Monday, May 21, 2012

Community: Season 3 Report Card

(Dear Community, Have a great summer! C U next year!)

So the Third Season of Community has come to a close. There was a time it seemed doubtful to us ardent fans that NBC would even air the back end of the season. But then they did! And then they renewed it for a 13 episode 4th Season! And then they fired the show's creator, Dan Harmon, and most of the creative team left. WHAAAT? It makes almost no sense. Why keep a low-rated, but creatively rich show if you are just going to replace the people who supply the creative vision? What do you actually have left at that point? The actors, sure, but they don't write the scripts. I can't even imagine what such an offbeat show will be like in different hands. If they were planning to gut the creative side, they probably should've just cancelled the series and gone with one of their new pilots. Regardless of how fans feel about it the show in one form or another is coming back next fall on Fridays. Time will tell what it will actually consist of plot-wise. In the meantime, let's reflect on the just completed Season 3 - which turned out to be a very strong season. There were a few growing pains right at the beginning, and then again after it came back from hiatus, but the highs here were super high and definitely outnumbered the lows. And the end was incredibly satisfying, so I'm grateful it aired at all. Let's take a look back and see what this year's grades were. 

Biology 101 - The study group takes Biology together, but Pierce is odd-man-out when only six seats are available in the class. Pierce gets in when Professor Kane kicks Jeff out for cell phone use, but Jeff gets back in when Star Burns tries to start a Breaking Bad-style meth deal with Professor Kane. On the administrative side, Dean Felton and Vice Dean Laybourne are at odds over the Air Conditioning Repair Annex. The school does a song and dance number promising to be less weird! (Nice try!) Jeff gets gassed in the school air vents and wields a fire axe against their study table. Britta starts her arc as a Psych Major. The Doctor Who-ian "Inspector Spacetime" takes the place of Cougar Town in Abed's imagination. Michael K. Williams and John Goodman join the recurring cast as Professor Kane and Vice Dean Laybourne respectively!  It's good to have our gang back on TV. Grade: B+

Geography of Global Conflict - Annie finds scholastic competition from another girl named Annie almost too much to handle and then a Model UN competition causes strife for all. Campus Security Officer Chang emerges for a season-long arc of craziness and authoritarianism. Annie and Jeff start to deal with their awkward attraction to each other, but don't come to any real conclusions about it. It was a decent outing, but the Parks and Rec Model UN episode also from this season was way funnier. Grade: B

Competitive Ecology - The gang pairs off in science class to build a terrarium, but then they argue about their pairings all night long. Chang acts out the fantasy of being a Noir-style detective. Todd is introduced as a recurring seemingly benevolent student at Greendale. I love to hate Todd, but the gang is spending a lot of time each episode reminding each other how much they mean to each other. Out loud. We get it! They mean a lot to each other! Grade: B

Remedial Chaos Theory - Reality splinters with the rolling of a die at Troy and Abed's housewarming party. Parallel universes spring forth showing the different effects on the study group when each character is chosen to go to the door to get their pizza delivery. An evil troll doll starts a fire. Evil Abed is born. Jeff hits his head on the ceiling fan a lot and then loses an arm. Britta gets purple highlights. But not in the Prime universe. In the prime universe Britta, and the rest of the gang just gets to sing along to Roxanne and eat pizza. It's truly amazing. Even in the darkest of timelines.  Grade: A+

Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps - Britta does a psych eval on the group that reveals there is a sociopath among them. The gang tells scary stories to reveal who has the most warped mind. It turns out they all do! There are lots of shenanigans in a cabin including vampires, the rapture, and troy and Abed's stomachs getting sewn together. In the end, when Britta finally scans the tests correctly it's discovered Abed is the only sane one. This episode is a lot of fun, but last Halloween with the zombies was just a little more super amazing by comparison. Grade: A

Advanced Gay - Pierce throws a party to celebrate the success of Hawthorne Wipes in the gay community, but the "Gay Bash" turns uncomfortable and then deadly when Pierce's dad shows up and Jeff works out his Daddy Issues on him until he croaks. Also Vice Dean Layborne continues to make a play for Troy's soul in the Air Conditioning Annex. This one is a rare example of Community falling flat in execution. Even a guest appearance by drag queen Shangela could save it. Grade: C

