As of Saturday, I am officially one episode away from finishing season 4 of Community and learned on the same day that as of season 5, it's canceled. So I'm a little sad about that, but between Glee ending/probably getting kicked out on its ass with a shortened season due to terrible ratings to boot, and my general weird new lack of ability to watch TV, I feel like my attachment to all other shows has significantly lessened so I'm not that surprised or sad.
That said, let's talk about a bunch of season 4 episodes, shall we?
Advanced Documentary Filmmaking, a/k/a The Search for the Truth Behind Changnesia: Enjoyable! I loved pretty much all of this, including Partner and Houlihan uncovering Kevin's origin story and Jeff's reluctance acceptance of the neurological disorder. Chris was like, "Awww." I was like, "I still don't believe him." Two seconds later, we proved that I am the better TV watcher.
Economics of Marine Biology, a/k/a The Whale, Gym Class Heroes (and Failures), Delta Cube, or Barbershop Duet: I didn't like the last storyline, but I did love every other aspect of this one. Abed randomly running through the background with his fake frat's chant was confusing and delightful. I loved the Dean bending over backwards to cater to the spoiled kid, whose every line and facial expression I loved. I liked Shirley kicking butt at P.E.E. and getting super competitive, excelling particularly well at the control and discipline aspect. I loved Magnitude being stripped of his catch phrase and filling 2 chalkboards with inferior attempts. BONUS HILARITY: "Get your damn hand off my Let's" + Britta's loyalty to Splingles.
Herstory of Dance: I thought Abed's chemistry with Coat Check Girl was surprisingly cute, though I also liked Annie's choice in dates so much that I mixed up the two faces in my memory. Not a super memorable one, but did enjoy Troy referencing "Awake," Britta taking her name verb back, and Pierce doing one of the like five tolerable things he's ever done on this show by helping her out. I didn't know who Sophie B. Hawkins was, but she's pretty and I recognize the songs. "As I Lay Me Down" is the FAR superior song choice between the two, I must say, and it's also a song I forgot existed. Happy to add it to my 90s Radio Nostalgia list.
Intro to Felt Surrogacy: THIS SESAME STREET REALNESS. (complete with big-name guest stars) That was so wacky and bizarre that even though its music was absolutely no Christmas episode spectacular, I fell utterly in love with it. Mostly because Sara Bareilles. No one told me she'd be there! Also, on rewatch, most of those songs are stupidly catchy. Even the one without lyrics at the end. I didn't even mind any of the secrets, except for maybe Annie's gross one. Slutty cheater!
Tiny moments I liked: Puppet Kevin saying "he's not what he seems!", Dean Pelton removing the tiny whip from Puppet Jeff's hand, Dean-occio (and Troy shutting his puppet's open mouth in response), rubberflubbing, Study Group Bingo, "Others!", random crazy moose puppet, psychotropic berries, "Treating me like Judas...judging me like Judy," and creepy puppet Jeff asking "who says you have to be...alone?" to the dean.
Into to Knots: Hahahaha, excellent Christmas episode! I loved the psychological mind games, how prepared Annie is to testify to sexual harrassment/attempted assault ("We could only assume you were coming after me. Or Britta. ...or Shirley, who I didn't mention earlier because she intimidates you sexually," Annie's claim that "a C IS a failing grade!" (so true), "grades don't matter outside of school? That's a lie they tell dumb people while they're fitting them for work boots," "poppy-poppy paper," (I need a gifset of that so I can send it to my mom), and the unraveling of Chang's claim that he tied up the professor when he doesn't actually know how to tie knots.
Also: Annie the Interior Design Goddess was almost more fun than Jackie turning Hyde's room into a pink and unicorn-y fantasy. And I need a gifset of Britta's claims that he probably failed them because, due to this phallo-centric world, he could tell that her part of the paper was written by a strong, independent -- "Would you excuse me, I've just seen an old friend." Because that is both how I hear 90% of misogyny/sexism accusations in pop culture analysis and also how I try to react to them.
BONUS: The dean coming in with a literal BASKET OF KITTENS (I need so many gifsets from this episode!), Chang making excellent evil phone calls, and then a super-sweet shot of The Darkest Timeline, full of what it turns out is amazing foreshadowing, which never even crossed my mind until I read the synopsis for the finale.
P.S. AM PRETTY SURE I HAVE THE SAME NECKLACE AS ANNIE, YES? Isn't it adorable? That's exactly the kind of necklace that makes me go "I wish I had something like that," only THIS TIME I DO.
WHO WORE IT BEST?
