Episode 1 - Anthropology 101
6 March 2012
Ah Community, welcome back. The writing on the show can be so strong.
The way the writers got out of the Jeff-Britta-Annie love triangle was genius. They found a way to get all three to be able to return to being friends, kill off the romances from developing but also leave them open for the future. It was quite the feat.
The way it was done was to play on Jeff and Britta's well established insecurities and desire to be accepted and popular. Remember last season when they were teased relentlessly by high school students and almost broke down trying to get even (122). So Britta and Jeff were able to ignore their actual feelings for one another in a game of one-upmanship over who could be more publicly committed to the other and gain the sympathy of campus. It was a story which fitted their characters well. Jeff made it clear last season that although he is attracted to Britta, he doesn't feel compelled to be with her yet. Similarly Britta is on her own voyage of self improvement and doesn't necessarily see Jeff as her best option.
The knock on effect of their public smooching was to gross-out Annie whose own feelings for Jeff dissipated (but can always resurface with the passing of time). The clever plotting also allowed Abed to sneak in and see the new relationship as the "TV story" for the week leading to the biggest laugh I have had all week. Abed encourages Jeff and Britta to get married (to make it into a "wedding episode") and Jeff and Britta agree. Abed then wheels in an entire hired wedding party complete with George Clooney lookalike to be Jeff's best man! It was so hilariously over the top and yet plausible enough to make me laugh because of all the solid work which has gone into establishing what makes Abed tick.
The ensuing argument between the gang was good too. They all had good reason to be angry (Britta was spot on in being angry with Annie for kissing Jeff) and it made the point well that the tensions existing from last season needed to be ironed out before they all move on.
The Betty White character wasn't for me. The random acts of violence on her students is just too implausible and I have no intrinsic affection for her. Chang imitating Gollum isn't something I particularly enjoyed either. In both cases I felt the show slipped too far into exaggeration. Considering what a good job the writing does of taking traditional sit com stories and turning them on their head, those broader moments feel superfluous.
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