If nothing else, "Basic Human Anatomy" demonstrated the advantage of having an Oscar-winning screenwriter finally on your writing staff. On the heels of last week's Christmas-themed debacle, Jim "Dean Pelton" Rash swooped in and saved the series at the 11th
hour episode, penning the only successful high concept half hour so far this season. The high concept in question was body switching, that old staple of '70s and '80s comedies like Vice Versa (sorry Abed, we dig that one, Judge Reinhold and all), Like Father, Like Son and Freaky Friday (not the Lindsay Lohan version -- the 1976 Jodie Foster-starring, fortune cookie-free original), the latter of which caused buddies Abed and Troy to trade identities just in time for Troy to make a big decision about his ill-advised romance with Britta.
In the immortal words of T.S. Eliot, "Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over." Or maybe, "This is the way
the world Community ends: Not with a bang but a whimper" would be more apropos. Whichever Eliot line you chose to go with, Community's fourth season (and, potentially, series) finale "Advanced Introduction to Finality" was a definite off-note on which to end a season that was already often out of tune.
Question: What does a show do when it can't decide how to move forward? Answer: It looks to the past. That explains Community's penultimate Season 4 episode, "Heroic Origins," in which Abed pieces together the group's shared pre-Greendale history on a flowchart he labels the
Loom of Fate Crazy Quilt of Destiny. On the one hand, this gimmick allowed the cast to have some fun playing earlier incarnations of their characters, from Alison Brie's brace-faced Annie to Abed's Phantom Menace-trolling scarer of small children. At the same time, though, the whole thing felt kind of... well, pointless, since this trip to the past wound up shedding very minimal light on who these characters are now and what the future -- which may or may not last beyond next week's finale -- might have in store.
Mentally erase those excessively maudlin closing moments, and "Herstory of Dance" becomes a sly, satisfying episode of Community, a clear standout in this wildly inconsistent fourth season. Much like its predecessor, "Economics of Marine Biology," "Herstory" eschews the high-concept stuff for a more traditional sitcom structure. Unlike that scattered half-hour, though, here the various plots all connect back to one main event -- the face-off between Dean Pelton's Sadie Hawkins dance and Britta's Sophie B. Hawkins dance -- giving it a cohesiveness that amplifies the comedy. And the puppet stinger at the end was a great tease for next week's all-felt outing. I don't care if it is a blatant rip-off of that fifth-season Angel episode; I can't wait to see more of Puppet!Annie, Puppet!Troy and Puppet!Pierece, the latter of whom is preferable to flesh-and-blood version at this point.
Meet the new King of
All Media Late Night.
Breaking Amish Part 2: Breaking Amisher.
Attention Greendale applicants: Community is finally back! Tomorrow night, the series returns to NBC's Thursday primetime line-up for the first time since May 2012. To get us even more psyched for the long-delayed season premiere, study group members Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs called us up to chat about their senior year, Britta and Annie's evolving friendship, and why they can't help reading fan-written Community porn.
Looks like those zombies claimed another victim.
When last we saw the members of Greendale Community College's most insular study group, they had all overcome great (and not so great) odds to achieve some small measure of happiness. Jeff literally had his day in court, giving him back his legal swagger and the impetus to ace his biology final; Troy ended the reign of terror within Greendale's Air Conditioning Repair Annex; Abed gave in to the dark side (a.k.a. Evil Abed) but found his inner goodness and felt brave enough to dismantle his Dreamatorioum; Britta put her fledgling psychoanalytic skills to the test; Annie... continued to look really cute; and Shirley and Pierce managed to open a sandwich shop in the Greendale cafeteria without killing each other first.
Dallas has set the date for saying goodbye.