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Community Season 4

Community Oct.19 Greendale

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#1 Virgil Vox

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:39 PM

Oct. 19 has come at last! Community has returned for its fourth(and sadly, probably final)season. It's been too long since the study group has graced our TV screens.

I am a huge Community fan. It's one of my favorite shows on the air and my favorite comedy by a large margin. No other show can do what Community can do. Three paintball episodes that evoke a post apocalyptic future, a Wild West setting, and a Star Wars rip-off. Nor can they do an episode where the gang is sitting around a table playing Dungeons and Dragons and make it feel epic even though it's 22 minutes of people sitting and talking.

I was afraid, like every other Community fan I'm sure, that the loss of Dan Harmon would negatively impact the show. Sad to say, it has. There's nothing really wrong with the first three episodes. There's been no huge change of direction for the show. The characters are still the same. But those first three episodes just felt off. Like a fan production of Community instead of the real thing. I was starting to believe the show would never regain the old magic. But then the fourth episode happened. It felt like Community again. I can't really say why, but the fourth episode was funny and quirky and it just felt like everything clicked into place. Hopefully the rest of the season remains this way.

There have been some good developments. I love that Dean Pelton has moved right next door to Jeff. It makes perfect sense for the character. I also like the Britta/Troy pairing. I don't know why, but those characters just go together. I'm also glad that Abed is maturing some and dealing with change a lot better.

I don't like Chang and his Changnesia. Honestly, after Chang lost his job as a teacher his character should have been written out of the show or at least featured a lot less. A little bit of Chang goes a long way.

Is anybody a Community fan? Are you liking the current season or do you feel it should have ended last season?
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#2 NeuralClone

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 01:06 PM

I have to agree about the first three episodes. They just felt...off. The first one in particular was probably the worst. The episode at the convention worked fairly well for the most part but it was the fourth episode that felt like the show I love finally returned after far too long of a hiatus. The Halloween episode didn't really work for me. Their previous Halloween episodes just blow it away.

Pierce is still a pointless, unfunny character to me, made even more annoying by Chevy Chase's behind the scenes nonsense. Chang has his moments (mostly as a teacher and when he ripped his cloths off to head into the air ducts to find Annie's Boobs) but I agree. Just write him off the show or feature him less.

I don't think it'll ever be possible for them to top the D&D episode or the three paintball episodes. But I'm more confident in the season after the latest episode than I was after the first three.

Even if the rest of the season tanks (let's hope not), at least Alison Brie is back on TV on a weekly basis again. :love:

Edited by NeuralClone, 06 March 2013 - 01:07 PM.

"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#3 Virgil Vox

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:36 PM

Quote

I have to agree about the first three episodes. They just felt...off. The first one in particular was probably the worst.

Agreed. I think they went out of their way to try and prove that the show wasn't going to change and just overloaded the episode with as much over the top nonsense as possible.

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Pierce is still a pointless, unfunny character to me, made even more annoying by Chevy Chase's behind the scenes nonsense.

The writers really dropped the ball with Pierce. Every other cast member got to grow or change in some way but they kept Pierce an antagonistic, unlikeable character. I had thought after season 2 with Pierce being the villain but seeming to grow at the end we would see some positive changes in him but it never happened. I will be sort of sad to see Pierce go just because he is part of the group and has been there since the beginning but he's the one character they can lose and not hurt the show.

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I don't think it'll ever be possible for them to top the D&D episode or the three paintball episodes. But I'm more confident in the season after the latest episode than I was after the first three.

It will be hard to top those episodes, or the previous Halloween ones or the video game one. But like you, I'm now more confident that they can get close to that level. I'm curious about the

Spoiler

episode. Should be interesting to see how they pull that off.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#4 Josh

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:36 PM

The fourth episode struck a better balance for me than the rest of the season has but I still found it terribly uneven, with very few funny jokes and an off-kilter tone. Certain characters are being wasted (Pierce, Shirley) and others are just used poorly (Troy and Britta, zero chemistry). Others feel like they've been regressing, like Annie. And no one has a clue what to do with Abed, very much a Harmon-influenced character. I'll probably finish the series but it's very clear that Harmon rewrote every script that was produced (as is usually the case with showrunners) and without him, no one knows quite how to make the show work. It would be better if they dropped the high-concept stuff (especially as the budget cuts are showing) and go back to a simpler approach, like how the show operated in the first season.

