Community thrives on defying sitcom conventions, but tonight’s episode was about as straightforward and sitcom-y as any I can remember. The group is split up pre-credits, as has been the case lately. Jeff, Hickey, and Shirley will clean out an old storage room, and Annie and Abed will have a “double date” night at their apartment with Annie’s awesomely weird brother and Abed’s girlfriend.
Things get interesting pretty fast for the trio cleaning out the storage room when they stumble upon a pile of mint condition textbooks. Hickey guesses that the each copy of Intro to Chemistry 3rd edition can fetch them $200 retail, $160 on the street. After a short moral dilemma Shirley is convinced to take part in the resale.
Meanwhile Annie and Abed decide that one of their dinner guests should also become their new roommate, with Annie pushing for her brother Anthony and Abed pushing for his girlfriend of one month (a year in Abed relationship time.) Ultimately the decision will be left up to the winner of a VCR game from 1993 that Rachel gave Abed as an anniversary gift called Pile of Bullets. The game features Vince Gilligan as the narrator, and the rules are extremely specific and difficult to understand. Annie and Abed are the only ones who take it seriously, and no one ever wins. Eventually Rachel storms out when she realizes Abed has been trying to get her to move in without her knowledge.
Back in the storage room, Britta is brought in to help offload the presumably stolen textbooks because she knows a buyer. Things go bad when Chang shows up and later Jeff decides he wants out. Eventually everyone is tied up but Shirley. This was well done, and keeping with what we learned last week about Shirley’s ability to manipulate whatever situation she’s in. She goes from pious to ruthless in a flash. Ultimately it is revealed that the textbooks are misprints, and thus worthless. The group learns the lesson that sometimes there is no lesson.
Anthony peaces out on Annie, and Abed apologizes to Rachel at her locker “in the rain” with the help of a watering can. And because he’s Abed he announces that it’s his third act apology. Annie and Abed realize that Troy has left a hole in their life, and I can’t help but agree. This was one of the first episodes where Donald Glover’s absence felt it really hampered the story.
Some other quick thoughts
- Anthony was so delightfully weird. Has Annie ever mentioned him before? Asking permission to poop seems like the best way to sum him up.
- The writers know exactly what I want out of Jonathan Banks and it is to make him exactly like Mike Ehrmantraut.
- The bumper at the end of the episode in which Vince Gilligan is talked into taking the Pile of Bullets role is a must-watch.
- Danny Pudi did a fascinating interview with Andy Greenwald from Grantland this week, I highly suggest giving it a listen.
- I don’t know if they are contractual reasons that Ken Jeong needs to be in every episode, but for me the less Chang, the better
- It looks like we’re going high-concept again next week with the return of Dungeons and Dragons
What did you all think of tonight’s episode? Do you prefer your Community obvious or meta? Let me know if there was anything I missed!