There’s no doubt that “Community” is at its best and brightest when it’s parodying pop culture; this time around, they’re taking a stab at astronaut/space movies (think The Right Stuff and Apollo 13). The twist is that they’re not actually in space – if they were, this show would have jumped the shark straight into the stratosphere. Instead, they’re in a runaway space simulation…which also happens to be a KFC advertisement. Yeah, it’s a little complicated.

Check out the review…

The Players:

Episode Title: “Basic Rocket Science”

When Dean Pelton manages to acquire the 11 Herbs and Space Simulator (made by KFC for advertainment) because he wants to show up Greendale’s enemy City College, Jeff and the gang are forced to clean it as a punishment for making an obscene school flag. They immediately pile into the van-shaped simulator, whereupon Pierce manages to accidentally close the door behind them and start up the computer program – which turns out to be a problem, since he has extreme claustrophobia.  To make things worse, the simulator suddenly starts getting towed away, leaving Greendale without anything to show off.

Abed (who missed going with the rest of them because he went to put on a space suit) has to talk them through the simulation so they can get their window open and figure out where they are. Annie reveals that she was the one who called in the tow truck in order to gain admission to City College, and Jeff reveals that he told Pelton they made the flag, and they finally all work together to get the van turned around in time for the ceremony.

The Good:

  • The Fear of Enclosed Spaces: Chevy Chase really has a knack for physical comedy, and when you couple that with the slightly-nuts (or in this case, completely bonkers) persona of Pierce Hawthorne, magic happens. Pretty much everything he does in this episode is hilarious, from his surreal dream sequence with an evil, digital Colonel Sanders (think HAL but with a southern accent) to his attempted strangulation of Troy to his Silence of the Lambs-esque imprisonment.
  • SPACE SHIPS!: It’s about damn time “Community” did something truly awesome with Troy and Abed’s post-credit sequence. This time, we get a dramatic, Star Wars-y space fight – in cardboard starfighters. The cheesiness evokes tons of classic B-movies, and the “I’m on your six” phrase that crops up more than any other in the genre gets an excellent lampooning.
  • Trapped in the Closet: Dean Pelton is a severely underused character in this series, perhaps because he’s pretty much a one-note routine – his shtick is that he’s possibly gay, and definitely, uh, “interested.” Still, when he gets screen time he usually steals the show, and he’s given plenty of it in this episode. The highlight is his map with carefully-circled – and more disturbingly, carefully rated – bathrooms and trucker stops. If it were anyone else, that would be incredibly creepy, but with Pelton… well, it’s still incredibly creepy. But also very, very funny.

The Bad:

  • Now You KFC Them, Now You Don’t: Ad placement is ad placement, no matter how sly and meta you try to be about it; while the KFC-mobile provided some good running gags (see: Colonel HALders), it was hard to shake the feeling that we were watching a 30-minute-long commercial. Senor Chang’s use of another KFC product just exacerbated the whole thing instead of lamp shading it.

The Quotable:

  • “How do you know it was us? We submitted it anonymously. Whoops.”
  • “It’s hard to believe I’m not really not really in space.”
  • “We’re 40 light-years from the Buttermilk Nebula, but it’s possible…yeah, it’s just a sticker.”
  • “Pierce has got space madness or he’s just old or something.”
  • “I’m not buying it. Yeah, let’s kill her.”
  • “Here. Right next to the truck stop with three thumbs. …those aren’t thumbs.”
  • “There is a time and a place for subtlety, and that time was before Scary Movie.”
  • “Come on, you family-sized bucket of bolts.”


A hilarious episode with good focus and spot-on parodies, “Basic Rocket Science” is definitely the best episode of “Community” this season. If you’re OK with blatant advertisement, this is a must-watch.

Rating: 9/10

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