Well, now that a new episode of Community has come and gone, and I’ve enjoyed it, I feel I am emotionally ready to move on from being apparently the only fan who didn’t like last week’s “Pillows vs. Blankets” showdown. The world has righted itself!
This episode, save a small nod to the “Troy becoming a A/C repairman” storyline, dealt mostly with how the members of the study group pair off with one another, romantically and otherwise. We open with Troy and Abed doing an extended version of their secret handshake. Soon after, it’s revealed that the carnival coming into town for the weekend is the very one that employs Britta’s ex-boyfriend, Blade. Britta’s been unable to get Blade out of her system, so she enlists Annie’s help by asking her to babysit both her and her phone for the weekend.
In a nice callback to (I believe) Season One, Jeff and Shirley share a love for gossip and judging other people, so Shirley accompanies Jeff to scope out Britta’s ex at the carnival. (Can anyone tell me who the guy playing Blade was, because he looked really familiar and it was killing me that I couldn’t place him?) Jeff’s not satisfied simply to see that Blade is less attractive than he is; he insists on playing the shooting game to really size him up. If you didn’t know that the logical conclusion of this was going to be several preposterously large stuffed animals, then you don’t know Jeff Winger.
They run into Chang and Pierce, who have made the decision to become best friends, and other than really enjoying their scenes together, I could only wonder why they hadn’t had the idea before. Chevy Chase and Ken Jeong often aren’t used to their full strength on this show (that’s right, I think Chevy had a point, guys), and in the several seconds of their creepy slow-motion laugh, they proved that they can really bring it with purely physical comedy. I was dying.
Meanwhile, after some tough love, Annie caves and gives Britta her phone back after having changed Blade’s phone number to her own in Britta’s phone. Therefore, all of Britta’s increasingly needy texts to Blade are read by Annie, Troy, and Abed (the latter of whom only reluctantly stops watching Blade long enough to even realize what’s going on around him). Annie doesn’t understand why her attempts to blow Britta off only make her more desperate, until Troy says it’s because Britta doesn’t like herself. He then sheepishly writes her an earnest, kind text as Blade.
Over at the carnival, Jeff is just as desperate as Britta to get through to Blade, but in his case, it’s his burning need to know what about Blade drives Britta crazy. Since he’s Jeff Winger, he is compelled to take his new information and present it to the group in the form of a moralizing speech about loving yourself. It’s only when the group sits down to finish Blade (the movie) that Britta suddenly (semi-abruptly, I thought) realizes not only that Troy wrote the nice text, but that he meant it.
The ending of the episode sheds some light on what came before it. I had thought that Jeff’s jealousy of Blade was all about latent feelings for Britta. In the end, though, it seemed like he really just needed to know how Blade was able to have such an effect on anyone; the fact that it was Britta just upped the ante a little bit. The Jeff-Annie smile at the end annoyed me a little bit, because it seemed to undermine the whole point about recognizing when your infatuation with someone else is unhealthy. It certainly hasn’t seemed to me like Jeff has made any major changes in how he feels about Annie.
As for the Troy/Britta storyline, it concluded as subtly as their entire dynamic has been unfolding for the show’s entire run. Unlike the extremely overt Jeff/Britta relationship of the first season, and the increasingly less-subtle Jeff and Annie connection, Troy and Britta as a potential couple has been the reward of more careful viewing. They’ve never made out, they’ve never taken a main storyline, and nothing about their attraction to one another has caused changes in the behavior of the other.
That’s what makes me think, despite the fact that I don’t have a lot invested in the idea of them as a couple yet, that Troy and Britta (Tritta? Broy?) have the best chance of working as a realistic couple. Neither one of them seems to want the other person to change who they are. It will be interesting to see where their relationship (if it goes anywhere) takes them, since a healthy, well-rounded couple doesn’t have a lot of comedy to it. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.