Studies In Modern Movement - The Study Group helps Annie move in with Troy and Abed, except for Jeff who bails on helping them, and then gets blackmailed into spending the day with the Dean at the mall. Annie later struggles dealing with Troy and Abed's immature living habits and not having enough personal space. The guys eventually rally to make her feel better. The Dreamatorium is introduced. We learn the Dean's first name is Craig. Jeff and the Dean sing a stirring karaoke version of "Kiss From A Rose" in front of a green screen. Who could ask for anything more? Grade: A

Documentary Filmmaking: Redux - Dean Pelton has to film a new commercial for Greendale with little money and Abed films all the behind the scenes action for his own documentary. Everything and Everyone goes crazy. It's an amazing spoof of the doc Hearts of Darkness. Luis Guzman shows up. The Dean sends everything out of control and production goes well over time and budget. Abed eventually saves the day cutting his behind the scenes footage into an acceptable commercial. Troy and Britta discover they enjoy each other's huggies. I'm not doing the brilliant madness of this episode any justice in this recap. Just go watch it. Grade: A+

Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism - Jeff and Shirley take on some losers who monopolize the foosball table, only to realize they share a scarring childhood memory of playing against each other as kids. Annie breaks Abed's special edition DVD of The Dark Knight. She tries to make it look like a robbery, causing Abed to dress like Batman and find the villain who did it. Seeing Jeff and Shirley as youngsters together is amazing. Seeing adult Jeff and Shirley locked in an anime cartoon  foosball battle is also amazing. Abed as Batman is always fun. I mostly love the deepening of the Jeff and Shirley friendship. They are the best. Grade: A-

 Regional Holiday Music - An instant classic. After Greendale's Glee Club has a collective mental breakdown, the malevolent choir director lures the Study Group into replacing them for the Christmas Pageant, brainwashing them one by one with Christmas-themed songs. Abed is the first to be turned, and helps recruit the others, but when it becomes clear to him this performance isn't a one shot deal, he manages to break them out of it before it's too late. The choir director, (played by one of my current SNL fav's Taran Killam) is revealed to have caused the bus accident that killed the original Glee Club members back in Season 2. He flees, and Christmas is saved. All of the songs in this episode are amazing. Annie as Betty Boop Santa rocks. Britta as a non-singing and then a singing tree is hilarious. Shirley singing "Happy Birthday, Jesus! Cut the cake, my lord!" doesn't go on long enough.  The Inspector Spacetime Christmas Special we are shown is great in its badness. We'll see these guys again after Regionals. And a long NBC-controlled hiatus. Falalalala Falalalala, Hollah! Grade: A+

Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts - Andre re-proposes to Shirley. Britta is revealed to be an amazing wedding planner which depresses the hell out of her. Jeff must write a toast to Shirley and it doesn't go well for him. Troy and Abed attempt to become "normal" for the wedding, freaking everyone out. Pierce and Shirley try to get a new sandwich shop installed in the cafeteria, but Greendale takes their idea and moves forward with a Subway franchise instead. Andre and Shirley remarry. This was the first episode back after that horribly long hiatus and expectations were probably too high. Still, it was great to see the Study Group again! Grade: B

Contemporary Impressionists - The Study Group helps Abed get rid of debt by impersonating various celebrities at a bar mitzvah. Jeff begins experiencing extreme narcissism. This one had the potential for some very funny set-ups but they never really materialized and the idea of Abed having impersonator debts didn't really work for me. This begins the Rift arc in Troy and Abed's friendship. We should also take note of the Moby impersonator that looks an awful lot like the Dean. He may come back sometime in the future...
Grade: B-

Digital Exploration of Interior Design (Part 1) - The Subway shop finally opens in the cafeteria. Shirley, Pierce, and Britta attempt to bring it down, until Britta falls in love with the human embodiment of the corporation. Britta and corpo-human Subway have such kinky sex that the Company has him rebooted into a new human body that doesn't want Britta. Annie and Jeff have a mini-adventure involving a locker Jeff never knew he had, and a boy named Kim that Jeff never remembers meeting. Vice Dean Laybourne uses The Rift between Abed and Troy to win Troy over to the AC Annex by ruining their friendship for good. Troy and Abed take over the school with competing blanket and pillow forts. The dual construction projects lead Greendale to Civil War! To be continued! Grade: A