(There was going to be a poll, but last time I tried that it wiped out everything below the photos, so, never mind! I win by default! You can tell because of Annie's "bitch plz" expression and my expression of smug satisfaction.)
Basic Human Anatomy: Well, I enjoyed "Sorry, routine lightswitch check," Abed and Troy adopting each other's vocal inflections and mannerisms (super creepily well), de-throning Leonard as valedictorian -- I am really loving that Shirley's in the lead for that -- and the Dean being Jeff (also disturbingly well). It was kind of hard to care about Troy and Britta's relationship ending considering I never really noticed it in the first place.
Heroic Origins: This introduced a whole lotta backstory I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with (especially Abed's sad reason for being at Greendale intead of film school). The comic book aspect wasn't used as much as hoped, either -- so many unexplained images! But I did like 2008!Granny Annie and her interactions with Troy, the expression on his face after he lived up to his reputation and chucked paper at "that weird guy," An-her-chist Britta's wildly colored hair, "nobody bite - we agreed no biting," the City College Villain's creepy voice changer ("SKYMALL."), and "this better not awaken anything in me." I also enjoy studying the Crazy Quilt of Destiny that
But what the hell was that ending? (not the awesome spider blueprints, the one with Abed and Chang) MOST ANTI-CLIMATIC ENDING FOR CHANGNESIA EVER. And after a whole episode spent in unusually fine evil form, too.
Before we start I just want to take a moment and gush, yet again, about how much I love Bishop. Can I? She's just such a sweet, fresh breath of sunshiney air. I can't get over much more I like her than I liked Ziva, and how it's a whole different dynamic with her around, but a better dynamic. I mean, I can't say for certain that she's the reason nearly every episode in this list was great to watch, I'm just saying, I can almost count on one hand the number of dud episodes this show has had since she joined. Like I'm almost as excited for my first glimpse of her every week as I used to be when I'd go back to school on Monday and head to the class with my favorite teacher.
Crescent City: All right. Having seen part 2, I have revised my feelings about this is as a backdoor pilot to admit that I would probably watch such a spin-off were it to accidentally land in front of my eyeballs, or at least as much as I would watch Hawaii 5-0. Turns out King's a likable enough guy with his easygoing and laid-back manner (when not punching out suspects), and I LOVE the coroner; I want to see her all the time. Too bad their version of Abby is such an irritating son of a gun that I want to slice his jugular the next time I hear a musical note. Could single-handedly drive me away.
Also, King's supporting players are not nearly as much fun as him or the coroner. The guy has a great Louisiana drawl I quite like hearing, but his face and personality are beyond boring. And Lady Brody is someone I get the sense I'm supposed to like -- she's smart and capable, but not the sort of out-to-prove-myself tough that many women in crime shows are -- but that unfortunate haircut is rendering her almost as boring. I feel like both of them, particularly her, have the opportunity to overcome that handicap with time and exposure, so they're certainly MILES better than the boys who make NCIS: LA suck as much as it does, but neither has even a tenth of the charm that Deeks, Kensi or Nell do, so there's no strong draw, either.
Honestly, the biggest reason I'd want to watch is the location. I love New Orleans-themed things, and they gave us a great flavor of the city at every opportunity. It's honestly shocking how boring D.C. is as a backdrop by comparison. And I will maybe confess to liking the fledgling hints of team bonding we got to see, between breakfast and the final scene in part 2. I love the small-town-PD flavor of their approach to work. I definitely want to watch it more than I ever wanted to watch NCIS:LA when it was introduced. I just can't promise I'll step up and make time for it. Maybe I would if I didn't feel compelled to justify everything I watch with words...
11x20, Page Not Found: The reason I'm not part of the NCIS team is that if it were me, after the original warning Delilah got, I would have halted as soon as the CIA told me I was interfering with their investigation. I'd be like "oh okay sir. I do not wish to be jailed for treason by any means, so I'm stepping off so sorry bye." It was fun to see that unfold. Little sad about Overly Chipper and Nice CIA Guy. Why you gotta go and be worse than Trent Kort?
That said, I do not like Delilah nearly enough to support a long distance relationship over a breakup. What is McGee even doing? Presented with that option, I'd be like, "Sorry. Feel free to call me if you're back within a year, though." The only time I would agree to a significantly long distance is if it's for a set period, and I mean a maximum period of four years and preferably two. Taking a non-contract overseas job in the Middle East sounds extremely indefinite and open-ended. There just seems like way too much potential for one person's romantic feelings to fizzle out. Or maybe that's me begrudging their lack of chemistry again.
