First off, congrats to the cast and crew of Community for nabbing a fourth-season, 13-episode order. It's nice to know that next week's back-to-back-to-back three-episode finale blowout won't be the last we ever see of the Greendale crew. Funnily enough, though, had things gone the other way, last night's episode "Curriculum Unavailable" could have almost have served as a series finale... provided they had chopped off the last five minutes.
Picking up two months after their expulsion from Greendale, the first half of "Curriculum Unavailable" found Jeff, Annie, Troy et al. accompanying an increasingly unhinged Abed to the office of a mustachioed psychiatrist (played by mustachioed Daily Show regular, John Hodgman). During their group session, they try to convince the doc that Abed isn't crazy and, if he is, than they're all crazy and Greendale made them that way. They illustrate their argument via flashbacks to events we've never seen before. That's right! It's another clip show with all new-clips, a stunt they previously pulled in the Season 2 episode, "Paradigms of Human Memory."
As the episode unfolded, we started to get a strong final-episode-of Seinfeld-vibe to the proceedings, not just due to the constant cut-aways to all those (new) old clips, but also because Hodgman's shrink seemed on the verge of sending them all off to the asylum in the same way that Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer ended up in the pokey. Somehow that ending would seem entirely appropriate for this show as well, given that the characters are rampant narcissists much like the Seinfeld gang.
But then halfway through, the episode changed lanes, with Hodgman trying to convince the group that, in fact, they're already crazy and have spent the past three years institutionalized at the Greendale Asylum. Cut to a white rubber room, where they act out key moments from past episodes -- like Pierce singing "Baby Boomer Santa" -- under the eyes of orderlies... one of whom is played by longtime ER desk clerk Jerry Markovic (Abraham Benrubi). Suddenly, we're out of Seinfeld territory and deep into Buffy-land, specifically that Season 6 episode "Normal Again" where Buffy was made to believe that her entire vampire slayer existence was a hallucination. And again, it felt like a legitimate ending for Community -- dark as hell to be sure, but this show has already gone to some dark places and leaving the characters in straitjackets feels like the sort of thing creator Dan Harmon might do as a final "F-you" to the network had the show been tossed in the proverbial cancellation trash can.
But no, Community is definitely coming back and next week's actual season finale will presumably involve the group rescuing the Dean from the clutches of Chang, who, as we learn in the show's closing moments, has basically taken over the campus and imprisoned poor Craig Pelton. We look forward to seeing what the writers have in store for us in the next three episodes and beyond, but "Curriculum Unavailable" did get us thinking about how we'd like to see each character end up when the show does reach its final destination. We peek into their potential futures and pick their most memorable line from last night's episode.
Where We'd Like Him to End Up: Abandoning law and pursuing a career that takes full advantage of his good looks and prodigious self-absorption: local politics.
Best Line: "Everyone's always saying that! The average community college student attends school for five to seven years. Many offer four year degrees."
Where We'd Like Her to End Up: Marrying an ambitious young advertising executive and moving to the suburbs... only to realize she hates it there and becomes a sex and relationship columnist for a weekly Manhattan newspaper instead.
Best Line: "I'm literally carrying a Greendale backpack!"
Where We'd Like Him to End Up: Hosting his own morning show on a local NBC affiliate and a home improvement series on HGTV.
Best Line: "You have to understand about Abed, he's usually adorable weird like Mork from Ork. But since we got expelled, he's been creepy weird like present-day Robin Williams."
Where We'd Like Her to End Up: Shaving her head and moving to the Pacific Northwest to run an organic farm and join her own itinerant workers' protests for higher wages and better living conditions.
Best Line: "How long does peyote last? Just asking for a friend."
Where We'd Like Him to End Up: Traveling through space and time in his very own intergalactic phone booth. This is Abed we're talking about, so we're sure he'll figure out how to make one.
Best Line: "Remember when we went camping? Remember when we painted the nursery? Remember when we remembered going camping while we were in the nursery?"
Where We'd Like Her to End Up: Owning and operating a successful chain of community college-based sandwich and pastry shops.
Best Line: "That Brett Ratner, he's a master at comedic action adventure. A master at storytelling. He's just a master at making movies in general. I'm gonna say it: he's the new Spielberg."
Where We'd Like Him to End Up: Somehow, we can't ever see him not being a part of Greendale. We wouldn't be surprised if he had it in his will to have his ashes sprinkled into the cafeteria food.
Best Line: "We're all kind of crazytown bananapants."
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