Monday, February 7, 2011

A Web of Romantic Entanglements

Episode Commentary: Romantic Expressionism

Remember Vaughn (Eric Christian Olsen)? How can anyone forget the overly-sensitive, peaceful hippie Jeff (Joel McHale) so affectionately deems “micro-nipples?”

Looks like he’s taken more than a casual interest in Annie (Alison Brie) now and – as the study group’s self-proclaimed parents – Jeff and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) feel it’s time to put an end to this dangerous romance.

There’s another subtle dynamic at work here. Now that the flippant former lawyer has officially been snagged by Professor Slater (Lauren Stamile), he and Britta are finally beginning to develop a mutually affectionate rapport. After all, it was only after she saw the pair holding hands that Britta finally understood the latent feelings she holds for her eternal verbal jousting partner.

But Britta isn’t the only one to experience the sting of epiphanies that come too late. As a part of their nefarious plan, Jeff and Britta decide to open Troy’s (Donald Glover) eyes to Annie’s appeal, making him forget the nerd that once was and see the truly beautiful woman who bloomed.

Unfortunately, it backfired. Annie likes Vaughn now, but at least Britta’s going to have someone with whom to share her “if only” woes.

Meanwhile, Abed (Danny Pudi) has been hosting parties to honor truly horrific movies. Mix a few humorously jaded friends, a flick with a title like “Kick-Puncher” and possibly some mild alcoholic beverages, and you’ve got a recipe for a cynical riot.

Senor Chang (Ken Jeong) has been a regular, and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) is a welcome addition. Pierce (Chevy Chase), however, has seemingly mastered the art of awkwardly inviting himself along to hitherto exclusive events, but he has Greendale’s sketch comedy club writing jokes for him, so that makes it okay in his mind.

This all culminates in an all-out intervention, during which Abed proclaims that the group began as the Brady Bunch, but turned into the incestuous cast of “The Brady Bunch,” and Annie is allowed to date Vaughn – fine.

Overall, the season continues to increase its funny-gauge with each episode. While earlier installments in the season had three separate story arcs, “Community” seems to have settled on two, and it’s working well. It immediately takes care of the weaker plot within the episode and enables additional development for the ones it has.

It would be nice to see more of Abed again, though. On the other hand, it’s also fantastic that the others are receiving their much-needed development.

But we’ll see how all these romantic entanglements play out next week, when there’s a drunken phone call involved with Jeff and Britta in “Communication Studies.”