Pillows and Blankets (Part 2) -  Presented in the style of the Ken Burns' documentary, The Civil War, the school splits between Troy's Blanketsburg and Abed's Pillow Town. Jeff first tries to prolong the fight to avoid studying and later tries to negotiate a truce between his friends. Annie sets up a treatment center for pillow fight victims. Britta tries to take documentary photos and fails badly. Shirley and Pierce head to the front lines. Eventually the war ends and Troy and Abed reconcile. The Changlorious Basterds are introduced to the school as Chang's pre-teen death squad. This is a very solid and funny episode, and if you know Ken Burns's documentary than it's even more enjoyable, but the thing that kinda leaves it slightly unsatisfying for me is that the storytelling and POV between parts 1 and 2 are so vastly different. I feel like they both should've been done in doc style or neither of them. But it's just a stylistic quibble. Grade: A

Origins of Vampire Mythology - When the carnival comes into town, bringing Britta's carney ex-boyfriend Blade with it, she needs Anne to keep her away from him. She hides out with Annie at the apartment while Abed and Troy unhelpfully watch Blade. Vice Dean Laybourne recruits Dean Pelton to lure Troy to the Air Conditioning Repair Annex, but he fails miserably in his half-hearted attempt. Jeff becomes obsessed with learning Blade's secret of being irresistible, annoying Shirley in the process. Change and Pierce become short-lived best friends at the carnival. Britta eventually realizes she shouldn't be into guys who are mean to her, and should maybe be into a guy who likes her a lot, like Troy. I didn't think Blad was all that special. Grade: B-

Virtual Systems Analysis - After their biology test is postponed, the gang splits up for the afternoon. Annie accompanies Abed for some some quality time in the Dreamatorium, while Troy and Britta going on a lunch date. While "rendering" an adventure with Inspector Spacetime, Annie confronts Abed about his true feelings about himself and their friends, and Abed in turn forces her to examine her feelings for Jeff. The Dreamatorium effects were unusual and rad, and the look into both Abed and Annie's way of thinking was entertaining and enlightening. Grade: A

Basic Lupine Urology - The Law & Order episode. The Study Group investigates the death of the yam they were growing as a science project, suspecting sabotage from a classmate. Shirley, Abed and Troy are the cops. Annie and Jeff are the Lawyers. Todd is the main suspect. The detail work in this is impeccable. I could write about it for two hours and still not be done praising it. From the re-orchestrated theme song to the end of episode ominous phone call, this is Community at it's referential best. Grade A++

Course Listing Unavailable - The Study Group deals with the death of their drug-dealing classmate Star Burns. Britta acts as a grief counselor, with little positive effect. Chang ramps up his campaign to the Dean for to increased policing powers. The memorial service for Star Burns turns into a riot, instigated in part by the incendiary rants of the Study Group. Chang's Changlorious Basterds attack the student body, the Dean gets replaced by a body double (Fake Moby from Contemporary Impressionists!) and the Study Group becomes known as the Greendale Seven and are expelled from school. This is a solid episode with a lot of plot that moves well.  Grade: A-

Curriculum Unavailable - After the Study Group is expelled, Abed believes the Dean is an impostor. When he is caught on campus dressed as Inspector Spacetime, Abed is forced to get psychiatric treatment from Dr. Heidi (John Hodgeman) and the rest of the Study Group accompanies him. This is a "clip show" episode with cut scenes to events that we've never seen before. Dr. Heidi tries to convince the group that Greendale doesn't exist, and that they are all mental patients under a shared psychosis. The montage of the group in a mental hospital imagining they are at school is priceless. Eventually they realize Dr. Heidi is a fake, and that the real Dean loves them and would never expel them. Dr. Heidi finally admits that Chang has the Dean captive and has taken over the school. The Study Group vows to free him. Grade: A


