It’s Abed’s birthday and (as you may have guessed) there’s a film theme in this week’s episode – namely, a Pulp Fiction-esque party.  There’s only one snag: Abed appears to have given up his former trivial pursuits altogether.  Read on to find out the details!

The Players:

  • Director: Richard Ayoade
  • Writer: Sona Panos
  • Cast: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Allison Brie, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong

Episode Title: “Critical Film Studies”

When Abed asks Jeff to meet him at a fancy restaurant for his birthday, Jeff decides to throw a surprise Pulp Fiction-themed party instead.  However, Abed is a completely changed man and doesn’t want to talk pop culture at all, forcing Jeff to have a real conversation with him.  While those two bond, the rest of the group dressed in costume and waiting impatiently in the diner Jeff picked out; Troy in particular really wants to know what Jeff’s present is.  As Jeff starts opening up, Troy starts breaking down.

The Good:

  • Royale with Cheese: Everyone’s Pulp Fiction costumes in this episode show excruciating attention to detail; Shirley is the most adorable Jules Winnfield ever, Pierce could only be the gimp, and it makes perfect sense that Jeff by Vincent Vega, the only role to require a suit and nothing else.  The suitcase gag is also pretty great, as is the montage of Pulp Fiction reenactions at the end.  Really, the only thing wrong here was that there wasn’t more.
  • Dine ‘n Dash: The post-credits scene was back to its usual excellent self in this episode; this time around, Troy and Abed realize that the bill is way more than they expected.  While that’s not exactly unexplored comedic territory, it still feels fresh partly thanks to the way the two play off each other and partly because Donald Glover reacting to things is the best part of this show.

The Bad:

  • My Dinner With Abed: Warning!  Spoilers ahead! In the end, this episode turns out to be a convoluted homage to the 1981 film My Dinner with Andre.  Here’s the thing about My Dinner with Andre: It’s not a very interesting movie, plot-wise.  It’s about two guys talking honestly about their lives, and… and nothing else, really.  That’s the whole thing.  This episode of Community is exactly that, except replace “talking honestly” with “telling a few awkward anecdotes” and throw in a little Pulp Fiction on the side.  As a result, it’s just boring, and it feels like an unnecessary level of meta-ness (even for a show as meta as Community) masquerading as deepness.  Frankly, we wish they’d just gone with the Pulp Fiction parody/homage they clearly wanted to do.

The Quotable:

  • “Abed was being weird.  And by that I mean he wasn’t being weird.”
  • “What, I have 3-D vision now?” “Yes, you do.”
  • “Pulp Fiction?  Yeah, I saw it on the airplane, it’s cute.  It’s a 30-minute film about a group of friends who like cheeseburgers, dancing, and the Bible.”
  • “I said hmmm.”
  • “You are a bad friend.” “I’LL KILL YOU!”
  • “I’m more of a fast-blinking, stoic, removed, uncomfortably self-aware type.”
  • “What market are you shopping at?!”


Not very exciting, funny, or memorable, this is an episode you can safely skip.

Rating: 4/10

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