Community Series Blog: App Development, VCR Maintenance, & Advanced Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

My apologies for being three weeks behind your favourite American sitcom, but as is always the way, certain things in life have to take priority from time to time. But fear not, I have returned with a triple review of the continuing Season 5 of Community.  

The first episode of this re-cap, ‘App Development and Condiments’, concerns Greendale Community College being chosen as the location to beta test a new social mobile app known as ‘Meow Meow Beenz’. The app allows students to rate each other out of 5 ‘Meow Meow Beenz’. Before long, the app causes a dystopian class divide amongst all the students, with Shirley leading the tyrannical way. Jeff, never one not to be popular, sets out to challenge the system by playing it at its own game.

an episode that is solid in its decency, if somewhat disposable.

It’s a messy episode but one which thrives on an utterly bonkers concept, with Joel McHale particularly revelling in the opportunity to play up Jeff’s egotistical way. The subplot involving Britta as a wannabe revolutionary with mustard on her face falls flat but otherwise it is an episode that is solid in its decency, if somewhat disposable.

VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing’ is another mixed bag of an episode, concerning two main plotlines. The first focuses on a battle between Annie and Abed to decide who their new roommate will be, Annie’s brother Anthony (Spencer Crittenden) or Rachel (the ever adorable Brie Larson), who aim to decide via a Old west VHS game (hosted by Vince Gilligan).

The second, less involving storyline focuses on Jeff, Shirley, Britta, and Hickey stumbling across a collection of valuable Chemistry textbooks, turning them against each other as they try to decide the best way to sell them.

This plotline is the closet yet that the show has come to acknowledging Jonathan Banks connection to Breaking Bad, but it feels weak and unnecessary.

The strongest storyline comes from focussing on the one that is more pivotal to the series, namely Annie and Abed trying to find a way to fill the void that Troy has left in their home-life. And the Vince Gilligan cameo is something quite wonderful.

The latest episode is a revisit to one of the concepts of a perhaps one of the best episodes of Community Season 2: Advanced Advanced Dungeon and Dragons’. The latter focuses on an attempt to reconcile the relationship between Hickey and his estranged son (guest star David Cross) through another game of Dungeons and Dragons.

It was never going to be as good as Fat Neil’s intervention, but the writer’s clearly know how best to reproduce a concept for an episode without making it feel like too much of a retread. The inclusion of the Dean into the game leads to some of the funniest moments of the episode, while the actual outcome of the game may not be quite what you’re expecting.

These three episodes, Dungeons and Dragons aside, do represent weaker moments of this Season, and perhaps also the weaker episodes of the show. But they still act as perfectly serviceable sitcom television, surging with the meta-humour that we’ve come to expect and love from Community.

The series is taking another break next week, so a new episode will not be available until two weeks time. But do watch this space, I promise to be more prompt next time!


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