A clever, emotional, and meticulously constructed parable about Dan Harmon’s return to Community, “Basic Sandwich” is a well earned declaration of victory more than anything, even if it is a little inaccessible.
Dan Harmon, like a one man Save Greendale Committee, has returned to a ruined school and turned it back into the place we most want to visit on Thursday nights, showing us the difference between stories and sandwiches.
“G.I. Jeff” constantly delivers nostalgic 80’s animated fan service, but Community has set a strong precedent for making these fun departures into character exploration exercises, so there is an implied mystery afoot as well: Who is imagining this? Why? And does it matter?
Delivering about two laughs for every one second of airtime without leaving its primary location, “Advanced Advanced Dungeons and Dragons” is about slaying the metaphorical old naked lunatic called “communication problems” who rides an invincible dragon named “family ties.”
For a pretty straight forward 22 minutes that takes place in only three or four settings, “VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing” is complex and fun, but might leave some people (namely those who aren't familiar with Breaking Bad) behind as it eagerly eats its own referential tail.
“App Development and Condiments” sees Community in comfortable territory as it takes laser focus on modern forms of cliquing, has fun digging at Internet meritocracies like Reddit, and imagines Greendale as a Huxley-ian meme-eugenic dystopia populated with highly upvoted comedian guest stars.
A heart-filled examination of friendship that starts with Jeff and Duncan scheming selfishly, and ends around the Table Mk II with warm assurance, the bondage of honesty, and the best reference to The Shining since The Simpsons had a crack at it in the early 90’.
This week we get a clean cut A-B-C plotted episode of Community that promises to showcase the new cast’s dynamic. This is exactly what we needed after two episodes of farewells and a David Fincher parody.
An episode in which we see how Community can take something as cartoonish as a 22-minute game of hot lava and craft it into a strong and emotional story about how shitty saying goodbye to a friend can be.
The six surviving Greendale Seven and Chang all agree to submit to what Abed describes as “the pie fight of cop movies,” and we all buckle down for 22 minutes (plus commercials) of what Community does best: A bottle episode.
Thanks to its self-reflexive nature, Community has managed to return to the status quo in three episodes while still respecting the event of graduation itself, essentially saying everything that happened mattered (even the gas leak last year), but nothing ever really matters (including the gas leak).