“Invasion of the Abed Snatchers”- Community Season 4 Episode 11 Review- ‘Basic Human Anatomy’
I never thought I would end up caring about the Troy and Britta relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I was rooting for the kids back when they were still in the “faffing about” stage of courtship, but their entire time as a couple has really been a wash. It was a drag back in the season premiere and has mostly been forgotten about since then. Also, I’ve always felt that Jeff and Britta should end up together, if Jeff and Shirley don’t. Jirley is still my primary ship.
And now that all of that Tritta stuff is said and done, I thought it got a nice and touching outro for something that was never that great, like if Revolution’s last episode suddenly changed the way we think about scripted sword fights. I legitimately cared as Troy finally worked up the courage to end it, but that may be attributed to my unnecessary love for Britta.
And, boy, this episode should just not work. I don’t know if a body-switching episode has ever been done, much less done well. Glover and Pudi have great fun and nail their impressions, and it really elevates an episode that could have (and probably should have) been abysmal.
But that’s just Jim Rash’s writing, isn’t it?
For those of you uninformed, tonight’s episode was written by the Dean himself, showing incredible restraint by not making the episode about him, as well as an impressive upper body and a solid Jeff impression he probably perfected with that puppet.
Any of you who have seen Rash’s Oscar-winning film The Descendants may have felt the same feeling I did watching tonight’s episode that the two works feel very similar. Both really shouldn’t work, but totally do in their own way. They have solid jokes that don’t make you laugh so much as acknowledge their cleverness. And they both have brave, honest hearts hidden under all the goofy. I’m a fan of the man’s work, and anyone in the St. Louis area is welcome to see The Way, Way Back with me when it comes out.
I liked very much the direction tonight took regarding the body-switching. Upon hearing that tonight was going to be a Freaky Friday episode (and reading that the Darkest Timeline intervenes in the finale), I was worried that the show had gone full retard, to a point where it would never come back. Community has always played the fringes of reality, with its Dreamatoriums and paintball games where people are actually honest when they get hit, but an actual supernatural event would have derailed the whole operation. The fact that it was Troy’s idea because he couldn’t deal with everything was wonderful, and using his Abediness to make his confession to Jeff kept the whole thing from feeling too on-the-nose.
If there’s a problem with tonight’s episode, it’s that all of the problems with Season 4 are proudly on display here. It’s clever, but not so much funny, the pacing feels a little off, it all feels very breezy, it has to deal heavily with the Troy and Britta relationship, and still no one has any idea what to do with Annie. But it also hit the season’s heights by being incredibly sweet, and honestly, sincerely gooey, and managed to avoid some of the major recent pitfalls (namely Chang, who we are going to get in full force next week).
There was also some plot about Leonard being valedictorian that definitely…. happened. Its only real benefit in my eyes was Jim Rash killing it tonight, trying valiantly to take the Season MVP award away from Gillian Jacobs.
Pierce is also still going strong. Chase is mostly phoning it in, but the staff this year has found really interesting and nice things for him to do, something that Harmon’s crew couldn’t really get right. Unless something goes horribly awry in the next two episodes, and given that two episodes from now the show really is ending, Pierce will go out on top, having been redeemed of all his wrong-doing. The only applicable comparison I can find is if after Watergate, Nixon went on to open a shelter for disenfranchised puppies and sad, British orphans.
Sorry if tonight’s review wasn’t up to my usual standards. I am positively exhausted and am really cramming this into my schedule, but next week I’ll be back on my game.
Tonight’s Grade: B or B+… I’m kind of tired. Maybe this will improve on a second viewing when I’m less likely to collapse.
Next Week: Chang makes one final attempt to destroy Greendale, and we get one more chance to watch Chang try to destroy Greendale, a surprisingly frequent occurrence considering that he used to just be a quirky Spanish teacher.
Chekhov’s Gunman is moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future writer of movies and TV and present writer of scathing reviews of middle school art projects. Check back every week for reviews of Community and Game of Thrones, one of our coveted Mexican Standoffs, and the Good Stuff. You can also find Kevin on Twitter.
Dean you later!