The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Getting high and feeling down

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Hi –

I thought this episode was a lot of fun, but to my own surprise, I found the puppets to be pretty forgettable. I imagine that down the road I’ll remember that there was a puppet episode, and I’ll probably remember the general plot—study group adventure leads to drug-induced confessions and collective embarrassment—but retain nothing about the puppets themselves. Indeed, I already can’t recall anything especially interesting or funny about the puppets. Maybe that speaks to the point of puppet therapy though—it’s not really about the puppets. The puppets are just a tool that lets the characters convey their feelings more clearly. (Side note: I enjoyed Britta’s contribution that psychology began using puppets after seeing them used on Law & Order).

The characters’ feelings did make an impression on me, beginning with their silent, nervous glances at one another before the opening credits. They looked so guilty that I figured the story would be about something terrible they had done together. That was only sort of the case, as we found out they were each (except Abed) worried about what they had done or left undone prior to the trip and confessed to one another while high on psychotropic berries. Their self-centeredness felt true to life, as each was convinced that all the others were looking at her/him with disdain after hearing her/his secret. In fact, the berries had intensified their self-centeredness and prevented them from hearing each other’s secrets.

The relief they displayed upon learning that their secrets were still safe also rang true. It’s actually good news to not be the center of the universe! But poor Shirley has repeated her secret, via puppet, to drug-free ears and so cannot share the relief. Her secret was an ugly even if understandable one, so thank goodness the gang shifted their concern to her and retold their own secrets. Their shortcomings struck me as both awful and not that bad. Rather than any one character’s secret being outweighed by another’s, I think they all felt less terrible in the context of sharing for the good of another and the presupposition of acceptance. I also think the seriousness of the secrets and their relevance to what each character most wants or doesn’t want to be (Britta the activist, Shirley the mother, Annie the achiever, etc.) made the puppets and singing feel not too shiny and happy.

Finally, I liked that this episode involved all of the characters in one storyline. Those tend to be my favorite, and it was good to have this one (presumably) last time before Peirce moves on.

Be careful what you eat in the woods-

ES

——————————————–

Hey E,

I’m afraid I wasn’t as much as a fan as you were of this episode, but I can’t quite put my finger on why. The puppets offered a creative new medium (and I did love that there were two versions: the Dean’s, and then the full-on muppet versions for telling the actual story in the woods). The songs were catchy. There were a number of good laughs (is it just me, or is Troy getting most of the laughs these days? And if that’s the case, it seems the new Community does better with innocent, kinda dumb humour than any other kind). But I guess, in the end, I didn’t think the secrets were all that good of a payoff for the shame they supposedly induced.

I feel like we’ve actually seen Jeff do his secret (or something like it). I can see how Annie’s and Shirley’s would inspire some sort of shame, but the secrets didn’t reveal anything new about their character (we know Shirley is scared she’s a bad mother who will get cheated on; we know Annie is obsessed with grades and has a tendency toward self-sexualization). Pierce has admitted a number of times that he’s exaggerated his Eartha Kitt stories (although the dry humping line was quite funny!). And Troy’s secret seemed more along the lines of the kinds of antics he was wishing for last episode than an actual shame-inducing secret.

Perhaps I’m just pissy because Abed didn’t have a secret – already feeling somewhat let down by the lack of creativity with the others, when it was then revealed Abed didn’t even have one, I felt less like it was because he doesn’t have secrets (the puppet’s, “My father is witholding” was actually a nice touch!), and more because the writers couldn’t come up with something good enough.

But then, given that the arc depended on the secrets’ reveal, and none of the secrets was really all that satisfying…I wouldn’t say any of them were all that worthy of the narrative build.

But maybe I just miss my old show…
Natalie

Written by emstaley

April 12, 2013 at 1:24 pm

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