As you might recall, the small issue of who Shirley’s baby’s father is – and who’s going to be raising the kid, for that matter – is still very much on the table.  Well, this episode is raking those problems back up and, since it involves Chang, the rake is made out of pure, unfiltered crazy.  In this week’s installment you’ll find pipe-smokers, kidnappers, and war criminals; some of them are the same people.  Confused?  Intrigued?  Read on to find out the details!

The Players:

  • Director: Anthony Russo
  • Writer: Andy Bobrow
  • Cast: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Allison Brie, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong

Episode Title: “Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy”

When Shirley decides she wants more control over her as-yet unborn baby, she asks Jeff to try and get Chang to sign over his rights to parental authority.  However, Chang wants to be part of his (possible) child’s life, and he thinks that by getting a job and an apartment that that will become a reality – and since he’s currently crashing at Jeff’s place, Jeff is totally OK with this, much to Shirley’s chagrin.  Meanwhile, Britta seduces Abed and Troy’s friend against their wishes, only to find out that he’s a war criminal; unfortunately, no one will believe her.

The Good:

  • A Chang-ed Man: As always, Ken Jeong absolutely steals the show here.  There are nominally two Changs on display here, one a crying, saw-wielding mess while the other is a sophisticated, pipe-smoking father figure – but really, there’s only one Chang and there’s only ever been one Chang, and he’s unfortunately much more of the former than the latter.  Well, unfortunately for himself and the characters around him, but fortunately for us his misfortune makes for some funny TV.  The bit where he accidentally kidnaps two schoolkids, and his subsequent (forcible) incarceration, are absolutely hilarious.
  • Stroke of Luca: The B-plot, where it turns out Troy and Abed’s friend Luca is actually a Balkan war criminal, is perhaps the best part of this episode.  Most of that is due to the dynamite chemistry between Troy and Abed, but Britta gets her chance to shine as well.  Looks like the writers of Community have finally figured out what to do with her character: She’s someone who thinks she’s cool, even though she’s not.  It’s much firmer ground than the “she wants to be a do-gooder but maybe not” vibe they were trying to give her, and it produces some of the most wonderfully awkward lines in the show’s short but memorable history.

The Bad:

  • Running in Place: Mild spoilers ahead, be warned!  By the end of the episode, Chang is still crazy and sad, Jeff still has Chang as a roommate, and the issue of Shirley’s baby remains as confusing as ever – nothing has really changed.  We’re aware that life doesn’t always have easy resolutions, and this would be totally fine if they addressed in any way whatsoever.  Instead, the episode regurgitates some material covered in earlier episodes about how it’s important to accept people’s failings and pretends everything is resolved.  But everything is in fact extremely unresolved; we’re left with almost the exact same circumstances we had at the start of the episode.  It almost feels like Chang’s cartoonishness – which is the reason he’s such a funny character – makes it harder for the writers to show any real progress around the issues he’s involved in; hopefully, they find a way around that roadblock.
  • Hold On, Getting a Text: The post-credits scenes are usually pretty funny one-off gags or callbacks to earlier parts of the episode/series; unfortunately, this one was neither of those thigns.  It’s not that the joke – the group sitting around the table, each engrossed in their technological devices – was a particularly unfunny one, it’s just that it’s been made so many times before; in fact, the current Windows Phone ads follow essentially the same concept.  And robbed of creativity, it’s just a mildly boring scene of non-action, not a good way to close an episode (or anything else, for that matter.)

The Quotable:

  • “History’s greatest chump.  We’re talking about Joe Kennedy, right?”
  • “”It’s cool, if it’s mine, I’ll be a loveable uncle.  OK, a creepy uncle.  Final offer.”
  • “We wanted to get a sawed-off shotgun, but those are expensive as it is.”
  • “Can I get a ni-hao up in this beezy.”
  • “I love these guys.  They make funny with their mouths.”
  • “God bless you!” “Not lately.”
  • “I’ve been a father for 11 years, and a good one for 9 of those.”
  • “I worked at a maximum security prison for 16 years, and those are still the gayest things I’ve ever seen.”
  • “Our school motto is ‘Lower Your Standards.’”


While Chang, Britta, Troy, and Abed gave it their all, and there are certainly plenty of funny moments, the main plotline here is essentially pretty disappointing and fairly pointless.  A watch-and-forget episode.

Rating: 6/10

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