Community “Cooperative Polygraphy” Review (5×04)

16 Jan

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????One of the greatest Community episodes ever created was “Cooperative Calligraphy”, a season 2 bottle episode that highlighted the show at its very best; it delivered the laughs and the brilliant character interactions we’d grown to love, and it was an absolute masterpiece.

“Cooperative Polygraphy” is no different. This is one of those episodes that highlights exactly how well the writers and the actors understand their characters and just how well crafted they are, and it still delivers a hilarious half hour of television. It’s a simple premise, but sometimes simple premises are the best outlets for genuine emotion, for brilliant character interactions and callbacks and a group of people sitting around a study room table. The characters dictate the direction of this episode, not the plot.

Considering the way Pierce’s character was handled at certain times while he was alive, the show could’ve easily done the same with his goodbye. However, this episode is a hell of a send-off, both for him and for Troy, and I love how each gift stays true to Pierce’s relationship with each character. It isn’t overly sappy; it’s raw emotion, and that’s what makes this episode so brilliant.

For, if we get down to it, Pierce Hawthorne is fundamentally a good guy. He’s been on shaky ground with the rest of the study group, but he may very well be the guy that understands these people the best. He understands that the secrets we keep can both help and harm others, and it doesn’t matter how minor it seems; each secret is significant because each person is significant. Who we are now and who we’ll be in the future is key; Pierce seems to be, from his grave, both closing a door on the past and paving a new future, and that future will not involve Troy.

I’m interested to see how the show sends Troy off next week, and one thing’s for certain: the set-up for the episode is fantastic. In a twenty minutes all about the relationships we share with our friends, so much so that they become a surrogate family, the Troy reveal at the end is devastating. Sure, the premise is a bit outlandish, but the reactions from everyone else are heartbreaking. Abed’s “Cool cool cool”, followed by the “That’s a lie”, is a one-two punch to the gut.

Of course, I like how it all still ties back to Pierce. In his reasoning, he’s speaking to the son he never had, the person who’ll accomplish all he couldn’t accomplish; it nicely hearkens back to Cornelius and the Hawthorne legacy. It’s just yet another subtle, beautiful touch in an absolute wonder of an episode.



-iPod Nano callback! That was absolutely fantastic. For those of you who don’t remember, the tag in “Art of Discourse” showed Britta as a “2014 iPod Nano owner”. I love how this show pays attention to continuity.

-Troy finally got to eat a ghost!

-Walton Goggins, man. Having him spend the episode reading Pierce’s words before letting loose in the tag was amazing. The way the show’s integrated Banks, and now Goggins, into the story has been great.

-I did want to see a bit more about Pierce and Jeff’s relationship; it’s a lot more complex than this episode suggested.

-“Maybe it’s because everyone else got one, and because it’s an old man’s semen, but I’m kinda disappointed.”.

-The yelling is great, too: SILENCE, WENCH and WE KNOW THAT, YOU JUDGMENTAL BITCH.

-“Stop giving The Grey 4 stars.” “But I like Liam Neeson!” “Then send him a message about the roles he chooses.”

-“I told him about my holding hands at Disneyland fantasy.”

-Chang, killing it as well. “I MASTURBATED EVERYWHERE!”

-“If I wanted the government in my uterus, I’d fill it with oil and Hispanic voters.”

-“It’s where Jesus gets his mail.”

-Shirley refers to everyone as “those people” when they’re not there and thinks they’re all going to Hell.

-I could probably go on and on; this is an insanely quotable episode, especially with all the confessions.

-I like “Childish Tycoon”. Nice nod to Glover there.

-This is easily a Top 10 episode of Community for me. Maybe even Top 5.

Photo credit: NBC, Community

One Response to “Community “Cooperative Polygraphy” Review (5×04)”

  1. Thom B January 19, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    Once again brilliant episode. Just when you think that an amazing episode from the past can’t be topped…..BLAMMO!!!!!!! One example is the slow deliberate unhurried way Chang take his apparatus off and calmly leaves, knowing what this act means, while everyone else is silent with no reaction. I thought episodes 1 and 2 were alright, but these two (ep 3 & 4) are outstanding.

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