I also wouldn't hold the fourth episode as hope that the writers have figured things out as it was filmed second and just held back (maybe because they feared it would get a poor reaction and the critics did rip it a new one. The fanbase was generally more kind with it). The fifth episode is back to being in order but the sixth should be interesting, as it was filmed later (either 408, 412 or 413) and is being moved forward for whatever reason.

Edited by Josh, 06 March 2013 - 09:38 PM.

"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#5 Virgil Vox

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:57 AM

Quote

Certain characters are being wasted (Pierce, Shirley) and others are just used poorly (Troy and Britta, zero chemistry).

I think the show has always wasted Pierce and Shirley. Sure, Pierce got a lot of spotlight in the second season when he was being built up as the villain but nothing was done with him in the third season aside from what, two episodes focusing on him and his dad. Shirley almost never gets to be the center of the A-plot either. As for Troy and Britta, I like them together. It's a weird pairing, but it works for me.

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I'll probably finish the series but it's very clear that Harmon rewrote every script that was produced (as is usually the case with showrunners) and without him, no one knows quite how to make the show work.

I agree. While I think the last two episodes have been an improvement, it's still not Community at its finest. Losing Harmon hurt the show quite a bit.

Quote

I also wouldn't hold the fourth episode as hope that the writers have figured things out as it was filmed second and just held back (maybe because they feared it would get a poor reaction and the critics did rip it a new one. The fanbase was generally more kind with it). The fifth episode is back to being in order but the sixth should be interesting, as it was filmed later (either 408, 412 or 413) and is being moved forward for whatever reason.

Maybe they moved the episodes around to showcase episodes that they thought fans would respond to better. The Halloween episodes have always been fan favorites so it makes sense to show that second, and Inspector Spacetime has been a long running gag on the show for a while now. Plus, it had two good guest stars in Matt Lucas and Tricia Helfer.

So I liked the newest episode, Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations. It had problems but were better than the first three. I was mainly looking forward to Jeff meeting his dad and it didn't disappoint. James Brolin was a great actor to cast for Jeff's father. I wasn't as keen on Willy, Jr. who got to be annoying quickly. Loved Britta's line to him though about showing her on a dinner roll where he had been hurt. Then again, I love Britta when she gets into her therapy mode. She's so horrible at it yet is usually right about the problems. It did get a little dark at the end with Jeff showing just how damaged he was and is by his dad leaving him.

The dinner at Shirley's and Abed performing Shawshank Redemption was a good plot as well. Though I wish we had actually seen Shirley's in-laws being horrible instead of just being told. I'm guessing they couldn't afford to hire any more actors but it hurt the episode. Still, some good bits there like Annie throwing the others under the bus when she tries to escape by saying she's having a really bad period or the comments about Batman and his homosexual tendencies or Pierce trying to be "meta" and then saying Abed gets it with Abed just shaking his head.

I have no illusions that this season will be as good as the last three. We're five episodes in and there are only two episodes that I actually liked a lot and three that were weak with maybe one or two good parts. That said, I'm just hoping that the characters get a good send-off and I'm not going to complain too loudly that we still have 8 episodes left with our favorite study group.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#6 NeuralClone

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:09 PM

Pierce has always been wasted on this show. The character isn't funny and often just serves to deliver a bad racist, homophobic, or sexist joke. His best moments were in the D&D episode and the paintball episodes. Other than that, the less we see of him the better as far as I'm concerned.

Edited by NeuralClone, 08 March 2013 - 12:12 PM.

"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#7 Josh

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 02:21 PM

Yeah, this was probably the strongest episode of the season, although still problematic. A lot of the comedy still comes across as desperate (or overly broad, like Willy Jr.) but the dramatic moments were very strong and Joel McHale was terrific. The Shawshank plot didn't really come together and I'm not sure if that was a writing or a budget issue. It was very half-baked and uncommitted. In the past, when the show did parodies like this, it really went for the throat but no one's heart was in it this time around. They should have spent more time with Jeff (and less with Britta, who was somewhat obnoxious this week).

Chevy Chase is completely on auto-pilot now. He was never great but this season, he has that look in his eyes that I recognize very well (because it's been on mine during gigs I hate). Take the money and run.
"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#8 Virgil Vox

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 02:49 PM

Quote

The Shawshank plot didn't really come together and I'm not sure if that was a writing or a budget issue. It was very half-baked and uncommitted. In the past, when the show did parodies like this, it really went for the throat but no one's heart was in it this time around. They should have spent more time with Jeff (and less with Britta, who was somewhat obnoxious this week).

