Community: Advanced Safety Features
April 21, 2015 8:31 AM - Season 6, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Britta's old boyfriend, formerly selling sandwiches, returns to guerrilla market Hondas. She joins in the business. In other news, there's an alumni dance, everyone guesses each other's ears, and Jeff angsts that Elroy doesn't like him.

The group meets to plan the alumni dance (why does this exist? Honestly, half our cast are the only "alumni" around here, and who goes back to college dances outside of college?), and Chang's plot for the episode involves doing Power Point and failing at magic tricks. Now I am done talking about Chang for the episode. Frankie warns everyone that she's heard guerrilla marketing is going on around here and some people may be more susceptible to it than others.

Britta's old boyfriend, who used to pimp a certain sandwich company that is no longer paying for Community ("Don't ever say that name without compensation."), is back! He's his own man now and actually got a real name now! (Probably not the name his parents gave him, I'm guessing.) "I have a beard now. And an identity." And he guerrilla markets Hondas now! The Dean is Level 7 susceptible. After he runs into the meeting to plug the Honda Fit, Frankie says, "I'm going to give the school's assets a quick freezy-weezy." (Which apparently didn't work because the Dean continues to buy two cars, a mower, motorcycle, and God knows what else throughout the episode. What a case of FOMO.) Britta has her reservations about this, but still hops in his CRV for a quick screw anyway. She wants a public relationship, so.... he hides her in the cargo space. So that's going well.

Frankie also wonders what was so great about Troy. Did he own a rainbow? (Probably, says I.) Was he the group's pharmacist? (Bwahahahah, no, that was probably Pierce.) "I'm a problem solver. Give me information." Jeff announces that "Troy was very gifted at steel drums." After everyone stares blankly, he says, "That won't pay off immediately, but it's going to pay off."

Annie and Troy are concerned that Elroy doesn't like him, so they ask him (and Chang) to play a game called "The Ears Have It," in which you put on a set of fake ears and then have to figure out what kind you are wearing (rabbit, elephant, Spock) from the other players. Jeff scorns this sort of thing--"Are you going to play Pretty Please, Will You Like Us More?"--and says the way to get someone to like you is to sit back and wait for them to realize how cool you are. Elroy enjoys the game, but leaves when Jeff arrives. Maybe Elroy just doesn't like Jeff? Oh noes!

Britta upsells some Scotch to a guy at the bar, who turns out to be Rick's boss. He recruits her to Honda--apparently she and Rick can be a couple in public if they sell Hondas together. His boss also thinks it's clever to pretend to disappear, which Britta keeps noticing. "Where'd he go?" "That's not for us to understand." "He's right there." Britta and Rick start team selling by sitting next to Todd and plugging how the Honda is a sex life changer and Rick just won't shut up about it. Todd doesn't buy, but Britta is smitten "Honda is amazing. I want you to meet my parents."

Over at another table, Elroy snarks to Abed, Annie, and Chang that Britta and Rick will be together forever, and everyone laughs. Then Jeff comes over with his lunch and Elroy leaves again. ("Man, I'm like a fart to that guy. He can't get away fast enough.") Before he goes, Annie gives Elroy some more Natalie is Freezing music she got online. Jeff is bothered by this, and is told that if you want Elroy to like you, you have to be vulnerable--which isn't exactly in your wheelhouse, Jeff.

After Frankie walks into the Dean's be-Honda'd office, she flounders trying NOT to ask him the rhetorical questions she wants to ask, all of them ending in the word "idiot." You're so stupid, you have no idea. "You're just a dumb little man who tries to destroy this school every minute." The Dean cries and Frankie rocks him like a dumb baby.

The Perrys meet Rick. It can best be summarized with this quote from Britta's mom: "I've never heard that level of floormat enthusiasm." They offer to put on a movie--Avatar. Britta compares it to bodily functions, but Rick loves it! Hey, wait, what? In public he has to love everything that everyone else loves and is popular, apparently. My parents are the public? Yes, apparently. Who is the real Rick? I don't think Rick even knows. But he feels God's pleasure (Chariots of Fire! Britta loves that movie!) when he does this job.

At the alumni dance, Jeff booked Natalie is Freezing. Elroy is NOT happy because as is turned out, he dated Julie the lead singer (no, her name's not Natalie, they're artists) and she broke his heart. Elroy refuses to like Jeff and calls him a hair gelled CPR dummy.

Elroy goes off to Britta's bar and then grumbles that you people are everywhere and he was looking for a place to hide. After discussing Julie, Britta tries to talk about castles and drawbridges, except neither she nor Elroy can think of the word "drawbridge." She's interrupted by Rick, who says he'll quit Honda and do...whatever normal people do, buy stuff? Britta climbs over the bar to go to him, leaving Elroy to remember what a drawbridge is alone. Who's going to run the bar now?

They head off to the alumni dance, where Rick falls to temptation to sell the Dean more Honda crap because he's a Level 7. One last job and they'll be free! Britta muses that she must also be a Level 7 to put up with this. Unfortunately for Rick, he's caught guerrilla marketing and is hauled off by the cops. Rick's boss tells Britta that Rick will be fine, but he can never be seen here again. Then he tries to hide behind a pillar. Britta deadpans "Oh my. Where did he go."

