Community Series Blog: ‘Basic Story’ & ‘Basic Sandwich’

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Community Season 5 draws to a close with this two-parter that sees Greendale in a moment of jeopardy once again.

Jeff (Joel McHale) and the gang have done a damned good job at cleaning up and fixing the flaws of Greendale Community College. So much in fact that when Greendale is appraised as an asset rather than the expected liability, the school board decides to capitalise on the information by immediately selling the new and improved school to Subway, who intend on turning it into a ‘Sandwich University’.

With their school’s fate once more in the balance, the study group search desperately for a means to save it. Hope is found when Abed (Danny Pudi), Annie (Alison Brie), and Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) discover a treasure map that links with the long-lost founder of the school. Thus begins a quest to find this fortune and save Greendale from the clutches of the school board’s greed and Subway’s enterprising.

‘Basic Story’ stands as the better of the two-part finale, focusing on the realisation that Greendale is now a sort-of respectable Community College. It also offers the most in way of thought-provoking notions, namely through the proposed marriage of Jeff and Britta (Gillian Jacobs).

The two character’s relationship had seem to come off the boil in the past two years or so, but in the face of the demise of Greendale, both feel the need to come away from the school with something, anything worthy of note. It leaves one to ponder on what they have to show for endeavours that they have undertaken in their lives, and what exactly those rewards mean to them.

Unfortunately, much of what makes ‘Basic Story’ work is undermined in the finale, ‘Basic Sandwich.’ Jeff and Britta’s marriage is tossed aside in favour of recycling the love triangle of Jeff-Britta & Annie. While this feels inevitable, it is simply lazy and not a thread that feels worth exploring.

‘Basic Sandwich’ takes on a ‘Goonies’-vibe in its treasure hunting adventure, making much of the threat dissolve in to silliness that, while not un-welcome, leads to a slightly disappointing finale sapped of any tension for the fate of the school and its patrons.

As to what note this finale ends on, it is not one that does seem declare that this is the last year that we will spend at Greendale Community College. It almost seems to dare NBC to cancel it in the face of its incredibly self-aware final moments, which out Abed as a meta-super being more powerful than any of us could ever imagine.

While this finale may have left me under whelmed, it has in no way changed my opinion of the Season in its entirety. Season 5 had a hard task ahead of it; re-installing faith in a show that had lost its identity and charm. The fact that it managed to pull off such a feat in its first two episodes alone is impressive, but what is more commendable is that it managed to keep the momentum going. The heart kept surging and the quality kept coming. Community was back to itself far quicker than any of us expected, and proved to be better than any fifth season has any right to be.

Season Six looks more likely than not, and I for one welcome it with open arms. While this finale is perhaps the weakest of this season, it has left me wanting more. Season 5 has passed the year with grades far beyond its predicted level. The future is bright for Greendale once more, so why would we not want to come back? Six seasons and a movie, folks!

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