Community: Jeff and Britta

Thanksgiving comes with a lot of strings attached. Sure there’s tons of delicious food, but you have to put up crazy family members, innapropriate jokes and awkward reunions. That was the case on last night’s Community. “Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations” focused on the difficult task of drunk uncles and estranged fathers.

The Players:

  • Director: Tristram Shapeero
  • Writer: Steve Basilone & Annie Mebane
  • Cast: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Alison Brie, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, Jim Rash

Episode Title: “Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations”

The study group heads to Shirley’s for a Bennett-filled Thanksgiving, which is so awkward they immediately begin plotting their escape. Meanwhile, Jeff heads to his estranged father William’s house (guest star James Brolin), whom he hasn’t seen since he was a child.

The Good:

  • Jeff Opens Up: Jeff’s character arc reached a high point. He finally came face-to-face with the man who abandoned him. This reunion was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. Brolin’s William was exactly what we expected him to be – cool, calm and collected. He and Jeff had great chemistry even when the conversations got awkward. Jeff shared how he felt about his father’s abandonment and none of it came off as melodramatic or fake. There was a lot of heart in Jeff’s honesty. Their encounter could’ve gone terribly wrong, but it was a success.
  • Community Finds Its Heart Again: The new staff has been struggling to get that special je ne sais quoi that old seasons possessed. “Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations” wasn’t as funny as “Alternative History of the German Invasion” but it had a lot of heart. It was sweet and emotional, and that’s something we’ve come to appreciate about this show.

Best Lines:

  • “These parent-child reunions can get intense. Chairs might be thrown, weaves might be pulled.” –Britta
  • “What is going on? Why is Thanksgiving so terrible?” –Troy
  • “I said Batman was gay.” –Troy
  • “You ask one lady if she’s Tyler Perry in drag and suddenly you’re the bad guy.” –Pierce

The So-So:

  • Prison Break/Shawshank Redemption Parody: The Study Group, minus Jeff and Britta, go to Shirley’s for Thanksgiving dinner. When they realize they’re having an awful time (because family gatherings can be that way), they decide to pull a Prison Break/Shawshank Redemption-type scheme to break out. The whole thing didn’t really pay off, but there were a few good moments. Abed does a neat Morgan Freeman impression, and also draws a map of Shirley’s house on his stomach à la Michael Scofield.


“Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations” showed that the new staff is trying their best to give fans what they want. Like we mentioned above, the parody didn’t really pay-off. The real success was in the emotion that was exhibited in the episode. What it lacked in jokes, it made up with heart and sincere affection.

Rating: 7/10

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

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What did you think of last night’s episode?