Community “VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing” Review (5×09)

13 Mar

Community - Season 5

When Vince Gilligan shows up as a cheesy, western VCR host, you know you’re in for something hilarious. Watching the four try to figure out the game is already funny, but when Annie and Abed really get into it, spinning and shooting and moving their way through the ridiculousness, you have comedy gold.

I do like what it does with the Annie-Abed-Anthony-Rachel storyline; the show continues to explore the effects of Troy’s absence on Abed, and here, it does so by bringing Annie and her brother into the mix. The game serves as a framing device for both of their desires to prove something to themselves, seemingly using Anthony and Rachel as emotional crutches of sorts. Yet, I definitely like the way the two are portrayed here: Anthony is his sister’s polar opposite, and Rachel is able to draw the line with Abed in a way that very few can.

On the topic of Rachel–Brie Larson’s back!–I really like the way she handles the situation. She’s able to communicate her concerns and get through to him quicker than even Troy could, and she also fits in really nicely with Abed. I wouldn’t say Rachel’s a replacement for Troy, but rather a new perspective on the idea of emotional connection.

As for the Hickey-Jeff-Shirley storyline, it’s definitely a step down; it’s entertaining and fitting, given Gilligan’s involvement in the episode, but it seems a bit limited, repeating character beats we’ve already seen before. Nevertheless, I do enjoy what the episode does with Shirley, and Kevin Chang’s become a really fun presence.

All in all, this is a fun episode with some sublime guest stars–




-The Dean’s rap is perfect; Jim rash plays this perfectly, and his embarrassment afterward is comedy gold. This scene is nothing like other cliched rapping moments. “BARACK OBAMA IS SCARED OF ME.”

-Gilligan is really great in that tag, where he awkwardly acquiesces to Gina Gershon’s demands.

-“Are we sure this is a game and not some art film?”

-So, another reminder to watch Short Term 12. Brie Larson is gorgeous and heartbreaking in that, and it was one of my favorite movies last year. Watch it!


-Spencer Crittenden is really funny here as Anthony, and his delivery throughout is sublime.

-Rock, Paper, Scissors leads to 9 parallel universes.

-“I don’t know much about girlfriends, but I’m pretty sure you don’t have one anymore.”

-I have high expectations for next week. Bring it, show.

Photo credit: NBC, Community

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