Community: Basic Crisis Room Decorum
March 24, 2015 5:53 AM - Season 6, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Annie calls an emergency Greendale meeting at 2 a.m. after she finds out that City College is airing an attack ad claiming Greendale gave a degree to a dog. DID THAT HAPPEN!?!?

At 2 a.m., someone sends Annie an e-mail saying that City College is going to run an attack commercial about Greendale at 7 a.m. She wakes everybody up to come to the "situation room" (which could just as well be the "cookie room" except there aren't any cookies) RIGHT NOW. Dean attempts to summon the others, which is to say he texts Annie (who already knows) and Jeff's phone, which is apparently run by two Japanese schoolboys .Dean wonders why "Jeff's" texts are so affection compared to how he is in real life.

I am still sad they didn't put the new people into the cootie catcher in the credits. It seems so empty now. In other news, this episode was directed by Bobcat Goldthwaite. Uh, however you spell that. I am awake at 4 a.m. for no reason (which seems fitting for watching this episode) and bugger figuring out how to spell it.

Jeff had to take off his $200 night cream to come over here, you guys! How did Chang find out there's a meeting? Also, Britta is drunk and pantsless and Chang is oddly fixated on some reference to a woman named Brenda feeling better in the e-mail.

Through the brotherhood of the AV club, which is above your petty school rivalries, Abed gets the video from City College. "The brotherhood of AV Club exists beyond your petty factionalism. We serve video, the One True Queen, and her faithful consort, audio." "Could you guys be bigger nerds?" Chang whines, and Abed replies, "No, most of us have achieved our maximum potential."The ad rightfully points out that a dog named Ruffles has earned a four year (not two year, FOUR YEAR) degree from Greendale. "If the answer is Greendale, prepare to get boned." Note that the dog started attending school in 2001 and got that 4 year degree in 2008... which in all honesty, seems pretty typical for even a human community college student.*

* I am actually not kidding in the slightest when I say that, unfortunately.

Is it true, Frankie asks? Duh. Meanwhile, Elroy is up getting Britta pants and is all, "So this is Greendale, not City College?...I'm going to get more pants."

Now that the Situation Room has been decorated with maps, Frankie asks the Dean about this. He claims no. Well, "not THAT dog." "How are these hard questions?" Jeff asks if there's a way to prove this degree thing. "This dump cuts my paychecks and I've got three hours to defend it." Can they prove libel and get the ad removed? Well, what is the dog's breed, anyway? Elroy finds that the dog is a different breed than in the ad. Jeff says to investigate the dog. Sure, she's spayed now, but how many puppies DOES she have all over? Also, does she eat cat turds? Annie wants the truth and Jeff basically doesn't care about the truth unless it's helpful to their cause. Chang suggest filming porn at City College to embarrass them right back and runs off. Dean goes off to text "Jeff" some more. "Jeff" requires five cans of olives.

In Elroy's trailer, Elroy and Britta agree that they don't care if a dog got a degree. Well, except for the part where it means they're all a joke. They stat discussing a song called "Pillar of Garbage" that both of them were into. Cue the random music video in Britta's head!

Annie and Frankie go off to actually check records. Someone filed a taco. Annie asks Frankie if she thinks it's true and Frankie replies, "I'm not psychic, Annie, it's just an illusion brought on by extreme preparedness." She also says that "Hope is pouting in advance." Frankie finds Ruffles' transcript in a file folder. So many classes! Annie cries. But Frankie points out the dog has no degree. Victory! "You know, within the context of Greendale."

Abed's attack video slanders Ruffles for eating squirrels and stealing cookies and impersonating a lobster, and being a general slut. She's not a good dog! Paid for by Humanity Vs. Ruffles.

Dean brings Jeff five cans of olives on a silver platter. Jeff doesn't get it and asks if there is some kind of weird code.

Frankie points out that Ruffles owes $15 in library fees and thus her diploma is being held. NO DEGREE! THE COMMERCIAL IS A LIE! And then Annie has a breakdown about killing a degree on a technicality. She thinks it's evil. Frankie says, "Evil? I'll cop to silly." "Some things are silly and evil. Like candy cigarettes," Elroy points out. Annie is obsessed with Greendale being "better" than City College uh.... somehow (though Jeff is all duh, of course CC is better) and now she wants the ad to run because it's true. She'd rather Greendale die now and she'd transfer to City College. What?

