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Community “Repilot/Introduction to Teaching” Review (5×01/5×02)

2 Jan

NUP_157951_0694-550x366Guys, I need help reacting to something.

And what a great “something” it was. After a tumultuous fourth season, Community is back to being the show we’ve always loved. It’s always hard to clean something up once someone else has made a mess of it, but Harmon does it efficiently, hilariously, and brilliantly in these first two episodes.

“Repilot” is impressive because it not only is able to reference season 4, but it’s also able to strip these characters down to their bare bones. It unites the characters both physically and emotionally, and it’s a surprisingly dark opening to the season. Of course, there’s evidence of actual character growth. These are human beings who’ve endured similar types of problems, and this “Repilot” is now bringing them all full circle; yet, they’re wiser, more appreciative, and even sadder.

Obviously, any premiere has to navigate some tricky waters, and “Repilot” is no different. For one, the whole “Jeff returns to save Greendale” plot is entirely predictable and a bit contrived, but then again, the important thing is what we get at the end. Adding on to the episode’s problems, it could sometimes get lost in the shuffle of being a premiere, much less one after such a season as season 4 of Community. It has to juggle 50 different things at once, and that’s a hard task.

As for “Introduction to Teaching”, let me just say this: it is brilliant. It allows everyone to let loose and have fun, and it also seamlessly introduces Jonathan Banks’s Buzz Hickey; he’s a formidable presence in the show, and he gels with the rest of the cast immediately. You can see shades of Mike in there, and his face-off with Leonard is a sight to see.

Also, it’s nice to see Jeff just teaching; here, the show’s acknowledging what he does best, which is passing down his wisdom and showing off at the same time. However cliched it may sound, he’s speaking from the heart here, and that’s why people listen to him. Of course, it’s also a nice touch that the rioters don’t acquiesce to the Winger-ness of his final speech.

The second episode also gives us some fantastic Annie work and a hilarious Abed subplot, one in which he tries to find the essence of Nicholas Cage. In particular, his breakdown and subsequent Cage impression is a beautiful piece of physical acting by Danny Pudi.

All in all, while the premiere isn’t perfect, it’s as close a return to form as humanly possible, and I’m excited to see the rest of the season. Six seasons and a movie, folks.

Repilot GRADE: B

Introduction to Teaching GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-“MINUSES ARE MADE UP!”

-“The same reason I didn’t return Time Bandits to Blockbuster. Nobody else deserves it.”

-“If I was in 70 films over 30 years and I spent each one talking at random volumes, I might accidentally win an Oscar.”

-“It’s one duck, his name is Jim, and publishers are interested!”

-Dean’s thoughts are in French. Of course.

-“He’s the one making bad bridges, that’s like me blaming owls for how much I suck at analogies.” “I don’t believe in evil, but this school clearly got a finger up the butt as a child.” Oh, Britta.

-The directing seems a lot sharper as well.

-Chevy Chase’s cameo is really well done. I’m surprised he returned, but it’s a much better sendoff for his character.

-I can’t wait to see Banks and Goggins in the same scene.

-“Are we including the gas leak year?”

-Chang’s used nicely here as well. Also, thank God for no more Dean outfits or lazy Inspector Spacetime references.

-Rob Corddry’s great, but his character here isn’t all that great.

-I like how the final monologue is by Zach Braff.

-Season 4: I liked a few episodes, but as a whole, it was extremely disappointing. It obviously wasn’t as bad as everyone made it sound, but it’s understandable that we’d be pissed off about an entire season going up in smoke. Anyway, at least we have season 5 to look forward to.

Photo credit: NBC, Community

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One Response to “Community “Repilot/Introduction to Teaching” Review (5×01/5×02)”

  1. omarid513 January 2, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    Yeah, I actually enjoyed “Introduction to Teaching” a lot more than “Repilot” but still both good episodes and a welcome return to Community nonetheless. I was surprised about the Pierce moment, but maybe it was done before Chevy Chase left the show. Agreed about it being a better send-off instead of him just not appearing here at all.

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