Community, “Cooperative Calligraphy”: Verbal dyspraxia and octopus laws.

Oh Dan Harmon, you saucy minx. Just when I start to get my Joel McHale lust under control, you have to put him in his underwear again! Aside from that highlight, this was an average to above average episode – nothing really groundbreaking, and there were certainly some weak points, but a solid mid-season contribution, nonetheless.

I maintain once again that Donald Glover is this show’s breakout star. “Sometimes I think I’ve lost something really important to me, and it turns out I already ate it.” Kudos to the writer who came up with that little bit of heaven and kudos to Donald Glover for delivering it in a way that makes it not only seem appropriate for that character but makes us all (no? just me?) think back and wonder if we’ve ever believed something was lost, only to realize it was… swallowed.

What this episode really left us with was questions. A hallmark of the great writing on Community is that there is enough obvious comedy to keep the casual viewer interested but enough layers to keep the dedicated fans invested. Britta knows what kind of underwear Jeff “usually” wears? Troy only carries a pillow in his backpack? Troy’s look when he realizes Shirley may have gotten pregnant during Halloween – was that a callback to her time stuck in the bathroom with Chang? Or something else? Mmm hmmm… (that’s a sassy, eyebrow raised, insinuating look mmm hmmm, by the way)

Also, Ryan Murphy – take note – this is how you build a plotline. With a few exceptions (Jeff seemed to go from 0 to maniac a little quick for believability), the build up during the great pen hunt was reasonable. We start off with platitudes, go to a cursory search around the room, and eventually land on a boys vs. girls strip search – I mean, that is, after all, how I got my favorite red Swingline stapler out of my thieving co-worker’s ass.

Speaking of making people uncomfortable, are the writers essentially telling us that Abed does, in fact, have Asperger’s? That seemed a little more implied prior to this episode.

Anyway, far more good elements than not-good elements this (um, last – sorry, busy weekend) week. The conclusion was particularly well done, and some of the subtler moments really landed for die-hard fans – Jeff’s lawyerspeak, Abed handing Annie the first piece of chocolate and Pierce jumping (so to speak) on the opportunity to take off his shirt. The closing bumper was great because – well, puppies, but also for the Dean’s booing of the “equality and togetherness” float. For me – a borderline-psychotic-dog-lover, the real question was, would I have rather watched this episode or the puppy parade, and the episode edged out the puppies, but only barely. I mean, puppies on one hand, Community (and Joel McHale) on the other?  Peanut butter? Chocolate? I’m just saying… a little more puppy screen time next time, and we may achieve the perfect episode.

Quality writing, people. Quality:

  • With every moment , these puppies grow older and less deserving of our attention.
  • Britta: So, if I took it, it’s larceny, but if you find it under Mother Hen, it’s a mistake. Shirley: Mother hen? I think we’re about the same age. Britta: Sure, unless time is linear. Shirley: I’ll make your ass linear. Britta: That doesn’t make any sense. Shirley: I’ll make your ass sense.
  • Gwynnifer
  • Just a quick nonviolent reminder…. (Fair warning to friends, family and co-workers: I will be using this insufferably)

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