Digital Estate Panning - Somewhat out of plot sequence, Pierce and the Study Group visit Hawthorne Enterprises to discuss the issue of Pierce's inheritance with his father's former assistant, Gilbert Lawson. They must all play an 8-bit video game created by Pierce's father and if Pierce doesn't make it to the end first, he will lose his inheritance. Once inside, the group realizes that Gilbert is really Pierce's half-brother and is intent on beating Pierce and claiming the inheritance for himself. Everything about this episode is amazing. The majority of the action takes place in the 8-bit world and follows the visuals and plot of an old school side-scrolling RPG. Like with the Law and Order episode, the detail work is impeccable. The story is both incredibly funny and sweet. The 8-bit avatars of the group are adorable. Abed finds love in the 8-bit form of a character named Hilda. The racist elements of the game as designed by Pierce's racist dad are appropriately wrong and hilarious. This is another episode that must be seen to be believed. Grade: A++

First Chang Dynasty - The Study Group plans to rescue the Dean - Ocean's Eleven-style. An elaborate heist! While Chang becomes distracted planning a big birthday par-tay for himself, the gang dons elaborate costumes worthy of the Dean himself and infiltrates the school. At first it looks like they are busted by Chang, but it's an intentional fake out, until they are actually busted by Chang. Troy sells his soul to the Air Conditioning Repair Annex to free them in time to stop Chang from blowing up the school with illegal fireworks and a key-tar. Chang's scheme is exposed and he flees the school. The Dean takes back control and the Greendale Seven are vindicated, but Troy must leaves his friends for the waiting arms of Vice Dean Laybourne. They wrapped all that up rather nicely, I'd say. Grade: A-

Introduction to Finality - Story Arc Resolution for all! After a legal squabble, Shirley and Pierce open their Greendale sandwich shop! Jeff bests his former colleague,who once turned him in to his law firm, aces his Biology final and starts searching for his Absentee Dad! Britta sticks with her psych major! Vice Dean Laybourne dies and Troy becomes the Repair Man Messiah! Abed vanquishes Evil Abed. Annie... is doing fine! Abed takes down the Dreamatorium so that Troy can have his own room, but keeps a phonebooth sized version for himself! #sixseasonsandamovie. If this had to be a series finale - and from an original creative standpoint it certainly is - this ended on a very satisfying note. Grade: A

So that's all there is, until there is more! It was a very productive school year for the Greendale Seven. We'll have to see what course they all take together next year. If the show is nothing like it was in the first three seasons, at least there will be the theme song, appropriately titled, "At Least It Was Here."




2 comments:

Expressjodi said...

Great expectations

Life is full of surprises, particularly if you are a newly - wed . Expressjodi you a glimpse into the future and tells how to be prepared to face married life

Love is all about romance whereas marriage is a lot about responsibility. When two different individuals from different backgrounds live together, differences of opinion on things like spending habits, career, having and raising a baby, sharing household responsibilities etc, are bound to crop up, the key is to broaden your outlook and accept all the changes that marriage brings, and to remember that marriage is a momentous change for you and your spouse. And, fear not, over a period of time, you will find a way to make it work.

Responsibility

With marriage comes a whole lot of responsibility. "From the time you ger married, the decisions you make will not be yours alone, but your partner's as well. This is because your choices will impact both of you. But this doesn't mean that you're tied to a ball and chain. "It only means you have a companion with you for life. In fact, in your capacity as a spouse, you become your partner's caretaker, friend, confidante and even punching bag etc.

Finances

Arguments over money are bound to happen, so be prepared for it. And unless you establish some ground rules for dealing with financial issues, you will continue to have these arguments. Bear in mind that you are now a part of a unit, and no longer flying solo.

In - laws or outlaws?

if you thought that marriage is all about sharing your life with your significant other, think again, and this time, factor in your in - laws into the equation. When you're used to a particular lifestyle, moving in with your in - laws can be a rude shock. You will be required to make changes in your daily routine. Like waking up a little earlier to help around the house or rescheduling your plans on weekends or even modifying some of your eating habits. these might seem like an additional burden, particularly if you are a working woman. Remember to keep an open mind when it comes to handling your in - laws. They may be rigid in their ways, but there is always a way to work out a compromise.

