After its awkwardly constructed, humor-challenged Pierce and Troy-centric outing last week, Community thankfully spread the comic wealth around to the entire study group in "Studies in Modern Movement," instantly making it one of Season 3's better episodes. While Annie and #AnniesMove into Troy and Abed's apartment took up the bulk of the half-hour, the episode also featured Dean and Jeff sharing some quality karaoke time, Shirley and Britta battling and then bonding over a random hitchhiker they picked up and Pierce... uh, getting high off paint fumes (hey, not every plot can be a winner, right?). Here's how we graded the episode's four storylines:
A-Plot: Moving Time/You Don't Have to Go Home/But You Can't Stay Here
When there's a guy named "Spaghetti" standing outside your apartment building just waiting to urinate on cars that are in the process of parking, you know that it's time to box up your stuff and move on. So Annie semi-excitedly, semi-reluctantly accepts Troy and Abed's offer to move into their swinging geek bachelor pad. Upside of the movie: She'll be living with good friends that will keep her constantly entertained with shadow puppet shows and adventures in their patented Dreamatorium, which awesomely resembles the holodeck aboard the Enterprise NCC-1701-D. Downside: That Dreamatorium is actually the apartment's second bedroom, forcing Annie to take up residence in a blanket fort that looks like Troy and Abed's version of a Bedouin tent. As much as we liked Troy's brief steps into adulthood last episode, it was great to see him and Abed back in classic buddy mode and Annie's mixture of enthusiasm and horror at her new living arrangement made almost all of her reaction shots comedy gold.
Funniest Line: "If the room is rocking, please come a-knockin' because there's probably something terribly wrong."
Sweetest Moment: That puppet show starring Princess Annie, Woodsman Troy and Beebab, an emotionally unavailable unicorn.
Overall Grade: A-
B-Plot: Sing, Sing a Song
The Dean has made his attraction to Jeff clear since Season One and he finally got the chance to live out his daydreams by "accidentally" bumping into Jeff while he's out shopping instead of helping with #AnniesMovie. Using the always effective threat of blackmail, the Dean... uh, we mean Craig (it is a Saturday, after all) gets Jeff to agree to a not-at-all romantic lunch at a cheesy Mexican restaurant (complete with a song from the resident Mariachi band) followed by an hour-long karaoke session. His tune of choice? "Kiss From a Rose," that classic Seal pop nugget off the Batman Forever soundtrack. (How often do you think he and Heidi sit around singing that chart-topper to their kids at home?) We've been a bit down on Craig so far this season, but his naked enthusiasm at getting to spend some quality time with Jeff was funny and kind of touching.
Funniest Line: "This is just like that Lake House movie... I can only assume, even I have limits."
Sweetest Moment: When Jeff visibly lets go of his usual cynicism and just enjoys rocking out to Seal.
Overall Grade: B+
C-Plot: Riding in Cars With Britta
Britta and Shirley have always butted heads, but their squabbles ratcheted up a notch in the wake of the Night of the Parallel Universes, when Britta's ringing endorsement of marijuana offended Shirley's religious sensibilities. The two were in the midst of one of their "I'm more self-righteous than you" arguments when Britta pulled over to pick up a hitchhiker as a way to prove to her passenger that being an atheist doesn't rob you of a sense of kindness towards your fellow man. This plan seems to backfire when it turns out that the traveller is actually a Jesus freak. Advantage Shirley! But wait -- he's a Jesus freak that believes he's Jesus and that pot should be legal because "It was given to us by God." Advantage Britta! Whoops, wait again -- he's also a bigot that's in favor of drinking blood and opposed to race mixing. Advantage nobody! Except us, because their reaction is pretty darn funny.
Funniest Line: "How can I religiously persecute you? You don't have a religion!"
Sweetest Moment: Britta and Shirley put aside their difference and bond over their hatred of the bigoted asshole in the backseat.
Overall Grade: B
D-Plot: Because He Got High
Not much to report here. Pierce agreed to clean up Annie's old apartment so she could recover her security deposit, but winds up knocking over a can of white paint and making paint angels in the resulting lake with the windows closed. Pierce's hallucination of himself tickling the piano keys Burt Bacharach-style with Hula girls swaying in the background was pretty great, but otherwise this felt like an easy way to fulfill Chevy Chase's contractual obligations to the show.
Funniest Line: "Ah good evening, Senator. Any requests?"
Sweetest Moment: Maybe it's just us, but we found something oddly charming about the image of a high-as-a-kite Pierce happily tapping his fingers on a cardboard box as if it was a piano.
Overall Grade: C+
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