‘Community’ – ‘Modern Warfare’: Say hello to my little El Tigre!

Senior Television Writer
05.06.10 75 Comments

I wrote a lot about tonight’s “Community” and the show’s love of pop culture and meta references in yesterday’s post. But I have a few specific spoiler points on “Modern Warfare,” coming up just as soon as I wear a diaper for the game…

I’ll leave it to someone else to catalog the many, many, many specific references to action and horror movies contained within “Modern Warfare,” though my favorite was probably Senor Chang simultaneously channeling both Chow-Yun Fat in “Hard Boiled” and Pacino in “Scarface.”

But the big development in this episode, beyond a lot of hilarity and spot-on parody directed by Justin Lin of “Fast & Furious” fame, was Jeff and Britta finally not only hooking up, but having sex in the library. And after all the debate and complaining we’ve had about this inevitable event – debate and complaining that the “Community” writers are clearly aware of, as reflected in all the jokes about how the rest of the study group is sick of them – I imagine people are going to want to talk about that as much as about Greendale turning into the set of “28 Days Later.”

Me? I think I’m okay with it. Not only was the set-up perfect – given the apocalyptic feel of the paintball tournament, Britta was essentially having sex with what she thought of as the last man on earth – but the way the show has handled these two characters, both separately and together, since the early part of the season, has me feeling confident that Dan Harmon and company know what they’re doing. Recent episodes like last week’s “The Art of Discourse” have done a really strong job with them as a comic duo.

I’m sure you could argue they’ve only been more effective because the show stopped pushing the romantic tension angle – and I will certainly not disagree with anyone who says Joel McHale has much better romantic chemistry with both Alison Brie and Lauren Stamile as Professor Slater – but “Community” does not strike me as a show that has a plan and stubbornly sticks to it in the face of all evidence that it’s a bad idea. This is a show that, like its characters, is open to adapting. After Troy and Abed’s “La Biblioteca” rap proved so winning, the writers kept putting those two characters together, even though the first few episodes had suggested that Pierce was meant to be Troy’s comic foil. When Britta began to come across as a smug hipster killjoy, the writers steered into the skid and made that into the character’s defining comic trait. And when it was obvious that the Jeff/Britta tension wasn’t getting over with viewers, the show backed away from it.

So if they’ve decided to Go There now, I believe they have a good reason for doing so. That, or it was just a one-off gag to tie into the zombie paintball world, and Jeff and Britta will actually be able to keep their “It didn’t happen” promise.

Either way, screamingly funny episode, not as emotionally rich as some others they’ve done this season, but definitely a favorite.

What did everybody else think?

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