Oh man, Hunter is such a delightful little dork, and Barbie grudgingly accepting the annoying new buddy (after a few grab-n-shakes by the collar) like a stray dog putting up with a new stray puppy following him around is the best new dynamic. ("You're wound kinda tight." / "You talk too much.")
The second best dynamic is the bunch of foolhardy teens (I swear Melanie gets younger every episode) and their love for their role models/clear delight in shipping the Monarch/Consort. I especially liked the girls swooning over the romance in the email and Joe being all defensive about friendship rights. ("He's my friend too, I met him before any of you!" // Girls: lol boys r dumb)
Big Jim's storyline was super dull, but damn, Phil, you've become a stone cold SOB. I blame weed withdrawal.
I really loved Julia's last (for now) sighting of Barbie. It's just constant mortal peril/general danger with them, isn't it? No wonder they are like crack to my hyper-delighted brain. And of course, having watched the preview for next week (HEY LOOK WHO FOUND THE RED DOOR), all sense of patience is gone; I've looked up episode summaries through 2x11 and damn that is spoilery. But all in good ways, it looks like. I have finally reached the point where the ratio of "anger at Siberia being canceled" to "happiness that this show got a second season" is weighed in favor of the latter.
Since I last checked in with the Community tag [THREE MONTHS AGO??], I have watched the season 4 finale:
"Advanced Introduction to Finality"
For most of it, my brain was like "I have no idea what's going on, but I'm excited!" The reveal that it was all in Jeff's mind is a fact I'll be disregarding, as I prefer to think of The Darkest Timeline as a real entity with creatures who have found a way to crawl out of it. Because Evil Jeff/Evil Annie is a super-hot couple and infinitely more delightful than the real one. Actually, all the evil versions are kinda better than the real ones (except Britta). I howled with delight at every second of the paintball war between the study group and the Dark Doppelgangers, and also the closing tag.
And then the last three minutes closed with a nice little speech that was not quite as aww-inducing as last year's finale, but was totally workable as a series finale anyway. I like that they went with the theme of Jeff graduating early to explain the stupid short season. I see this show has become the new CSI: NY, though, forced to constantly prepare itself for possible execution after its last episode is in the can.
That said, I feel like I can safely say that season 4 was pretty shiny and happy to me, overall, and not noticeably lacking in quality in any way except brevity and the awkward/unmemorable attempt at Troy/Britta. And maybe that time they insisted on devoting an episode to Jeff and his dad.
And then, since boyfriend went ahead and bought season 5 on DVD (what a novel concept! I mean, it hasn't even been out for a year), we started watching it.
5x01, Repilot I did not like the premiere. Like, at all. I mean, I LOVED the opening commercial, but after that it was practically Moffat levels of "burn this house to the ground and start over," which is weird, since Harmon only had one year of squatters to clear out rather than actually taking over an established show for the first time. And yet, it was like, "Remember that happy sense of peace and hope we ended with last year? Well LOL J/K. Everyone has led sad and purposeless lives since they graduated and/or their lives are in shambles." Mainly I could not get past my irritation about blowing Shirley's marriage up and not even having her kids this time WTF (WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO YOUR CHARACTER. That's the kind of thing I would have expected from the season 4 overlords, who notably did not mess up as much in the entire season as the original order did in this episode).
Also, though I did like Holographic Pierce, I found myself just generally irritated by the saccharine tone of the ending. I just came off an awesome episode about Evil Jeff capping a season of Kevin the Lying Changnesiac; I do not think it is unreasonable to want a season about Jeff secretly being a two-timing double agent undermining his friends and then maybe coming around in the finale.
Or at the very least, I wish this entire season could be building to an epic lawsuit. I was actually having trouble following the plot of this episode because it changed course so many times, but according to the Wikia, it ended on a note of "Jeff finds the group in the parking lot about to burn the study table and tells them that if their lives are as crappy as they said, Greendale is a crappy place where they can get better. One by one, they decide they all have room to grow as people, and Greendale is the place to do it." And that is just HIGHLY BORING to me after being tantalized with the prospect of suing the school.
Fortunately, the next two episodes were much better.
5x02, Introduction to Teaching
The bad news is that I really dislike the actor playing Professor Hickey, and his gratingly slow way of speaking and single, slack-jawed, deadened expression is immediately enough to make me miss Pierce. What did Pierce even do to annoy me, really? (oh, right, the disgusting sexual references/crude language -- I'm only saying that because for a minute I legitimately forgot)
The good news is, I am enjoying Jeff's mostly disdainful approach to teaching, his continued feud with Leonard, and Annie's student/teacher rapport with Jeff. (I'm somewhat over that phase of my shipping life, but that would have been a really good way to reel me back in if I weren't)
Her freakout about minus grades and the immediate riot that ensued was GLORIOUS. Chris's favorite moment is Neil just immediately and decisively throwing the trash can over. Mine is the world' most primal scream of "POP, POP!" (is no one going to explain why all the same students are here? No one? Are we sure this season isn't being concocted in Jeff's mind as he debates whether or not to take the case against Greendale?)
The best news is the reason I was so excited to watch this episode -- Abed's Nicholas Cage impression. There's his tiny little break with sanity in the apartment as an appetizer, and then the full scale meltdown of terrifying accuracy that had us in stitches and which I may or may not have watched like five times. I'M A SEXY CAT.
