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Community “Basic Sandwich” Review (5×13)

17 Apr

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I’m sorry. The point is: this show, Annie, it isn’t just their show. This is our show. And it’s not over. And the sooner we find that treasure, the faster the Jeff/Britta pilot falls apart.”

This has always been a show about a community, as expected: a living, breathing group of friends whose school is an essential aspect of all their beings. “Basic Sandwich” emphasizes that fact nicely, serving as a sweet, funny ending to what is most likely the penultimate season of the show.

“Basic Sandwich” is certainly a satisfying end to the uneven fifth season. The concept behind it is a bit shaky, consisting of a trip to a computer lab underneath Greendale, complete with the creator of the school and his emotion-lacking computer. However, the actual interactions we get are effective: for example, Jeff, not so much specifically talking to Annie to reboot the computer, but rather, recalling all the times he’s shared with the rest of the study group (one thing that bothers me is that Shirley isn’t there at that point)…or, at least that’s my idealized read of the scene.

For, that’s what Greendale is, isn’t it? It’s a place with people who can’t be run by computers, who can’t be programmed to fall in love with each other solely for the sake of drama. By emphasizing Jeff and Britta’s engagement in “Basic Story”, Harmon’s able to relegate their arguing to the background in the finale. It’s a big deal, but it isn’t a big deal. It’s a major character turn, but perhaps it isn’t the right one. It may seem like they would both reap the benefits of the marriage, but it could also turn out to be a six-episode series with a whole lot of bickering. Sitcom characters normally spin off because for them, safety is the key. They’d like to change, but maybe they don’t have to. Maybe, as cliched as it sounds, what they’ve been looking for has been there all along.

“Basic Sandwich”, therefore, isn’t so much about change as it is about appreciation, as so many of the episodes over the course of the series are about; the nuance and the emotional resonance isn’t as present here, but the episode accomplishes what it set out to do. The last sequence of the half hour transforms into a meta commentary–more on the nose than usual–about the state of the show and the network, delivered by the one and only Abed Nadir. Although the guy usually breaks the fourth wall through a different mechanism, I’ll cut the show a little slack here because we’re nearing the end. After all, “Basic Sandwich” wants to comment on how characters act at the end of their runs, whether it be having to reboot a computer or dancing and celebrating to “Ants Marching”.

If that’s the last image of our characters, then so be it. At least we know they’re happy and together, and that Greendale was saved. Greendale’s worth saving.

GRADE: B+

SEASON GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-“What does this look like: an hour-long episode of The Office?”

-Chris Elliott’s really fantastic in his role.

-John Oliver’s great, as always.

-I really hope we can get Banks back for a few episodes next year; he’s fit in really well with the rest of the cast.

-Some characters get shafted in the finale, so I hope that’s remedied next year.

-Best episode this year? Easily “Cooperative Polygraphy”.

-I would watch all those spinoff shows. That is a perfect tag, what with “Intensive Karen”, “Celebrity Beat-Off”, etc.

-Of course, I’m writing under the assumption that there will be a sixth season! Of course there will be, or nothing will be right in the world (in reality, I’m expecting a renewal; NBC’s in a sorry state, and the show will probably squeak by for a final season). Thanks for reading along this year, guys. See ya in the summer, or fall, or winter…depends on what fails.

Photo credit: NBC, Community

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One Response to “Community “Basic Sandwich” Review (5×13)”

  1. ironhawk22 April 23, 2014 at 12:06 am #

    I haven’t seen the finale yet, but this season has been a bit weak to me. Not bad at all, there have been some great moments(everything with Jonathan Banks, also Brie Larson should be in everything), but I feel like the jokes have been just kind of repeating themselves. Without having seen the finale I’d probably give this season a B-, which is by no means bad, but I’m just a tad bit disappointed considering how promising the early episodes were.

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