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Recap: Community, Episode 3.2, “The Geography of Global Conflict”

Ah, there’s the Community I’ve come to know and love. I kind of wish this had been the season premiere but Dan Harmon won’t return my phone calls.

As we rejoin the study group in the second week of a new semester, the mini-theme of this episode seemed to be jealousy. While Britta was jealous of her anarchist friend getting tear-gassed and arrested, Annie was jealous of Other Annie for being as smart and ambitious as she.

This episode also marked the debut of Martin Starr (of Party Down fame) as the political science professor. Strangely, the Dean vs. Air Conditioning Repair Dean plot from last week was nowhere to be found, which makes me wonder how smoothly they are going to incorporate all these new characters. Still! Starr’s poli sci professor had the perfect amount of smarmy charm in the face of both Annies trying to impress him.

Our Annie and Other Annie are instant frenemies as soon as they both over-answer the same question in poli sci class. Not-quite-conniving-enough Annie tells Other Annie about her idea to start a Model UN at Greendale, which Other Annie promptly steals. Jeff seems even more offended by this injustice than Annie, and instigates a Model UN showdown.

It’s the world’s first-ever (and hopefully only) Model UN-off as both Annies’ teams battle each other to create peaceful resolution to “CRISIS ALERT!”s. Abed, predictably, gets fixated on the idea of two Model UNs. He asks if there are two Earths in separate universes, or if they’re the same Earth in two different dimensions. (Apparently, it’s the latter.) Abed ceases to be helpful as he points out that Earth 1 can’t ignore Earth 2 forever. When the gang starts to lose focus in a cloud of bad smells, Annie throws a tantrum and runs out of the room.

Meanwhile, Britta’s started off the semester confident in her new, studious direction (complete with highlighter, notebooks and backpack), but she instantly questions her new path when she feels she’s abandoned her anarchist roots.

Turns out Chang and Britta need each other: Britta needs to feel rebellious and Chang, as a newly-installed campus security officer, needs to feel like he has some authority. This was actually pitch-perfect: Britta’s attempt to knock over the trash can, the brick through Chang’s window, and the inexplicable Barbie suit all made me cackle out loud. Last year I was kind of annoyed by the cartoonish direction in which they seemed to be taking Britta’s character. But if we’re going to get performances like that out of her, then maybe I’m OK with it.

Anyway, we wrap up the episode with a heart-warming pep talk to Annie from Jeff, which was sweet except for the face that he tells Annie, who just threw a screaming kicking tantrum about wanting to be better than Other Annie, that she’s a smart, mature woman. I’ll point out this also isn’t Annie’s first tantrum (anyone remember the pen-related bottle episode from last season?). Anyway, Annie’s sweetness seems to make all of her negative qualities go down easier, so they wrap up their stunning Model UN victory (in which they treat with Earth 2) with a group hug.

Oh, and Britta got tased by Chang.

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