Review: ‘Community’ – ‘Basic Email Security’: Sony hack attack

A quick review of this week's “Community” (available, as usual, on Yahoo Screen) coming up just as soon as I'm stoked for “Avengers”…

“Basic Email Security” was, as Abed acknowledged in one of the closing scenes, the third in what's for now been a trilogy of “Community” stories where the group turns on each other as various secrets come out. (See also season 2's “Cooperative Calligraphy” and last season's “Cooperative Polygraphy.”) There was definitely a sense of diminishing returns with this one, even with a parody of the Sony hacking scandal(*) grafted on top of it.

(*) Sony, of course, produces “Community.”

But there were a few twists and tweaks to the familiar structure that made this a fun one. First, we got to see what it would be like if Britta was the group's leader, delivering the rambling speeches and firing everyone up, and the episode presented her as a mix of inspiring and, well, Britta. Second, even if it feels like there's nothing new the original characters can learn about each other – even the revelation of them testing Annie's blood for amphetamines didn't sound that different from Abed putting GPS trackers on all of them – we do have two newcomers to the cast, and the email hack provided an opportunity for the group, and us, to get to know them better, and for both Paget Brewster and Keith David to demonstrate more of what they can add to the show. Frankie's indignation about her sexuality being the subject of a betting pool was very funny, as was Elroy's rambling and uncomfortable story about his accidentally adopted family.

And the climax, with the group realizing exactly what they had sacrificed their privacy for – in the form of hacky/racist comedian Gupta Goopi Gupta (played by frequent “Community” director Jay Chandrasekhar) – was a well-structured piece of comedy, and not just because they managed to lure Charley Koontz away from “CSI: Cyber” to play Fat Neil again in a different kind of cyber-crime episode.

Not the best of this season, and probably a device the show needs to retire if there's somehow a season 7, but it worked better than some other gimmicks the show has overused.

What did everybody else think? And do any of you want a web series about Officer Cackowski and his young new partner?