Alleged: In the real world, that case would have ended when they found out Tate's death was accidental and not directly related to that girl's rape case -- it is ridiculously unlikely that they were able to dredge up the evidence they needed to figure out who actually did it. That said, I'm glad they put a spotlight on military sexual assault cases. They seem like a bigger issue in the military as compared to regular society between the Boys Club aspect of it and the nebulous world of military criminal prosecution being separate from regular police and courts and far more subject to personal whim. I want to believe in a world where all victim advocates are as dogged as that woman was.
Shooter: Touchin' on ALL the activism causes this month, I see... No, just kidding. That was a great episode. Great introduction scene, gut-wrenching twist with Rowe being murdered by heroin overdose, and then wormed its way straight into my heart with the photo journalism of the homeless vets. I feel like I got to know Blue and we never even saw him outside of pictures. Plus, HOBO MCGEE (now with authentic smell!).
And in case aaaaaaall that wasn't enough, the side storyline of Abby worrying about his lost dog (which she regularly feeds, natch, and then proceeds to have all kinds of ridiculously adorable meet-and-greet-with-petting interactions) leading her to a homeless girl she eventually convinces to reunite with her family? So, so, so sweet. Oh! AND a bonus long Gibbs/Abby hug of support upon informing her that her pal Blue is dead. This is literally the Best Sweeps Ever. I can only remember like two sweeps seasons on this series, but I think that's an accurate statement.
The Admiral's Daughter: Ooh! That's the first Tony: Man of Action and Adventure episode I've enjoyed in a long time, not to mention the first in a long time that in media res has hugely upped my interest in watching the episode unfold, and the first time in a long time that I was shocked an episode was over already, because it moved so fast and was so interesting every step of the way. What's more fun than watching Tony running around all over France to catch/rescue a boozy party girl in her 20s? (the party bus was my favorite scene ever)
Well, maybe a dirty French cop fake flirting with Tony only to try and frame him for murder later. Or the boozy party girl turning out be a Secret Spy (which I actually guessed as soon as I heard "Amir"). Or everyone communicating in secret via a ridiculous but secretly awesome-looking app game. (if Symbolese is not based on a real thing, someone is missing out on a lot of cash). I also quite appreciated the dead guy's fake office and fake job setup. It is my new dream to be hired as a receptionist for a 1-man company that doesn't actually exist.
Favorite quote, as McGee complains about Tony's supposed internet security seminar gig overseas: "What do you get if you kick a dog, a trip to Hawaii?"
Tony: Death by Abby.
Lastly, awww for Pending Baby Autopsy Gremlin whose biological mother won't be snatching it away at the last second! I sincerely hope they have not been evidently fertile this whole time, though. Surely no one would be foolish enough to try and adopt a newborn American baby if they had the ability to create their own, right? You save those high demand/low supply options for the people who need them, and you adopt an older kid or scoop one up from another continent where the ratio is reversed.
Fatal: Fairly interesting, though suspect it would have been more interesting as a fan of Brian Baumgartner. The Greek mythology tie-in wasn't as fascinating as hoped, but what got my attention was the totally random yet methodical way in which victims were chosen and and dispatched. And the quirky twist that his life was actually saved by not going to Greece 20 years ago was the best. (although you'd think he would have heard about that somehow. Seems like it would have been on the news.)
Angels: Basic and frankly kinda boring setup, with about all I can take of hookers and madams getting slapped around, and then HOLY DAMN REWIND DID YOU JUST SHOOT REID WITH MORE THAN A FLESH WOUND. (Can it be a near-death experience? That involves Maeve? Pretty please?) And, okay, I knew that was coming thanks to the promo with the epic hair flip, but I forgot about that in the moment.
Also, Survivor: was pretty darn boring. I don't think I liked anything except them whipping the sandbags at the puzzle, the counting challenge (awww, Tash, you were so close), and Woo's demonstration of martial arts. Kass is back to getting on my nerves even as I am forcibly impressed by her crafty fox conniving to get to the end, and as much as I was glad for Spencer's immunity win, that made the ending extra sad as I wondered whether they might have targeted him over Tash had a an alliance member won immunity.
Now that my favorite is gone, I realize I am less invested in the winner overall. I still don't hate anyone who's left, but I'm not sure I love anyone either. Woo's probably my frontrunner at this point for personality, but it's not a strong enough advantage in the personality department over others that I think he deserves to win, either. So it's anybody's game. ...except Trish's. Trish has the real zero chance of winning the game.