Episode: Season 3, Episode 18 – Course Listing Unavailable
Aired: Thursday 8:00pm, June 28th 2012
*SPOILERS – THIS ARTICLE MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE AND PREVIOUS EPISODES OF COMMUNITY.*
Starburns has left a video will requesting Abed make a video tribute of his life, along with his ashes – which he asked to be burnt. Instead, Abed is keeping him on the Blu Ray shelf but Troy says that unless Starburns comes out and does celebrity impersonations when he rubs the urn, he wants it out of the apartment. The group argue about what they should do now that Starburns is dead and Britta offers her ‘services’ as a grief counsellor. Chang visits the Dean with requests for increased security, cool new uniforms, the power to enact martial law, indefinite detention, pepper spray, involuntary cavity searches and no soft serve (all liquids and gels must be in sealed bottles). The Dean tells Chang his requests are too extreme and sends him away. The Dean has to deliver more bad news to the study group and goes off to pick an outfit.
Who wants to dance?
Annie suggests they hold a memorial for Starburns. The Dean’s bad news is that Professor Kane quit due to Starburns’ death, Biology has been cancelled and they’ll have to make up the credit in the summer. The group suddenly feel grief over losing their summer. At the memorial, Jeff gets up to say that he’s gone through the five stages of grieving and has reached acceptance – acceptance that Greendale is a prison that they will never escape from, except through death. The Dean calls Annie up to speak next and rants about how Greendale has warped her like a Barbie in a microwave. Hoping that Shirley will calm everyone down, the Dean calls on her, but she starts complaining about how Greendale sold her sandwich shop idea.
Nervous, the Dean grants Chang his earlier requests, asking him to use restraint. The students revolt, trashing the cafeteria before Chang and his minions arrive in tiny riot gear. They start assaulting the students until everyone ends up in the sick bay. Subway has threatened to pull out of Greendale as a result of the riots and the school board is having a meeting to discuss the ringleaders of the mutiny, aka the Greendale Seven. Jeff apologises for wrecking the school like a TV commercial where the teacher banned skittles. The Dean tells them they’ll still need a fall guy and Pierce suggests Chang, the crazy man who commanded a bunch of preteens to spray poison on their faces. Chang’s minions run off to tell Chang about this.
Chang kidnaps the Dean and replaces him with the Moby lookalike (to be known as the Fean – Faux Dean – henceforth) from the Bar Mitzvah. At the board meeting, Chang arrives in a suit with a gift basket and convinces the board it’s all the Greendale Seven’s fault. The Fean passes through to say the study group have to go and the board decide to expel the group from Greendale Community College. Everyone wallows about the expulsion at the apartment. Annie says they should all drink because their lives can’t get doubly ruined and Abed considers that this might be the darkest timeline. However, Troy decides to lift everyone’s spirits, pointing out that they’re all alive and fine and together. They end happily eating pizza. In the tag, we see the tribute video that Abed made of Starburns.
Have to point out that Troy has the cutest smile ever!
Thoughts on the Episode
This episode just didn’t sit well with me. It felt awkward and even though I laughed a lot I felt really unresolved at the end, heightened by the fact that our group is essentially left in a weird kind of Limbo – we know they’ll get back to Greendale but they’re not there yet. Unlike dramas, sitcoms very rarely need a whole episode to set up something bigger to come, but I feel like that’s what this is. Without having seen the next few episodes, I’m going to say that no matter what comes next, I don’t think it was worth this episode.
I did like the fact that in their moments of emotional turmoil the group struck out at the place they knew would love them and forgive them no matter what, because honestly that’s what most people do. What didn’t work is the pacing. They spent so long with that riot scene that the second part of the episode, with their subsequent expulsion and meeting at the apartment, went way too quickly and didn’t feel natural at all.
I don’t know about anyone else but I really preferred Chang when he was insane but harmless, struggling unsuccessfully to be part of the group. He was a lot more endearing and funny. With the exception of the film noir episode – which still remains one of my favourite episodes to date – Chang’s character has steadily gone downhill as they introduced malice and ambition for control into his character. There was a time when the study group was his world and he didn’t want to rule it, he just wanted to be accepted into it. Now he’s hell bent on getting rid of the group altogether and ruling Greendale. I just can’t reconcile this image with the Chang we used to know and love.
The bits of the episode I loved: the Dean trying to choose an outfit to give his bad news to “Jeff and the group”; Troy trying to figure out how one armed the lawyer was; Starburns’ memorial made entirely of the green screen footage he left Abed; and the questions the group comes up with to ask Britta/Starburns (and Jeff’s face – see above pic).
My favourite quote for this episode:
Jeff: I know it’s sad but death is a natural part of life and by the time I finish this sentence a hundred people will have died in China.
Troy: Why did you stop talking?! I have to call my pen pal.
Let us know below what you thought of this episode of Community (but for those ahead overseas, please no spoilers).