Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and love is in the air in Greendale Community College; Abed and Troy are competing for the same girl, Britta is taking things too far yet again, and the rest of the group is up to their usual antics.  Read on to find out the details!

The Players:

Episode Title: “Early 21st Century Romanticism”

When Troy and Abed fall for the same girl, they both decide to ask her to the Valentine’s Dance so she can choose between them.  While they figure that out, Britta has become friends with a girl who she assumes is a lesbian, although the girl herself has other ideas.  On the side, Pierce is still addicted to painkillers and it’s starting to drastically affect his daily life.  And in the final subplot, Jeff decides to watch soccer with Professor Duncan but Chang brings a party to him.

The Good:

  • Kiss the Girl: Britta’s subplot sounds like it’s been ripped straight from an episode of Three’s Company: She becomes friends with a supposed lesbian, who is in turn only friends with her because she thinks Britta is a lesbian.  And while it could be a formulaic gag, the awkwardness is ratcheted up with finesse and aplomb.  While the kiss is probably what’s going to be most remembered about this episode (and there’s nothing wrong with that, really), the best part – in fact, the punchline – only occurs several minutes later, when Annie drives home the point that anyone will do anything if they feel pressured enough… and maybe if they secretly want to.
  • True Romance: Troy and Abed’s awkward-yet-adorable courtship of the cute librarian is continuously funny, occasionally touching, and pretty darn weird all the time.  Danny Pudi and Donald Glover are an excellent comedy duo, both playing off each other’s strengths, which in turn dooms the whole thing right from the start – no girl can break them up that team.  We’re willing to overlook the mild creepiness that implies, mostly because we’re too busy stuffing briefcases full of tacos.

The Bad:

  • Party Down: Usually, Jeff’s story arcs follow a predictable pattern, albeit one that is fairly reliable in delivering laughs and meaningful messages: He decides to do what he wants, morals be damned, but ends up learning something and reversing his position.  And while that happens here, it makes almost no sense whatsoever.  All that happens is a cool guy goes to a party, has a good time, and then for no real reason decides to tell his friends he loves them.  Chang tries to liven it up, but he can’t change how contrived and out-of-place the whole thing feels.
  • What a Pill: The writers of Community don’t really seem to be sure where they’re taking Pierce’s pill addiction; the “there’s a little man talking to me” bit was funny as a quick visual joke at the end of Aerodynamics of Gender, but as a running gag it falls flat.  This is mostly because Pierce doesn’t do anything – he mostly looks befuddled, and the only thing we have that even moderately resembles humor is a tiny Andy Dick.  They seem to be setting up for an episode centered around the problem, but it doesn’t make sense to add these frankly boring scenes to an already plot-heavy episode.

The Quotable:

  • “She holds the answers to all our questions, like ‘Will you marry me?’ and ‘Why are there still libraries?’”
  • “I want to be a book.  She could pick me up, flip through my pages, make sure no one drew weiners in me.”
  • “You’re going to have to open your heart some day, Jeff.” “What happens if I don’t?  I miss the heart-opening deadline?”
  • “He’s a baby boomer.  They invented drugs!” “They also invented TVs.  Have you seen him control one of those?”
  • “Pierce is our friend and the Barenaked Ladies are triple platinum.  Are you?”
  • “I’ve been forcing myself to be into soccer since 2004.”
  • “What are you doing here, Chang, and how do you know where I live?” “I can answer both of those questions by returning your driver’s license.”
  • “In England, everything means vagina.”
  • “Do huddled masses mistake me for the Statue of Liberty?”

Overall:

This week’s installment was muddled and over-plotted, and unfortunately they couldn’t give adequate time to any of their 4 subplots.  The result is uncoordinated and unfocused, but it does have some great jokes.  It’s not entirely without merit, but there’s only one part that will stick out in your mind – and even that depends on how much you value girls kissing girls.

Rating: 6/10

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