Community, there might be hope for you yet. Last night’s “Alternative History of the German Invasion” gave us the wit and humor of the Dan Harmon-era. The Germans from “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism” return to torment the study group to teach us a lesson on who’s really the bad guys of the show.

The Players:

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

Episode Title: “Alternative History of the German Invasion”

After losing out in registration for “The History of Ice Cream,” the group begins their European History class with Professor Noel Cornwallis (Malcolm McDowell). To make matters worse, they encounter those arrogant German students from last season, whom Jeff and Shirley faced over the foosball table. Meanwhile, much to Dean Pelton’s dismay, Chang returns to campus.

The Good:

  • A Feast of Jokes, Puns and Pop-Culture References: The study group has their own distinguished sense of humor. Jeff is the jerk; Annie’s the innocent silly girl; and Troy and Abed have their own pop-culture-based language. But for the first few episodes, everyone was off their game. The jokes felt awkward and unsure. Last night, there was a bevy of puns and quips. Jeff’s scenes with the Germans were hilarious because he took everything they said and turned it around. Troy was also on fire. At one point he mentioned he got his European history from Game of Thrones, and later realized he needed to learn more history to get the puns that were being said. The writing was fresh and funny. This episode felt very Community, like Harmon might’ve written it.
  • The Storylines: After taking a detour to Pierce’s House and the Inspector Spacetime convention, the group finally returned to Greendale. On their first day of History Class, their professor (Malcolm McDowell) assigns them to look at history as the vanquished, not the victors. After that, we begin to see the show from the other students’ perspectives. The Greendale 7 thought the Germans were bullying them, but in reality, they were the ones who always hogged the study room and alienated everyone else. Once they realized they were the “Nazis,” they decided to give back to the school.

Best Lines:

  • “If I wanted to know what happened in Europe a long time ago I’d watch Game of Thrones.” –Troy
  • “Someone must’ve changed the channel to USA ’cause I just watched a Burn Notice.” –Troy
  • “Everyone knows that if you give the Germans something small like the study room, or Austria, they end up wanting something big like Earth.” –Jeff
  • “That man saved my life… in a video game.” –Abed
  • “I don’t understand any of these puns. I think I need to learn history.” –Troy
  • “You’re asking for our papers? I thought this was America, not Arizona.” –Jeff
  • “Excuse me if I’m not willing to give up the place where we became a family.” –Jeff
  • “I promise you there’s nothing gross in this sausage.” –Britta
  • “We frown on anyone celebrating their own cultural heritage.” –Dean Pelton
  • “You take that back. I’m Jewish.” –Annie
  • “I hate to say it but this is what happens when a group of people blindly follow a charismatic golden-throated leader.” –Britta
  • “Are you actually comparing me to Hitler?” –Jeff

The So-So:

  • The Return Of Chang: Ken Jeong is a funny guy, but his character on Community has been run into the ground. We don’t trust him to be the silly, obnoxious guy he once was. He’s faking the Changnesia and secretly developing a maniacal plan to bring Greendale down…again. As fun as it was to see the Greendale 7 rescue the Dean, we don’t want a repeat. If Chang is back to stay, keep him on the sidelines and give us something new.
  • Not Enough Malcolm McDowell: McDowell is a fantastic actor with lots of versatility. He has a great sense of humor – have you seen Franklin & Bash? There wasn’t enough of him, and that’s a damn shame.

Overall:

“Alternative History of the German Invasion” proved one important thing – Community can be Community without Dan Harmon. The new writers have it in them to write Harmon-like material. The biggest difference might be that the jokes are fresher and broader. This might help the show gain a bigger audience (which is what NBC wants).

Rating: 8.5/10

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

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What did you think of last night’s episode?