Plus the dozens of little moments that remind me why I fell in love with Community for its legitimate ability to make me laugh: the Dean dressing Jeff up in graduation cap/oversized glasses/pipe, constant comments to learning Excel, Annie's teacher-mode lecture to Jeff, Annie's witness intimidation project (featuring a dead rat pinned to a board with a knife), the blackboard saying "Always Be Cageing," Shirley's "I don't know, if I was in 70 films over 30 years and spent each one talking at random volumes, I might accidentally win an Oscar," the Dean's sad internal French existentialist song, and ET TU, BRUTÉ?? Which is my very favorite line of all, particularly the fact that he says it again after yelling "AM I USING THAT RIGHT?" in the same tone.
Jeff winning a logic argument with Annie was also great -- even though her argument eerily mirrored all my angry feelings on professors who prioritized student-led classes over lectures ("Is that really the best use of our time? Seems like the value of having you here is--" / "I think my value as a teacher is to teach you how to learn." / "I think you're telling us we should teach ourselves." / "I don't think you're going to learn if you tell us how to think." / "I think if I you tell us what you think, then we'll learn that." / "I thought you should break into groups, but you failed to learn that, so your theory's invalid." / Everyone: LE GASP.)
On an unrelated note, that clay family logo for Harmonious Claptrap at the end really creeps me out every time I see it. That ain't right.
5x03, "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics"
And then there's the newest addition to my all time favorites:
I was immediately in love from the dark-n-spooky opening credits, because I will slavishly love every change-up this show does ever, and seeing it as a dark crime drama mixed with a touch of horror is just the best lens filter ever. And it just never stopped being jaw-droppingly amazing, so I've now watched it 3 times. Where do I even start?
-The scrapbook of awesome newspaper clippings with melodramatic titles.
-People screaming bloody murder as they get ~cracked~.
-Britta reading the letter from the dean's office
-The teddy bear lure (and finding the note inside - I liked the crime scene touch)
-Abed wrapping Troy in blankets and providing beverages in cups like in the movies.-
-All the background moments: the "not this crack" T-shirts, the guy in the cafeteria with a giant quarter...
-CHANG'S DISGUISE. Actual masterpiece. Also, "I think you just admitted to already owning a fake butt" in response to the dean claiming said disguise didn't cost anything.
-The dean impatiently snapping his fingers for eternity in lieu of using any words to say "trace the call" (also, "tracing the call" consisting of looking at the list of extensions to match what's on the caller ID)
-Troy's haunted expressions for the rest of the episode and sudden confinement to a wheelchair (best).
-The dean's "what is this, what is this creepy business?" re: Jeff/Annie and their subsequent conversations (I like Jeff's indignant "PLATONIC SHOULDER HOLDING" statement).
-The discovery of "Dave" lyrics. [true story, my first college roommate was exactly the type of DMB fan they're describing here, probably. Based on the giant poster over her desk and how often she played their music. We didn't actually talk enough for me to be sure.]
-"Excuse me for being alive in the 90s and having two ears connected to a heart."
-STARBURNS. And his eco-friendly cat wagon (HOW CUTE ARE THOSE CATS)
-Starbuns' impression of Dave Matthews and their one song that's all like, "Hee haw haw haw, hee haw haw." (accurate)
-THE DEAN AND HIS CONSPIRACY-FOSTERING
-Professor Duncan! "I used an older, British version of Facebook called Mugscroll."
-The super murdery/rapey vibe in his office. Probably intended to be the latter, with the theme of this episode, but either works.
-THE SONG. So catchy.
-The incredibly well shot last scene with Jeff and Annie. It is not often that the way a scene is set up makes me want to shout from the heavens, but that made me want to give out ALL THE EMMYS. Scoring, directing, whichever category lighting is in (it seemed like a post-production sort of editing), sound mixing...give them all here, because it invigorated my soul.
-The "updates" in the closing credits
And then out of nowhere, PIERCE IS DEAD. Which I feel like maybe was spoiled for me, in retrospect, but was totally surprising to me in the moment, so much so that if I didn't know Chevy had been written out, I wouldn't have believed it was true. I mean...who inserts that kind of tragedy in the middle of the most cracktastic dark episode ever? It's weird how I don't immediately feel like throwing a party and shooting off cap pistols like I did for a certain Grey's Anatomy character I'd been wanting to die just as long. I almost feel kind of somber about it. What a gross feeling.
Mostly, though, I'm really frustrated that we did not learn who the bandit was, or else I did not pick up on any clues that were supposed to tell me who it was*, AND I can't ask the internet because I don't want to be spoiled on anything else**.
*Chris suggested the ending montage might be meant to symbolize that it's all of them at different times. I thought it was just to show that everyone is still a suspect and torture us with how there will never be a way to know. I secretly still hope it's Shirley, satanically driving up her business while attempting to find some religious loophole that lets her get away with it on a non-sinful technicality.
**I tried ctrl+F on Wikipedia to see if the bandit was mentioned again on the season 5 page, and got zero hits. NOW I AM EVEN MORE DISTRAUGHT. SOMEBODY SEDATE ME!! And the sedative you should use is "telling me who the bandit is." Patent pending. Fan theories also accepted.
P.S. OH MY GOD THERE'S A FULL VERSION OF THE ASS CRACK BANDIT SONG. I need to buy it from any music service that is not iTunes immediately. I've listened to it like 15 times already.