New Show Recap

Community: Say Goodnight, Jeff

This week’s Community dialed it way, way back from last week’s rather ambitious, emotional undertaking. We start off with a meta-joke about how the study group never actually studies. Then the Dean walks in ““ phew! ““ to announce that VP Biden is going to be stopping by Greendale later that afternoon. (Side note: let’s hear it for a semi-realistic concept! Joe B’s wife works at a community college, after all.) Instead of preparing for this event like a normal person, the Dean has decided that they need to have an instant student body president election”¦because they don’t actually have a student body president.

Annie immediately says she’ll run, because of course she does. She’s idealistic and she’s good and she’s smart and she’s ambitious and everything! The Dean’s applause-o-meter allows her (and every other candidate save Britta) to take part in the election. This includes Jeff, who, in an effort to prove to Annie that politics is all about appearances (or just to get some attention this week), decides to run as well. He’s running on an anti-9/11, pro red-white-and-blue platform.

This whole thing is not terribly interesting, but thankfully Abed and Troy save the day. Their commentary for the (apparently no longer imaginary) TV cameras was adorable, especially when it became clear that Troy knows nothing about politics. Abed also got a solid solo-subplot wherein he is the only student at Greendale who’s noticed the Secret Service agents scouting the school. This includes one hot blond agent (who some of you may recognize as Denise from the last season or so of Scrubs!) who is attracted to Abed’s similarly clinical look at the world. Troy’s hurt to learn that Abed has his own little side adventures every week.

Back at the debates, Jeff (whose hair looks terrible this week, BTW) starts to outmaneuver Annie by being charming and manipulating the audience. Annie ““ who cares about the issues, guys! ““ gets fed up and decides to play dirty as well. She runs a clip of Jeff’s Real World audition video from 1997, which is predictably embarrassing. While the idea that Jeff would have auditioned for Read World is very fitting for his character, I thought the other students’ laughter was a little over-the-top, and Jeff running out practically in tears didn’t exactly ring true.

Annie looks for Jeff
Concerned face!

If you had any doubt what you’d be getting after the commercial break, then you haven’t been paying attention. Annie is going to feel bad about what she did and have a heart-to-heart with Jeff in which they both apologize and hug. And yet again, your faithful recapper finds herself exasperated that we basically got the exact same episode of Community we’ve seen several times now. I GET IT. HE WANTS TO BE A BETTER PERSON FOR ANNIE.

I don’t know, in the end this episode wasn’t terribly interesting. It seemed to be an elaborate setup for some Jeff and Annie development but no real payoff. Once again Annie acts like a jerk but is instantly forgiven by doing her wide-eyed innocent faces plus squeaky voice. (Hey, did you watch last year when Britta was the one and only person to call Annie out for anything? Hilarious) Abed and Troy brought some laughs this week, but they didn’t have enough screen time to save the episode as a whole.

By the way, what do you guys think of the Dean? Mr. McDoogal and I have basically decided that we’re bored of him. He’s kind of like Chang; I don’t necessarily think he needs to be eliminated as a character, but I’d be happy not to see him dominate an episode. Especially because his character comes a little too close to being a big joke about gay and/or cross-dressing men. Just me?

Photos: NBC

13 replies on “Community: Say Goodnight, Jeff”

I think the thing with the Dean is just that he is weird- remember the conspiracy episode, with him and his “time travel desk”?

Although I agree with missing season 1 Britta and Annie needing to be shown up a bit, I still love her as a character, mostly because I really identify with the over-acheiver who has a beak-down thing.

Do you think maybe it’s just the show being inconsistent? I honestly thought Jeff was going to swing right back after what Annie did. I was looking for a hearty competition that exposes some hidden truths about the characters. For a second there I thought they might sell me on the Annie/Jeff stuff by turning it into a “sexy” competition.

I thought Jeff’s run-away-crying thing was a little out of character too.

And I liked Britta too. She always called people out. Specifically Annie and Jeff. Now they just keep making her the butt of jokes.

It is boring. Annie is presented as an innocent so often that it gets to be unbelievable, and I don’t like that the writers are trying to write a “thing” between her and Jeff, or they keep recycling the same plot: Jeff doesn’t want to participate in something school-related and dorky, but then comes around when he sees some good morals in someone/something. I used to really like this show, but now I’m finding it predictable and boring, saved by the antics of Troy and Abed. I also feel annoyed that Shirley gets little screentime and Annie is treated with kid gloves. It was better when she and Britta were both antagonists for Jeff, and not potential love interests, despite Annie being way too young for him.

I also didn’t buy that Jeff would be 19 in 1997, he would be closer to thirty.

When the video runs, Jeff goes, in defense, “I was like 19!” So close in age to it, or maybe a little older and trying to make himself sound younger to justify it. I just assume older because Joel McHale is almost 40, so I assumed the character was close in that age too, so he’d be in his late twenties in 1997.

“It just seems so predictable that the strong female character gets pushed aside for the perfect little schoolgirl character.”

Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking. It’s as if fans didn’t like Britta or something. I liked her! Meanwhile the stereotypical schoolgirl who is hot, young, innocent, and naive (what men apparently love) is being coddled almost every episode. Lame. I love Annie the most when she breaks that facade and does mean or crazyish things. Doesn’t happen often anymore.

And I agree with Beatrice – there’s not enough Shirley either!

I don’t think the joke about the Dean was a dig at him crossdressing — there’s another episode where he’s dressed in a Furry suit. I think we’re just supposed to understand the guy is weird.

That said, they need to stop trying to make Jeff and Annie happen. It’s not going to happen!

Oh, that’s right. The Halloween episode, I think? Good point.

UGH. I know. It’s so boring! Annie is boring! She’s useless as a moral compass because Jeff’s morals are actually just fine, as proven in the last 25 episodes in which he does the right thing every time.

The dean has a dalmation fetish (at the tranny dance, season finale, he invites two people from craigslist), he was dressed as a bee a few weeks before in the drugs episode (but with his stinger in front–which troy wanted to do as well), for halloween he was dressed as Lady Gaga.

To be honest, they make all sorts of basic jokes that border on racist/sexist/homophobic/ableist/etc, that the dean should be the least of anyone’s worries.

However, I absolutely adore this show. This week was weak, last week was a bit weak as well. But I still find it worth it because when they really pull out all the stops the episodes are fantastic. Case in point: Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas, Epidemiology, Modern Warfare, Contemporary American Poultry, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and even last season’s Halloween episode (Abed as Batman, and the best line ever: “Pearce stop grinding on the women’s studies department!”).

I think the problem is they focus too much on Jeff (and annie/britta), and need to do more with Pearce and Shirley. I love Troy and Abed, but they rely on them to add the humor to the episodes that focus on the others, but the ensemble episodes are where it’s at.

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