Turning 21 is an important event in anyone’s life, but it takes on special significance when you go out celebrating and can finally drink alcohol for the first time (well, legally at least.)  This week’s episode features a 21st birthday and, as you might expect from the title, most of it takes place in a bar – and while it does have to do with drinking and becoming a man, those two things are not necessarily related.  Read on to find out the details.

The Players:

Episode Title: “Mixology Certification”

When Troy finds out that he’s turning 21, the gang decides to celebrate by going to a bar.  The party goes less than spectacularly, as all the characters’ problems come out when they’re drunk: Britta and Jeff argue, Abed annoys a sci-fi nerd trying to pick him up, Shirley reveals a new side of herself that she doesn’t like, Annie acts like a cowgirl, and Pierce is too stubborn to ask for help.  Troy has to man up and be the mature one of the group while wacky hijinx goes on around him.

The Good:

  • You’re A Man Now: Troy’s gradual realization that being a man amounts to more than being able to (legally) drink and listening to everything Britta and Jeff say is handled extremely well, and represents a real character development for him.  Before this, Troy’s mostly been content with going along with whatever crazy thing Abed wants to do and leaving the grown-up decisions to the grownups, but when he’s forced to be the mature one he rises to the occasion.  It’s a testament to “Community” that this never feels contrived or overdone, just a real person becoming more self-confident.
  • Our Shirts Off to You: Then again, Troy hasn’t completely changed, as the usual “Troy and Abed post-credits scene” shows.  This time around, the dynamic duo are attempting to set the world’s record (apparently) for most shirts worn; the juxtaposition between this and the seriousness preceding it was a nice touch, and it’s good to know that just because Troy is a little manlier doesn’t mean he can’t have fun.
  • Shirley the Barfly: Even though it wasn’t really addressed fully, it was interesting to know that Shirley had a darker past as an alcoholic before she became a mega-Christian.  She’s been such a one-note character in the past and it’s about damn time she got more fleshed out – especially considering how rounded her fellow study buddies are.  Hopefully this will be explored further in future episodes.

The Bad:

  • Don’t Mess with Texas: Annie’s subplot, where she assumes the identity of a hard-living, fast-talking Texan girl, seemed like it was going somewhere but eventually just kind of petered out.  The upshot of the whole thing is that we learned (SPOILER ALERT) that Annie doesn’t like herself sometimes, which isn’t really much of a secret.  At all.
  • Bottled Beer: In many ways this was just as much of a bottle episode as Cooperative Calligraphy – the characters spent all the time either in the bar or in a car.  This wouldn’t have mattered as much if the jokes had been as sharp as they were in the aforementioned episode, but quite frankly they weren’t and it suffered as a result.  Look, it’s not rocket science: If the entire episode is going to be about people talking, make sure they’re saying funny stuff.

The Quotable:

  • “Pierce, you don’t remember that huge party we threw?  We have got to talk about those painkillers you’ve been taking.”
  • “I don’t need help.  I broke my legs, not my gender.”
  • “Everyone is 10 for two years.  Because 5th grade is really hard for ev… eryone… MOM, HOW MANY LIES HAVE I BEEN LIVING?”
  • “Yes.  I want to bathe in manhood.”
  • “We’re not going to Red Poet’s Society.”
  • “I don’t think this girl looks anything like me.” “She’s a white brunette.” “So’s Anne Hathaway!” “…Go on.”
  • “I don’t improvise my life like Caroline Decker, who probably has really bad credit and an unfinished mermaid tattoo.”
  • “See plastic menus seem like a great idea to me, for when you spill stuff on them and your mom says, ‘Hey, Troy, you’re ruining Fuddruckers for everyone.’”
  • “That woman is a hurricane.” “Yeah.”  “Hurricanes are bad, Troy.” “I know!”
  • “Alcohol makes people sad.  It’s like the Lifetime movie of beverages.”
  • “I pretended to be a different person tonight.” “Abed does that like three times a week.”
  • “They were making out.” “Why would you say that?” “Why would you do it in front of me?  I’m not a coatrack.”


If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll enjoy seeing the plentiful character development in this week’s installment.  If you’re not, there are still plenty of jokes to be found but you may want to try some of the earlier episodes, as this one does lack some of the witty banter that has become a staple of Community.

Rating: 7/10

New episodes air Thursdays on NBC!

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