Quick Take: Community, "Contemporary Impressionists"
"Hot. Hot hot hot." – Evil Abed
Review: Community, "Contemporary Impressionists"
(S0312) So, it's Round Two of NBC mixing up the production codes and airing Community out of order, and therefore the first day after Christmas break. The new semester isn't all that new though: Pierce is old, Abed is weird, Annie is cute, Shirley is motherly, Troy is the man, Britta's the worst, and Jeff is... humbled and on anti-anxiety meds?
I'm going to let you in on a little secret: there's only one thing wrong with Community, and Abed said it perfectly last week: "There are so many layers – it's almost too conceptual to follow... but I love it." For every episode released, every viewing of Community becomes all the richer as it builds upon its subtle self-referencing, inside jokes, and running gags. And as much as I enjoyed last week's return, complete with wedding and de-whimsification, NBC would have been better off airing the show in its intended order to keep the show's layers more... layered and less of a collapsed casserole.
Jeff's emotional meltdown at the wedding is given more substance following his post-break breakdown. After changing therapists and taking his prescribed anti-anxiety medication, Jeff has put a muzzle on his ego, and in turn, his stress. He's so in control that it's out of control, and new psych-major Britta is concerned, both as a friend and a potential therapist.
But Abed is making a case for his own case for Britta to study, as he's developed a habit of hiring celebrity impressionists to keep reality at bay. Troy is solely supportive of Abed's choice to do whatever he wants, but Abed's increasing debt to a French Stewart impersonator (guest-star French Stewart) lands the entire study-group at a bar mitzvah to make up the deficit.
The bar mitzvah costumes this week more than make up for the atypical Halloween episode: Abed as Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies, Annie as Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, Shirley as Oprah, Troy and Britta as two eras of Michael Jackson, Pierce struggling to be recognized as Burt Reynolds over a fat Marlon Brando – and of course, Jeff (Joel McHale) might as well be Ryan Seacrest's doppelganger, except he's way handsomer, and he knows it.
Also attending the bar mitzvah is Chang, whose taste for power is leading to the inevitable dictatorship glimpsed in the Community promo released earlier this month on The Soup. On top of recruiting foot-soldiers while working security, Chang sees the perfect opportunity to replace Dean Pelton with a Moby-lookalike. If there was any foreshadowing going on, I can only hope that Chang's inability to stop Jeff's ego-Hulk rampage will eventually course-correct what is slowly turning into the darkest timeline.
In Season One's "Advanced Criminal Law," Troy and Abed made a pact to never lie to each other. "Contemporary Impressionists" is a landmark episode insofar as Abed acknowledges the smallest of Troy's lies, thus unravelling the tight-knit bond they've developed as best friends. When Troy finally puts his foot down on Abed's constant re-enactment of his favourite movie scenes, Abed chooses to go into the Dreamtorium to unwind by himself. After an awesome imagination-fueled takeoff into the depths of his imagination, Evil Abed – who hasn't been seen since "Remedial Chaos Theory" – takes the empty co-pilot seat.