I think it was a budget issue. We only saw two of Shirley's in-laws and the rest were only mentioned. I'd rather have seen more of them than Jeff's half brother. He was truly annoying. I actually liked Britta in this episode, but I always love when she starts acting like a psychiatrist.

So the newest episode, "Advanced Documentary Filmmaking" was okay. I didn't find it laugh out loud funny, but I did enjoy it. I honestly thought I would hate it since it is a Chang centric episode and I'm not a big Chang fan but it worked. I knew Chang was faking, though I really did figure that Jeff would smoke him out in the episode. Who wants to bet that Chang is working with Dean Spreck and City College? Chang did head over to their vents after he was ousted from Greendale. I loved that Abed knew the entire time that Jeff was out to expose Chang and didn't say anything to anyone else.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#9 NeuralClone

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:23 PM

It makes perfect sense that Chang is working with City College. I've always loved that bizarre rivalry between colleges and having Chang go over to their side as a spy just...works. Chang can be annoying when he's used in stories where he isn't needed. But at the same time he can be quite amusing if given the right material.
"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#10 Josh

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:11 PM

I thought it was okay. Not terrible, not great, just okay. I question why they'd do yet another Documentary episode when there's plenty of Harmon examples to directly compare it to. It had no chance of faring particularly well and like the rest of the season, struck me as being off-kilter with very few laughs. Like all of the higher concept episodes so far, it halfheartedly committed to its gimmick and made me wonder why they bothered with it at all.

Also, it was produced eighth but aired sixth. It remains to be seen whether this causes continuity problems but the show doesn't seem particularly interested in developing its characters this season so probably not.

Edited by Josh, 15 March 2013 - 08:12 PM.

"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#11 Virgil Vox

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 12:58 PM

Quote

It makes perfect sense that Chang is working with City College. I've always loved that bizarre rivalry between colleges and having Chang go over to their side as a spy just...works. Chang can be annoying when he's used in stories where he isn't needed. But at the same time he can be quite amusing if given the right material.

I agree. Chang working for City College is a good idea. Honestly though I didn't think they would follow up on the City College plot point from the season finale. I normally can't stand Chang, but this works for me.

Quote

I thought it was okay. Not terrible, not great, just okay. I question why they'd do yet another Documentary episode when there's plenty of Harmon examples to directly compare it to. It had no chance of faring particularly well and like the rest of the season, struck me as being off-kilter with very few laughs. Like all of the higher concept episodes so far, it halfheartedly committed to its gimmick and made me wonder why they bothered with it at all.

It almost feels like they're trying to do a Community's greatest hits this season. Espeically with the newest episode and Abed starting a frat. Reminded me of the first season episode where he and Troy tried to do a college film checklist. I do feel that they're trying to do too many high concept episodes this season. Yeah, Community is known for them but they work better spread out. But that could have to do with them airing episodes out of order.

I liked the new episode. I didn't think I would at first but as it went on I liked it more and more. The main story of the Dean and Annie changing Greendale to land the whale was funny. I also liked that Pierce and Jeff actually bonded and that we saw a nicer side of Pierce. If they had done more episodes like this with Pierce he would be a better character and I doubt Chevy Chase would have left. And only Greendale would have a Physical Education Education class. I loved it. Of course Shirley would excel at yelling and getting people to mind while Troy would bomb. I also liked that the entire cast was utilized. All in all, I think it was one of the better episodes of the season.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#12 Josh

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 07:59 PM

I was about to turn the latest ep off halfway through but it did dramatically improve in the second half. There's still very few laughs to be found but at least they're getting a better grasp on the characters (except Abed, completely wasted this week).
"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#13 NeuralClone

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 11:09 PM

Chang's "training" montage was probably my favorite part of the episode. The Troy and Shirley stuff was great too.
"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#14 Josh

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:10 PM

I am getting to the point where I want to move on but the show likely has so little episodes left that I'll probably stick to the end. Just not getting a lot of enjoyment out of it these days. New Girl made me laugh so hard the other day (and Parks and Rec continues to consistently bring the goods) but I can count the amount of times I've laughed at an episode this season of Community on just one hand.
"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#15 Virgil Vox

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 10:27 AM

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Chang's "training" montage was probably my favorite part of the episode. The Troy and Shirley stuff was great too.