Sharing space

Marriage involves sharing everything - whether it is sadness or glad tidings, chores or finance, which can be a difficult task. This is why marriage necessitates an equal contribution from both side. " Sharing is absolutely essential for a happy marriage,. Besides making it easier to run the show, it also brings you closer to your partner, and cement a bond in a way that only experience can.
Differnces of opinion

Shaadi brings two different individuals together, as well as two sets of arguments for everything. Remember that your husband is as new to the marriage and the relationship as you, and he is facing the same issue for the first time as well.Irrespective of the nature of the relationship, any two people are bound to have differences of opinion at some point of time, It is how you handle these differences that mtters. The best antidote for deviant interest lies in adapting to the situation. "Be carteful not to retaliate for the sake of it,"

Planning for the future

As a single independent working woman, you may be used to your lifestyle, going on holidays or splurging on the latest pair of Jimmy Choos. But married life is a journey and you need to plan carefully to get to your destination. "Planning is the key. Make sure you and your husband are on the same page as far as long - term goal are concerned," "Whether or not you plan to have a baby or deciding on investments for the future and are thing that you should discuss in advbance, if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises in you married life,"

Expressjodi said...

Brahmin Shaadi
Historically, the Brahmins in india were divided into two major groups based on geographical origin of the people. The Brahmin groups that lived to the north of the vindhyas were referred to as Dravida Brahmins. Each group was further divided into five sections according to the regions of their settlement.

Sagaai
The Sagaai or the engagement ceremony symbolises commitment However, the South Indian Brahmin do not lay stress on the presence of bride and the groom in their Sagaai, rather it focuses on commitment between the parents of the groom and the bride. 'Latto' i.e., 'engagement plate' Which consist of coconut, flowers, turmeric, betel leaves and betel nuts hold more importance, in their engagement ceremony. The Maithil Brahmin bride of bihar makes her wedding affair stand apart by receiving the blessing from the Dhobi's (washerman's) wife - a compulsory tradition in the Bihari Brahmin wedding.

Haldi
In Haldi ceremony turmeric powder is mixed with milk, almond oil and sandalwood and applied to the bride and the groom. In Kashmiri Pandit this ceremony has a twist becuase cold, white yoghurt is poured on the bride as an alternative to haldi. ritual is followed by a special custom called Shankha (shell) Paula (coral) in bengali Brahmins, where seven married women embellish the bride's hand with red and white bangles, the shell is supposed to calm the bride and the coral is believed to
be beneficial for health. Mehndi is also applied on every bride's hands during the Mehndi ceremony. However, a Bengali Brahmin bride applies alta (red dye).

Jaimala
After the ceremonious arrival of the groom, the garlands are exchanged between the groom and the bride, while the priests chant mantras. Jaimala is the symbol of unifying two souls into one. But in tamil nadu, "Oonjal", a unique jaimala ceremony is performed and could be best decribed as a tug of war. In this ceremony, the women sing songs to encourage the bride and groom to exchange the garlands while the uncles persuade the soon to be couple not to Exchange the garlands.Before the ceremony of jaimala, the bride makes a majestic entry in Bengali weddings.

Mangal Phere
Fire is considered the most pious element in the Brahmin weddings and seven circles around that fire holds the seven promises that the nuptial couple make to each other amidst the Vedic mantras. The Brahmin wedding is deemed incomplete without the seven rounds around the sacred fire. Unlike other Brahmin weddings, in Gujarati weddings only four pheras are taken which are called the mangalpheras where the pheras represent four basic human goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Miksha (religious, moral, prosperity and salvation). Likewise in Malayalee Brahmin weddings, pheras are taken only thrice.

Post wedding ceremony vidaai
After pheras, the bride's family and friend bid her teary vidaai (farewell). The Kashmiri pundits make their vidaai even more special. their charming ritual, "roth khabar" is performed on a saturday or tuesday after the wedding. In Roth
khabar, the bride's parents send a roth (bread decorated with nuts) to their son - in - law's family. But the bride accompanies She stay with her parents and returns only when someone from in laws comes to fetch her back.

Griha pravesh
The new bride is greeted by her mother - in - law with Arti and tilak. The bride, who is regarded as the Goddess laxmi, enters the groom's house after the groom's house after kicking rice - filled pot. In Kannada Brahmin marriages, the groom changes the name of his wife in the name change ceremony where he decides a name for his wife and inscribes it on a plate containing rice with a ring. In Bihar, a very strange ritual is performs at the groom's place.