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Community “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” Review (5×03)

9 Jan

3-5Going the route of a concept episode after the brilliant, toned down character work of the premiere is certainly an interesting choice, and it results in a deeply flawed, yet highly watchable, 21 minutes.

The thing that separates “concept” from “gimmick” is character, and this episode walks a thin line between the two. On the one hand, the show does a nice job of paying homage to shows like Hannibal and directors like David Fincher, and the very idea of an Ass-Crack Bandit is hilarious. On the other, the character work falters a bit here; for one, although I do like the Jeff-Annie dynamic, their plot in Numismatics feels shoe-horned in. The waxing and waning of a relationship is realistic, but we’re past the point where I’m completely invested in their flirtation; now, I want to see them interacting like they did in the premiere. Jeff brings out a stronger spirit in Annie, and it’d be interesting to get down to who they are and why they’re friends, not to dance around a romance that should’ve either 1) happened a long time ago, or 2) not been over-teased as a reality.

The Pierce reveal is also a bit of a problem here; last week dealt brilliantly with his absence (in the form of a cameo), but it seems like his death in this episode is going the “emotionally manipulative” route rather than the “emotionally resonant” route. The stark contrast of the ending should be a gut punch, but it’s more of a tacked-on addition.

Then again, those problems don’t prevent this from being an enjoyable episode. In fact, the Dean might just be the MVP, delivering most of this episode’s comedy outside the periodic ass references. In particular, the bit where he tries to get a phone call traced is a hilarious spoof on countless other cop media. In addition, it’s nice to see Hickey continue to be smoothly integrated into the background, and it’s always nice to see Professor Duncan back at Greendale.

Ultimately, it’s an entertaining episode that becomes caught up in its own concept, and the character work falters as a result. However, the Ass-Crack Bandit is just so damn silly that it works.

GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS

-Next week’s episode is supposed to be a classic. I’m looking forward to it, especially to see how they deal with Pierce.

-Ben Folds makes an appearance.

-Annie picking up the keys with her foot is hilarious, and she’s adorable when Jeff decides to help her.

-I’ll admit, it took me a while to figure out what exactly this was paying homage to. In fact, it’s not a general or a specific premise; it’s in the middle somewhere, and me trying to figure out what the concept was probably hurt my opinion.

-Starburns and Dave Matthews. Fantastic.

-“Excuse me for living in the 90s, and having two ears connected to a heart!”

-I want more Duncan and Britta.

-Real Neil’s tribute to Pierce was nice.

-Unnecessary soccer joke.

-They say “butt” a lot in this episode.

Photo credit: NBC, Community

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2 Responses to “Community “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” Review (5×03)”

  1. ironhawk22 January 10, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    I haven’t seen the episode aside from the ending. I agree on the whole Pierce thing, I felt his departure was dealt with well in the premiere. Great review, I’m really excited with all the guest stars this season(specifically Jonathan Banks and Brie Larson).

  2. Thom B January 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

    This episode BLEW MY HEAD OFF. I think I know who the cafeteria worker at the end is. Her picture is also on the NBC promotional matter asking “Who is the Ass Crack Bandit?”. I believe the cafeteria worker is Sofie Grabol, the lead actress in the original Danish version of “The Killing”. It just fits. We have never seen this person before and she gets a close up of her face in the montage at the end. If it is Sofie Grabol then it makes this episode pure genius. Can anyone on the Internet PLEASE verify this for me? Thanks.

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