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Worldly Distractions: Community 6.3 - Basic Crisis Room Decorum




After last week's perfectly suitable beginning, we're ready to get into the real meat of the season. So how is this new group going to function? Let's find out.

Checking her to-do list, Annie sees something so terrifying that she immediately gets the committee on the phone for an emergency meeting. Their texts appear in mid-air. Is this the new way we're representing texts now, or are we in for a House of Cards parody? Because I'm sincerely hoping for the latter. We learn that two teens from Asia have been pranking the Dean for years, giving him false hope of Jeff's love. I'm actually impressed with the little bastards' skills. Opening credits.

Everyone shows up in the middle of the night, Abed in his pyjamas and Jeff and Chang very pissed off. Only Britta is perky, probably because she's drunk. Annie explains - City College is going to run a negative ad campaign about Greendale. Frankie concludes it's because they're desperate in the face of Greendale's improving enrollment numbers (which Jeff points out is mostly due to the fact that no one ever graduates). There's also some babbling about someone named Brenda, whom I don't remember from the series at all. Frankie declares the study room a "Situation Room", which sends Abed into full Dr. Strangelove mode. Jeff tries to escape, but Annie won't let him. Elroy shows up with a pantsless Britta on his arm.

Abed manages to track down the ad, which is about Greendale granting a degree to a dog. And not just any dog, but a terrier. The horror. Frankie doesn't quite believe that it's true. She gathers everyone in the situation room and interrogates everyone as to the dog's history. No one can quite remember. Or maybe they're in serious denial. Jeff lawyers about their tactics for a while,  which is great, because we haven't had a Jeff Speech for a while. Elroy thinks he's found the dog in question, but they get into arguments about the breed. Frankie questions why they're going after the dog. Jeff insists that they have to destroy the source's credibility. So the pup hunt is on. And Britta is still drunk.

Elroy appoints himself Britta chaperone. Annie and Jeff continue to argue about whether they actually gave out the degree or not. Jeff writes on the glass like he's Russell Crowe. Chang suggests a sneaky and gross way to discredit City College, which Jeff allows without really listening. (I'm sure this will come back to bite them.) Meanwhile, the two Asian boys continue to mess with the Dean. Seriously, a prank of that level is Bart Simpson quality. Rock on, kids.

Britta and Elroy admit that neither of them care about the dog. Over coffee, Britta admits that she feels like a joke, and maybe giving a degree to a dog will make them all into jokes, thus leveling the playing field. She discovers that she and Elroy have a favourite (terrible) band in common. An eccentric friendship is born.

Suddenly, the music overtakes Britta and she is beamed into her own music video. Or is she hallucinating? (She's hallucinating.) Understandably weirded out, Elroy backs off a bit.

Frankie and Annie sort through files and discuss whether the truth can be predicted. Serious question - is Frankie intended to be a parody of Sheldon Cooper? Or do the writers of Community just like to pretend that that show doesn't exist? Anyway, we learn that Frankie has no time for feelings (or at least pretends not to). They come across a transcript for "Ruffles", and realize that they have struck gold.

So yeah, your favourite educational institution (suck it, Harvard) gave a degree to a dog. After giving Annie an "I told you so", Frankie points out the bright side - the file does not actually contain a diploma.

Meanwhile, Jeff and Abed do something online, trading barbs the entire time. Elroy arrives with coffee and a still-loopy Britta (seriously, what the hell did she drink?!). Abed has produced an attack ad against Ruffles, which among other things claims she has twenty-seven children by five fathers, and also has worms. Meanwhile, on the recommendation of the pranksters, the Dean brings Jeff olives, which is not well-received.

Frankie brings some more bad news - it turns out that the dog did complete the degree, with great marks (mostly attendance-based classes), but the degree was withheld due to a library fine. Jeff, however, runs with it as proof that the dog never actually graduated, so the commercial is - technically - a lie. Annie protests that this is still really bad for the school, as it shows a dog is capable of graduating from Greendale, but Jeff ignores this. She declares their attempt to discredit Ruffles and City College "dishonest" and "evil".

She suggests that they let the ad run and accept the consequences. When Jeff mocks her, she attempts to yank his research from his hands. Jeff asks Britta to attack her (as a male teacher, he can't), but Britta is passed out on the couch. Frankie asks Annie why it matters so much to let the ad run. Annie admits that it's not really about honesty - it's that she's realized that her grades from Greendale don't matter. Frankie gives her the hard truth. They will take the transcript over Annie. If she wants to transfer, fine, but the story of Ruffles must remain buried. Annie throws them the transcript and storms out. Suddenly, everyone in the room is shocked and guilty - except Elroy, who rambles on about the good old days.

Abed visits Annie in her room and offers to show her their soon-to-be-released pro-Greendale ad. Narrated by the Dean, it turns out to be very honest, explaining Ruffles' story as an example of how Greendale will help anyone who works hard. Annie squeals and hugs her friend. Looks like that transfer's not going through anytime soon. Jeff claims they were only getting in front of the scandal, but everyone sees through it. Just then, Chang arrives with his newly finished porno, traumatizing everyone there, except Abed, who considers him a brilliant filmmaker.

Across the ocean, one of the Dean's Japanese pranksters is lectured by his father for insane data charges. The Dean is suddenly awakened in Colorado with a barrage of existential questions about life's difficulties. The boy tries to confess that he's not Jeff, but the Dean continues to take this in philosophical terms. I guess he's in Deanial.


The teen, now grown up, reflects in voice-over that this moment was the most pivotal of his life - the one that set him on a path as a Yakuza leader. End credits.

Well? Choppy. Not terribly funny. Ultimately, it functioned well as a good showcase for both Annie and Frankie, who are similar in traits but entirely different in outlook. I'm still not sure what Elroy's purpose is, and hope they give his character a decent storyline soon. However, overall Community needs to up its gimmicks and move closer to their previous tone. The situation room could have been played with further, but ultimately only served as decoration. A bit of deadpan, for example would have helped greatly. The bits with the Dean and the two pranksters, though, were a highlight. Can Community find its footing again? I guess we'll have to wait another week to find out.

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