Same here. I loved how happy Chang was to have mastered the water fountain. I liked the role reversal for Troy and Shirley as well.

Quote

I am getting to the point where I want to move on but the show likely has so little episodes left that I'll probably stick to the end. Just not getting a lot of enjoyment out of it these days. New Girl made me laugh so hard the other day (and Parks and Rec continues to consistently bring the goods) but I can count the amount of times I've laughed at an episode this season of Community on just one hand.

I'm sticking with it until the end because like you I figure the end is coming pretty quickly. Plus, I love these actors and characters and even though the show is nowhere near as good as it used to be I want to see how it ends. It's sad. I was thinking the other day that I got more laughs out of their Oct. 19 Youtube video than I've been getting from a regular episode.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#16 Virgil Vox

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 09:02 PM

I'm a little behind the times since two episodes of Community have aired but in my defense "Herstory of Dance" just wasn't that good. I didn't laugh once during the episode. Not even a giggle or a guffaw. While this season hasn't been as good as the last three I've still gotten a few laughs out of the episodes. Just not this one. I did like that Pierce showed off his nice side again this episode. It's too bad Chevy Chase left because his character was improving somewhat this season, even if he's barely been used. Abed's plot to take both girls to the dance wasn't funny and it was obvious he would end up with the coat check girl. Which was fine with me, because I did like her.

"Intro To Felt Surrogacy" is my favorite episode so far this season. I think it came the closest to capturing the magic of previous seasons. I loved the puppets, both the regular hand puppets the Dean had ready, and the cooler puppets that took the place of the casts. And of course Jeff's hand puppet would be shirtless and holding a whip.

Yay for them mentioning Professor Duncan. I always liked him and hated that he just disappeared from the show. Greendale's faculty has just slowly faded away over the seasons.

So did anyone else think that it wasn't Chevy Chase voicing the puppet? It sounded like him, but not exactly. Plus Pierce wasn't at the table. Nor was Chevy anywhere to be seen in the behind the scenes stuff at the end of the episode. Maybe he quit when they were working on this episode?
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#17 Josh

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 09:22 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 11 April 2013 - 09:02 PM, said:

So did anyone else think that it wasn't Chevy Chase voicing the puppet? It sounded like him, but not exactly. Plus Pierce wasn't at the table. Nor was Chevy anywhere to be seen in the behind the scenes stuff at the end of the episode. Maybe he quit when they were working on this episode?

This episode was the last produced of the season, after Chase had walked out. Apparently, as part of his deal, he had to return to record voiceovers for it.
"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#18 Josh

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 06:21 PM

I kinda liked both of the last two episodes. Neither were particularly funny (a large fault of of the show this season) but they had their charms and generally handled the dramatic moments decently.

(Actually, last night's episode really suffered in comparison to the episode I watched before it, which was the Dungeons and Dragons one.)
"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#19 Virgil Vox

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:52 PM

Quote

(Actually, last night's episode really suffered in comparison to the episode I watched before it, which was the Dungeons and Dragons one.)

I think anything would suffer coming after the Dungeons and Dragons episode. I swear, one day I'm going to sit down and watch all the best Community episodes and just laugh my ass off.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#20 Josh

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 05:04 PM

After a relative upturn with puppets, Community is back to mediocrity again with last night's episode. Didn't laugh once and looked at my clock at least three times. I'm actually having trouble remembering details from it. The script reportedly went through major changes, as they had to write Pierce out at the last minute (Chevy being Chevy), replacing him with Chang (which didn't work but I also strongly dislike the character). Some of the long-take shots early on were interesting and I *think* they were going for a parody of Hitchcock's "Rope" but as usual this season, they didn't take it all the way. Harmon might have gone over budget with his commitment to the wilder episodes but they almost always paid off.

This entire season has aired out of order so it's hard to keep straight what episodes Chevy is in coming up and the ones he's not. The puppet ep was produced last (413), as we know. The big racist blowout supposedly happened in 408 (the documentary episode), forcing them to write him out for this week's episode (409). Chevy returned to film 410 and 411 (the finale). I've heard rumors as part of his leaving deal, he had to film a few scenes for 412 (along with the voiceovers for 413). Ah, the excitement of television production. I assume they filmed the finale early because it has a bigger budget and needed more time in post (presumably being the conclusion to all the Chang drama). Obviously, they got more time to work on it than they anticipated.
"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.



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