Elroy confronts Julie, tells her she messed him up and that she's a jaded hipster a-hole. Then he decides he likes Jeff and hugs him. And says he loves everyone in his vicinity, basically. How drunk are you, Elroy? They listen to a song, which Elroy thinks is either about him, or heroin. Frankie plays the drums outta nowhere. See, it paid off! Jeff has a smug look about that.

At the end of the episode, the Perrys play the ears game, and her parents are super good at it. They ask what happened to Rick, and Britta runs out crying. Rick himself cries on his Honda as he drives away.

"Chang and PowerPoint: A Journey to Disappoint."
"That could have been a dollar bill. But I'm not a magician. Just someone who knows PowerPoint."
"Why do gorillas need marketing? They're amazing."
"We're workshopping new handshakes."
"I was thinking dolphin, but they don't have ears."
"I don't think you understand how surgery works."
"I once hallucinated one of their music videos in his RV."
posted by jenfullmoon (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
"A mechanical alligator?"
posted by drezdn at 8:55 AM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

The setup at the end like a bank robbery and what not, nice touch to an iffy plot point. I was happy to see Britta get some focus and I do think they balanced the blatant Honda advertising fairly well.

I gasped when I saw Dean had covered up his Dalmatian poster with a Honda poster. He got bad. Real bad.

Jeff. Age 6.

This season has been much up front about pointing out its weaknesses, I've noticed, as well. The entire Troy and Pierce commentary at the beginning, etc.
posted by Atreides at 11:59 AM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

frankie's monologue to the dean is my everything
posted by logicpunk at 3:03 PM on April 21, 2015 [5 favorites]

Glad we got more of Britta's parents. The scene with them at the end was great.

I also agree that frankie's uncontrolled insulting of the Dean was priceless.

Sorta wish the steel drums gag hadn't paid off in this would have been hilarious a few down the line.
posted by radioamy at 8:17 PM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also I can't believe they got Lisa Loeb to play the singer from a fake '90s band. Amazing.
posted by radioamy at 8:18 PM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Chang and the PowerPoint and the egg. Good stuff. I don't like what the dean has turned into.

Note to self: never buy a Honda. Lacks individuality, honesty, ethics.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 8:36 PM on April 21, 2015

Also I can't believe they got Lisa Loeb to play the singer from a fake '90s band. Amazing.

She's been making fun of herself for a long time. One of the songs from her last album is called simply "The '90s" and includes this lyric:
So alternative just like everybody else in the mainstream.
For that matter, if you like Lisa Loeb, go get that album. It's good all the way through.
posted by Etrigan at 4:10 AM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Gillian Jacobs seems looser and more confident this season than in the past. I like how it highlights the contrast between her seeming like an adult, but still having areas of arrested development.

On the downside, when she's in a scene or episode where she isn't the focus, her choices seem less specific without the old Britta uptightness. Sometimes she's just there.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 8:09 AM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

It was also a running joke on Gossip Girl that Rufus (the dad who has been the lead singer of a one-hit wonder alternative band in the 90s named Lincoln Hawk) had a thing for Lisa Loeb. In the first season, she was the host of a “Top 10 Forgotten Bands of the ’90s" ,a concert that featured him. And in a "flash forward" coda in the finale, they were a couple.

The point of this digression: Lisa Loeb is awesome.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:56 PM on April 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. That first time when Billy Zane disappears and Britta points out that he's right there, and then you kind of see him hiding in the background? I just could not stop laughing.

Also, for some reason Frankie playing the steel drums kind of reminded me of Britta shaking a cocktail in the speakeasy back in episode one.
posted by crLLC at 5:44 PM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

OMG that's what Billy Zane looks like these days?
posted by porpoise at 6:00 PM on April 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

My best friend from high school always looked uncannily like Billy Zane, so the only way I know he's playing a role is when my immediate thought is, "Kyle?"

Also, though I'm sure this wasn't intentional, like half of the ads I got were for Subway, which cracked me up here.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:53 PM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

haha wow this ep was really on point. Really great. I'd say - probably one of the best episodes in a while.

question: is the bar that britta works at the speakeasy? or is she actually bartending somewhere?
posted by rebent at 3:40 PM on April 23, 2015

Britta's actually working at a bar called The Vatican. The have corn nuts, which have a small but significant resale value.
posted by crLLC at 7:28 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I thought it was kind of funny that Subway/Rick grew a luxurious hipster beard for his new job, since half the ads in the mobile version are Nick Thune selling the Honda Fit. Intentional?
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:20 PM on April 24, 2015

OMG that's what Billy Zane looks like these days?

One of the reasons I want the Twin Peaks revival to go through is so we can see a ruggedly bald John Justice Wheeler romancing a still-foxy Audrey Horne 25 years later.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:30 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was so excited about the Twin Peaks revival (even without Lynch; it won't be the same but Lynch didn't think there was enough resources attached for him to do the job he wants to do). Is it still on?
posted by porpoise at 2:31 PM on April 24, 2015

I generally liked the episode, though the Honda plugs were a bit too spot on. I loathed Frankie's miserable steel drums pantomime, she really needed to do a better job selling it. Here monologue insulting the dean justified her entire presence in the show, though.
posted by signal at 6:14 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I generally liked the episode, though the Honda plugs were a bit too spot on.

I was skeptical at first, but in the end thought it was great (and very much a Dan Harmon move) that they laid on the ebullient praise for Honda so thickly and gratuitously that in the end it just started sounding like meaningless noise.
posted by psoas at 11:15 AM on May 4, 2015

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