Community Recap (Season 3 Episode 8): “That’s Clearly a Frog That Can’t Get Out of a Box”
It’s one of those times when I really feel like I’m failing you, reader, as a reviewer. I feel this way because I’m supposed to be here, like a warm, comforting encyclopedia to catch all the references and chortle over them so you can too. But alas, I haven’t even seen (haven’t heard of) the primary influence on this episode, which I believe is Hearts of Darkness, a documentary about the filming of Apocalypse Now. Which I also have never seen.
I can already see the mob forming, pitchforks in hands, torches lit. They’re approaching and there’s nothing I can do to stop them.
Somehow more embarrassing is the fact that the opening, which is the Greendale Community College commercial, is a reference to something I know I know. It’s lurking in the back of my head but I just cannot place it!
My shame knows no limits. Can you ever find it in your heart to forgive me, the internet?
I know you can. I know your heart is deep and wide and of fathomless depth. And I thank you for your consideration.
So, if you didn’t guess from the confounding garble above, the episode in question once again delved into the documentary style, this time however to document the filming of the new commercial for the community college. Abed wisely points his camera towards the goodly Dean Pelton, who is directing the project and who begins to slip away from sanity when Luis Guzman signs on to be in the commercial, thanks to a failed get-out-of-doing-stuff-free gambit by Jeff.
This episode was greater than the sum of its parts. No, wait, its parts summed greater than its whole? I guess what I’m saying is that this is a forest that ought to be mistaken for its trees. By which I mean to say I’m lost in the woods. I am lost in the woods because in some ways this episode was unsatisfying, and in other ways immensely enjoyable.
The pros are several, and the cons are murky. Really, my two favorite parts are the overarching plot of the Dean’s descent into madness, but even more so the brief bits depicting Jeff’s descent into madness. In the commercial Jeff is cast to play the Dean, but attempts to derail the project by being as goofily and flamboyantly Dean-like as possible. His attempts are fruitless, and as time passes his identity is compromised, and he becomes the skinny bald weirdo like a robo-tripping method actor. There’s something about seeing Jeff’s badass jerk-off attitude compromised that’s very satisfying.
Overall though, the episode felt overstuffed and undercooked, like a Turducken in the microwave. Certainly enjoyable, however. It’s a case of reach exceeding grasp, but the ambition itself is appreciable.
I give this episode five screeching opossums out of eight possible. Good show everyone.
It looks as though Community is being shelved, likely to be cancelled. Go out and sign some petitions people. This show is too good to kill. http://www.save-community.com/
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