Elroy is the new Old Man in the group, going on about 50 cent candy bars while Annie storms out. She goes to pack up her locker and enroll online at City at home. Abed brings her the new ad to watch first. Dean is talking about how close Ruffles came to getting a degree and said they're working on getting their shit together now. Annie hugs Abed. Back in the Situation Room, Chang reveals his porn video where he's the only actor. This impresses Abed. On the other hand, it was filmed in front of a blank wall while Chang was wearing a Greendale shirt. .

Meanwhile, back in Japan, that kid's dad is yelling at him for the enormous amount of data charges. Also, "Tokyo is a machine caked with blood, running on flesh." The kid texts dean some more. He's sad and confesses that he is not Jeffrey, he is Takashi, a teenage boy in Tokyo. Aren't we all teenage boys in Tokyo sometimes? Dean muses. No, seriously, Dean doesn't get it and Takashi is sad. On the other hand, he does grow up to lead the yakuza, so there's that.

My thoughts at 5:48 a.m.: Chang still doesn't have much to do and Britta apparently doesn't either. Elroy is the new, way less offensive Pierce. Frankie is a more grown-up, cynical Annie and while normally I'd object to having two of a thing, I actually like having someone sane around. And as someone who has spent too much time dealing with college drama, why Ruffles has no degree amuses me greatly. Meanwhile, seriously, why am I up this early when there's no situation? I think I need to go look for cookies.
posted by jenfullmoon (18 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Man- this show just isn't grabbing me like it used to. Elroy and Frankie are good additions but plots just seem tired rehashes and the relationships seem stagnant .

On the other hand, the replacements for Troy & Abed in the Morning are brilliant. Both the knee-high mischiefs of last week and the inter-generational Japanese drama of this have been some of the best things I've seen Community do. Maybe it should become a sketch show.
posted by rtimmel at 1:07 PM on March 24, 2015

Huh -- I thought this was an excellent episode, a good, grounded return to form. Yes, Annie's idealism vs. everyone else's pragmatism is becoming an old standard for the show, but part of the fun this time was the show's willingness to comment on it as a mark of Annie's lingering immaturity and the degree to which everyone else will indulge her. When Elroy asks, "Were you guys close?", he somewhat undercuts the emotional weight; and everyone else finds a way to be pragmatic in a way that lets Annie believe they're living up to her ideals.

I am curious about the way Britta is being written less as an idiot and more as someone coping very badly with her life collapsing completely. My fear is that it'll just be a new running gag, but my hope is that we get a Gillian Jacobs showcase later on where the other characters try to intervene in some way. More and more, Community seems like a show about failed adulthood and managing disappointment. The jokes are frothy and referential, but the implication that indulging in referentiality is about escaping hard truths -- especially in episodes like "G.I. Jeff," or Britta's nostalgic drunken fantasy sequence here -- seems to be a little more visible, a little sharper since Harmon's return to the show.
posted by kewb at 3:14 PM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

I actually like what was said about it at AV Club:
"Community is able to evolve each season and bounce back from significant cast reshuffling for the same reason the show is susceptible to inertia. It’s not a show about characters, it’s a show about characters as they relate specifically to Greendale Community College.
The emphasis on place over people has intensified as Community has been forced to pivot from the characters’ individual educational and career paths to their shared investment in the ongoing health and reputation of Greendale. The show still focuses on a diverse group of people, thrown together by chance, who probably would have no other occasion to meet. But whereas once the Study Group was a support system for each other as they plotted their own distinct journeys, the Save Greendale Committee’s members are basically co-parents raising a child in the form of a mediocre community college. More than ever before, season six is Community as Three Men And A Baby."
Oh, and apparently Britta crapped her pants. I was bleary eyed and happily did not notice this when I was watching the episode at 4-ish a.m. My apologies. On the other hand, never want to see anyone doing that, so fine by me for missing it. Ahem.

Speaking as someone who has experience with this kind of thing, the $15 library fee preventing Ruffles from getting her diploma about made me keel over laughing. My alma mater has the same thing going on, but recently they decided that if someone owed $15 or less, they could still get their diploma because it cost them about $15 to hold on to it until someone paid up and then mail it out later and it was financially ridiculous to hold onto someone's diploma because they owed seven cents. Not a joke.

