So, you know when Harmon’s absence hurts the most? Argh, when the show goes to Inspectacon and they get 6 – 6!! – as a guest star, and this is what they do with it. Sigh. Better written, the layers of watching Tricia Helfer go fanboy on Jeff could have been perfect. But the new regime did just what the American version of Inspector SpaceTime did with Luke Perry and Jenny Garth – rely so heavily on their guest star power that they can’t bother writing a good story to go with it. Once upon a time, a move like that would have even had its meta, meta qualities…but this one just fell flat. Couldn’t they at least have put her in a red dress??
And while we’re at it, did anyone else find the opener strange? We’ve done the “Gillian Jacobs is hot” routine before (perhaps most notably in the oil wrestle with Annie in The Psychology of Letting Go) – but it’s always been in service of a larger joke that’s mocking everyone’s desire to objectify her in that way. The underwear romp across the fire escape felt flimsy (with an ass shot that bordered on obscene – I couldn’t help but recall Tina Fey’s assertion that we can only say there’s fair equity between male and female comics when the men don’t require full waxing to pull off their jokes). It objectified her only for the cheap laugh at the act itself…not at our desire to see it. I felt like I may as well have been watching Two and a Half Men.
Speaking of the absent meta-levels – I’m so pleased to know that the Dr. Who references have always been about the alien needing to be humanized by a sidekick. Thanks new Abed. Oh, and what’s that? Pierce’s insistence on his own agenda has the potential to ruin a “smart, complicated” show that doesn’t talk down to its audience? You don’t say (is my sarcasm coming through here, friends?).
I’m gonna watch to the end out of loyalty, not pleasure…otherwise I’d give my final words to this show right now:
You’re on your own, Al Capone –
Ugh, what is there to say? I agree that this episode was a missed opportunity to revel in Inspectacon, especially with the guest spot from 6.
I was thrown by what I think were the first straightforward references to Abed being non-neurotypical, especially because they came from an outsider, Toby. The show has hinted that Abed may have Asperger’s syndrome, which I think is welcome among those interested in neurodiversity, since he’s a smart, fun, interesting character. In contrast, Toby was a liar who was out to sabotage Abed’s friendship with Troy and steal Abed away to London. For the first real naming of Abed’s non-neurotypicality to be made by Toby and to put him in Toby’s company was a less welcome depiction. Granted, Abed’s Winger speech made it clear that he and Toby see the world, including more emotion-oriented people, quite differently. If the moral of that story was that some non-neurotypical people are jerks, just like some neurotypical people are jerks, I guess that’s ok.
The Annie-Jeff storyline felt silly. Are we really supposed to root for those two to get together? I wanted Annie to enjoy her first adult vacation by charging room service and spa services to Jeff’s credit card, not by feigning the married life she seems to associate with adulthood. Her behavior felt like an emotional regression.
So this episode gave us a blonde with legs (and a fire escape instead of a tennis racket) and, for the second week in a row, Jeff’s abs. But no laughs. Put me in a focus group, and I’ll tell you it’s fine for these characters to keep their clothes on; I’d rather laugh.
Erinn & Natalie,
So, the first two episodes were decidedly mixed, but this was a show I simply do not recognize. As you’ve said, Natalie, in the opening scene alone, we had Gillian Jacobs objectified more than she or Allison Brie have been in Community’s entire run combined; btw, having recently rewatched that episode, it’s interesting that the oil-wrestling was more implied than shown – the focus is on the pervy male bystanders, not Britta and Annie. Well, congratulations, friends, because nu-Community just made us the pervy bystanders.
So let’s round up the other storylines: Tricia Helfer – yep, completely wasted. It’s too bad, because the beginning of her speech about the philosophy of Inspector Spacetime sounded genuinely insightful. Pierce and Shirley – *shrug* (although to be fair, those two characters have always been the recipient of the least interesting plots). The love triangle between Troy, Abed, and Britta could have been vaguely compelling, had we not been in the same exact territory a season ago, when Troy and Abed’s friendship already went through an infinitely more nuanced and resonant trial in the blanket fort episodes.
So that brings me to Annie. I’m not a talker during tv shows (unlike some *cough* Natalie *cough* friends I have), but I was literally yelling “what the hell is going on?” at my tv during the scenes in the hotel room. Not only was the whole “dreaming up a husband” story utterly random, without the faintest attempt at characterization, it wasn’t amusing, and it had no payoff whatsoever (ok, I did like the way she said “appletini,” but that would have been better as a freebie). You’re right, Erinn, Annie is regressing – in fact, everyone on this show is. Troy is infantile. Britta had nothing to do but smile tolerantly at her nerd boyfriend. Jeff is somehow the season 1 womanizer, but concludes the episode with a heartwarming “let’s stay” because the episode needed to “winger it” with a band-aid of emotional resolution.
Wow, I hated this episode. I hated it.
Oh, and still not funny at all.