Once again, Community took place outside of Greendale. There was no Dean Pelton, and no Leonard. Instead, we got some guest appearances by Matt Lucas and Tricia Helfer, who played fans of Inspector Spacetime. In “Conventions of Space and Time,” Lucas and Helfer meet members of the study group during a less-than-great sci-fi event.

The Players:

  • Director: Steven Tsuchida
  • Writer: Maggie Bandur
  • Cast: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Alison Brie, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, Jim Rash

Episode Title: “Conventions of Space and Time”

In support of Troy and Abed, the study group heads to InspecTiCon– the annual Inspector Spacetime Convention. Trouble begins when the group meets Abed’s  ”pen pal,” Toby Davies (Matt Lucas), whose shared passion for Inspector Spacetime comes between Abed and Troy. Meanwhile, Annie leaves the floor to enjoy the luxuries of the hotel, while Jeff relaxes at the bar with Lauren (Tricia Helfer), a huge Inspector Spacetime fan.

The Good:

  • Annie’s Outrage: Annie is back to obsessing over Jeff. She’s daydreaming that he’s her husband. In one hilarious scene, Annie catches Jeff flirting with Lauren and makes a scene. She throws two scotches at his face, and calls him out in front of everyone. The slapstick comedy, at that precise moment was excellent.
  • The Inside Jokes: Pierce and Shirley go to the convention, but spend all of their time in a focus group. Their minor storyline was aimed at Community fans. At one point, Shirley says she’s friends with people who are “huge” fans of Inspector Spacetime (she’s obviously referring to Community), who like shows that are “smart, complicated” and don’t alienate the viewer. Later, when Pierce shows Abed an episode of the “new and improved” show, he hates it. Are the new showrunners trying to tell us they’re aware the new episodes aren’t going so well?

Best Lines:

  • “I’m getting sick of people assuming that I have nothing to offer.” –Pierce
  • “I am friends with huge Inspector Spacetime fans, and I think what they like about the show is that it’s smart, complicated and doesn’t talk down to its audience.” –Shirley
  • “Bow before Thoraxis!” –Jeff

The Bad:

  • Setting: It’s fine to explore the world outside of Greendale every now and then, but this show is called Community for a reason. Things are suppose to happen at school, not at conventions and playboy-type mansions. Bring the show back to its roots!
  • Lack of Comedy: There were a few funny moments in last night’s episode, but overall, it felt bland and empty. It wasn’t memorable and nothing special happened. It’s unfortunate because in real life conventions are so much fun.
  • Troy And Britta: The opening scene with Troy and Britta was kind of funny. We especially liked how fast she went out that window, but is anyone feeling the chemistry between these two? They make better friends than lovers.

Overall:

The episode felt like a music video with no music. Like a cake with no frosting. A bubble bath with no bubbles. Something’s obviously missing from this show. We can’t put our finger on what it is (though it’s probably the comedy, or lack of). It’s playing it safe, and we’re afraid it might never return to its crazy, creative ways.

Rating: 5/10

Community airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Photo Gallery:

What did you think of last night’s episode?