OK, now we’re back on track! We start off this week with some awkward Subway product placement, but at least we’ve tied back in to the “Shirley and Pierce start a business” storyline. The Subway restaurant is opening in the cafeteria, which Shirley tries to block by pointing out that on-campus businesses need to be majority operated by Greendale students. Before this complaint goes anywhere, they learn that Subway has employed a Greendale student to operate as the human embodiment of the brand. So, the store stays open.
And who was playing Subway, dear friends, but Keith Dudemeister from Scrubs! (I’m hoping I’m not the only one who recognized him.) As the personification of the brand, “Subway” isn’t allowed to have non-platonic relations with anyone or be involved in controversies of any kind. Pierce and Shirley dispatch Britta to get to know him and see if she can get any dirt on him to bring the whole restaurant down.
But it turns out Subway is totally dreamy! Former anarchist Britta finds herself warring between taking down an evil corporation and pairing off behind Subway with the dude, who dreams of starting an animal shelter for disabled animals. (Deaf hamsters need homes, too, you guys)
Meanwhile, John Goodman’s Air Conditioning Repair School Dean reared his French-braided head again in another attempt to woo Troy over to a career of A/C mechanic. He thinks the best way to do so is by creating a rift between Troy and Abed (also, he’s going through some stuff right now). As we saw last week, Troy and Abed are having some conflict on their own, so the stakes seem higher as it truly seems possible that their friendship could fracture. The catalyst for their conflict this week was a struggle over whether to build a pillow fort or a blanket fort. I was with Troy on this one because, honestly, how would they ever get enough pillows?!
The C-plot (which, now that I think about it, is pretty rare for Community; they usually do ensemble plotlines) involved Jeff finding out for the first time that he’s had a locker for two and half years that he’s never visited. Among the many overly-earnest Greendale fliers, Jeff finds a note from “Kim” calling Jeff an inconsiderate jerk. He hunts down the locker of the only Kim he ever had a class with, only to have a guy passing by tell him that Kim had recently died.
Jeff actually takes this news hard, and it triggers some actual humility and growth from him, as he goes and apologizes to Kim’s locker with a bouquet of flowers. Kim, though, ends up being the dude that Jeff talked to near the locker and is apparently so forgettable that Jeff hung out with him 10 times without ever remembering him or his name. I guess the theme of this week = deception!
In a surprise (and slightly exhausting) twist, Annie reacts strongly to the fact that “Kim” wasn’t a girl. It seems that Annie had been projecting some of her own issues with Jeff when she encouraged him to atone for past sins against women. I guess this is a realistic development; in life, people often struggle to get over people they’ve had feelings for, especially if they are still around them all the time. But to watch it on a TV show, it kind of made me a little tired. We’ve tried going down the Jeff and Annie road before, and it’s flamed out every time. It’s a little odd to be watching Annie still deal with something that happened in the season one finale. (Who is she, Ted Mosby? Amirite?)
Anyway, we leave the gang this week with Troy and Abed retreating into their respective forts with their respective armies, Britta pining for the lost Subway, and Jeff having learned very little about the repercussions of his actions.
And how about that product placement, anyway? Do you think they were given the sponsor and they just tried to build the weirdest plot possible around it? I mean, it was pretty creative but still kind of a weird experience to watch, particularly when they kept repeating the Subway slogan. Meh, if this is what they have to do to stay on the air, I’ll allow it!