After the zaniness of the zombie episode, “Community” is returning back to normal… well, as normal as it ever gets. This time around, Abed is morphing into a mean girl while Troy and Pierce discover true happiness via bouncing. OK, so it isn’t really very normal at all; read on to find out what happened…
- Director: Tristam Shapeero
- Writer: Adam Countee
- Cast: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Allison Brie, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong
- Guest Star: Hillary Duff
Episode Title: “Aerodynamics of Gender”
As the episode opens, Jeff and Troy are playing basketball aggressively while Britta, Annie, and Shirley go to their women’s studies class; Abed decides that sounds like fun and tags along with the ladies, much to their chagrin. On the other side of campus, Troy and Jeff accidentally stumble on a hidden garden with a magical trampoline that puts them in a zen-like trance. Back in the real world, Abed is turning into a mean girl of his own; Britta, Annie, and Shirley start using him to make themselves into the rulers of the school, whereupon he turns his incisive comments on them. Meanwhile, Pierce starts getting more and more annoyed with Jeff and Troy’s inner peacefulness. Once again, craziness ensues!
- Abed the Mean Girl: Abed’s turn as a stereotypical “mean girl” was downright delightful. Danny Pudi has absolutely pitch-perfect delivery and timing, making each (excellent) zinger that much more fun to watch; his Robocop-esque heads-up-display made the concept one that only Abed could really pull off. Some great support work from Senor Chang in the “you just got burned” department livened up the role as well, but it also highlighted Abed’s great weakness: his inability to really connect with people, and his consequent willingness to go along with whatever crazy plan he thinks will help him get to know his friends better. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Abed is no one-joke meta-character, but rather an incredibly complicated, multi-layered role.
- Like Narnia but with Trampolines: This episode’s sideplot was as bizarre and surreal as it was hilarious, involving a trampoline that can send people to a higher plane of existence and the creepy man who took care of it. The real jokes, however, were not about how weird the situation was but rather the character interactions: Pierce turns into an Ahab-like monster, dogged in his pursuit of whatever fun thing Jeff and Troy aren’t letting him do, while the twist ending showed that the gardener wasn’t all that great either. The fact that – along with the previous zombie-themed episode – the supposedly-grounded-in-reality show seems to be veering off into fantasyland is a little worrying, but we’re OK with it if it’s consistently this good.
- What a Duffer: Look, let’s be honest here: Hillary Duff is not a very good actress. The reason that Mean Girls worked was because Lindsay Lohan managed to be both bitchy and believable, an original combination at the time; Hillary was basically just playing a copy of Lohan’s role, and not very well to boot. It’s not like we were expecting her to be amazing (and it isn’t like they could actually get Lohan, given all the drama she’s been going through), but it was a little disappointing considering how funny previous guest stars like Betty White and Jack Black were.
- “Why name your daughter Megan? Are you stocking up for a bitch shortage?”
- “What are you doing for lunch?” “It’s Wednesday, sometimes I eat in Jeff’s car. Don’t tell him.”
- “Who else saw you come in?” “If we say nobody, are you going to stab us with your bush-scissors?”
- “You’re right, we’ve never met. Like your hair and dandruff shampoo.”
- “Keep going about what? Her uneven bra padding? You look like you’re smuggling a lime and a coconut.”
- “Like Robocop?” “Exactly like Robocop. Cherise is a bad rowboat. Sink her.”
- “What’s with the boots? 2008 called to say that even in 2008, those were tacky.”
- “Tell me how to get this laid back or I’LL KILL YOUR FAMILIES!”
- “You need to check that attitude at the door, Abed.” “You need to check the door before you go through it, Shirley.”
An excellent, hilarious episode with witty dialogue and a healthy dose of the bizarre, not to mention some genuinely gripping character development. If Duff hadn’t been so utterly unmemorable, this week’s installment would have been pretty much perfect; as it is, it’s pretty darn good.
New episodes air Thursdays on NBC!