Introduction to Character Development

communThe third episode of NBC’s latest lovechild, “Community,” continues the thus far successful motif of Jeff’s (Joel McHale) ongoing quest for the slacker’s Holy Grail.

This week, in “Introduction to Film,” he seemingly finds it in a course taught by Professor Whitman (John Michael Higgins), an educator clearly too enamored with Robin Williams’ free-spirited zest in “Dead Poets Society.” Homework assignments include swimming in a lake and informing 10 people of your love.

And the students are Dane Cook fans, so how hard can it be?

“No tests,” he joyfully proclaims. “No papers. You want an A? Live in the moment.”

Sounds like the perfect carefree class, right? Surprisingly enough, even the blithe instructor can see through Jeff’s thinly-veiled crusade for an academic cakewalk.

Now Jeff has the rest of the week to “Carpe Diem,” or else he will receive an F for the semester.

What follows is an exercise in hilarity as Jeff cunningly plots and schemes to feign cheerful spontaneity, though Whitman curtly informs him that had he not already cried at that morning’s beautiful sunrise, he would have bawled at Jeff’s pathetic attempts to look vivacious.

And yet, the professor insists that this impulsiveness must be authentically felt – a natural, heartfelt response to touching stimuli – like climbing a tree after witnessing a kiss, apparently.

Meanwhile, Britta (Gillian Jacobs) discovers that Abed’s (Danny Puti) father (Iqbal Theba) is keeping him from following his directorial dreams by forbidding him to enroll in a film course, as it has no relation to the family business. Feeling charitable, she immediately forks over the dough and unwittingly makes herself his erstwhile caretaker, much to the chagrin of his falafel-funded father.

The episode’s plot culminates in Abed’s documentary – an art-form that he describes as being “like movies but with ugly people” – in which Jeff plays the role of his father and Britta, his mother.

Ultimately, despite several genuinely hilarious moments, this episode lacks the laugh-out-loud likeness of the previous two. In spite of that, it takes measured steps toward character development, especially from a romantic standpoint. Annie (Alison Brie) once again unintentionally hints toward a secret affection toward Troy (Donald Glover), who in turn struggles to overcome his incredibly girly sneeze with the help of Pierce (Chevy Chase), of all people.

Britta finally seems to notice Jeff’s better qualities and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) doesn’t do much of anything, unfortunately, as she’s shown to be a hitherto engaging character.

With an intriguing start so far and a brand-spankin’ new slot at eight-o’clock Eastern, starting next week, “Community” seems to be on a comedic roll.

About Olga Privman 132 Articles
I spent a good decade dabbling in creating metaphysically-inclined narrative fiction and a mercifully short stream of lackluster poetry. A seasoned connoisseur of college majors, I discovered journalism only recently through a mock review for my mock editor, though my respect for the field is hardly laughable. I eventually plan to teach philosophy at a university and write in my free time while traveling the world, scaling mountains and finding other, more creative ways to stimulate adrenaline. Travel journalism, incidentally, would be a dream profession. Potential employers? Feel free to ruthlessly steal me away from the site. I’ll put that overexposed Miss Brown to shame.

1 Comment

  1. Good review except that I disagree about there not being laugh out loud moments. I found just as many in this episode as I have the first two. My only problem is that they show them as promos during the week so they are only mildly funny when the episode actually airs. However after the suspenders didn’t go over and Jeff said “Shazbat” in the tone of Mork from Ork, I laughed so hard I cried.

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