We could hold a contest this week: whose plotline is worse, Chang's or Britta's?
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:53 PM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]

Neither... relative to Greendale.
posted by porpoise at 6:46 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed this episode. I think this season is still sorta figuring itself out but I'm definitely along for the ride.

jenfullmoon I didn't fully catch that about Britta either but it makes perfect sense.

I do really miss the Troy/Abed BFF chemistry, and "Troy and Abed in the Morning."
posted by radioamy at 7:53 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I hope that Takashi will turn out to be like Anyung, as a tiny joke that sprawls into plot.

Is no-one else getting Frankie/Annie vibes? Get a (board)room already!
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:58 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Tokyo subplot was funny but I miss the dean's costumes and his understated crush, the overt gestures are off-putting. Annie's plot was annoying and came across like an extraordinarily bad After School Special.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 11:58 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

This episode had a little too much creepy for me with the Dean's weird crush getting darkly explicit. I thought the photo of Jeff on the Dean's bedside table was a missed opportunity -- it should have been a more obviously voyeuristic photo, taken without Jeff knowing, or even an obviously-taken-from-his-college-file photo. But the Dean is getting sadly desperate, and I don't like it any more. I think his desperation has followed an arc, though, having watched the Hunger Deans episode a few days ago which ends with him living in the apartment next door to Jeff's.

I really hate where they're taking Britta right now. I cringe-watched all of her scenes. She's got nothing left of her old opinionated, feisty, always-right Britta.
posted by tracicle at 4:09 AM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

This bit from Frankie is gold:

Oh God no, I never hope. Hope is pouting in advance. Hope is faith's richer, bitchier sister. Hope is the deformed addict-bound incest monster offspring of entitlement and fear. My life results tripled the year I gave up hope and every game on my phone that had anything to do with farming. What's true will be true, Annie. Our job is to deal with that truth.

"Life results" is definitely going into my personal lexicon.
posted by crLLC at 6:12 AM on March 25, 2015 [10 favorites]

There were a lot more laugh-out-loud moments here than I expected; something about Takashi's final late-night "Can't wait to see you [cat face]" tweet sent me over the edge.
posted by psoas at 9:28 AM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Jim Rash was the episode MVP for me this week, hilarious and sympathetic at the same time. His pathetic need for affirmation that his affection is reciprocated, and his unwillingness to accept the mountains of evidence that it isn't... I'm laughing, but oh man the feels!
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:17 AM on March 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

"5 CANS OF OLIVES?!?!!?"

Jesus, I had to pause and laugh for about 2 minutes. I think this is one of the best episodes I've ever seen. And yeah, the "Hope is pouting in advance" speech was fantastic.
posted by lattiboy at 1:05 PM on March 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

The episode felt very small scale to me; I think this was due to the tight time frame in which the cast had to develop their response to the ad. I liked it as a change of pace. & yes, Takashi's bits were excellent.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:55 PM on March 26, 2015

I was completely unable to watch this on Yahoo Screen via the Apple TV. Every time I tried to play it, I got an error. So I had to download it instead through illegitimate means. Ridiculous.
posted by smackfu at 6:36 AM on March 27, 2015

I couldn't get this to work on my laptop (the previous episodes worked great!) so I switched over to XBOX, which handled it nicely. But no subtitles! I didn't realize how much I depended on the subtitles.

Dean saying MEOW made me laugh.

I also miss having Britta connected to reality. I liked Cool Britta and Ranting Britta and Stoned Britta and Frustrated Britta but I'm having a hard time sticking it out with Feral Britta. I'm actually genuinely worried about her.
posted by mochapickle at 3:29 PM on March 27, 2015

I thought this was a pretty decent episode. Totally cracked up at Elroy's look after being told Frankie didn't have a TV. Good beat
posted by Start with Dessert at 8:47 PM on March 27, 2015

Yeah, that look of Elroy's is destined to become a GIF of some sort.
posted by crLLC at 5:48 AM on March 28, 2015

The lighting designer geek in me is super happy that they switched the scheme for the study room to a natural daylight balance, but it definitely gives the scenes there a somewhat different energy (obviously this was less of a thing in this episode, but I've been noticing it all season.)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:30 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

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