Band dance-off ironic or…?), things began to fall apart ever so slightly. When Community goes for concept over laughs, the episode has to be airtight, and “Basic Sandwich” is marked with tiny, though not insignificant holes.
Or maybe I’m just cranky that civilization could be wiped out any day now by an asteroid, and Intensive Karen STILL doesn’t actually exist. Probably that one. Season grade: B+.