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Worldly Distractions: Community 6.6 - Basic Email Security





Huh. Community is produced by Sony. Gee, I wonder where this is going.

The Dean finds something unusual with his email, and enlists Elroy to help. Apparently, EliteFleet69 has "owned" the Dean's computer. Elroy immediately recognizes trouble. He announces to the study group, gravely, that the school has been hacked. The Dean keeps getting in the way, so Elroy sends him on a pointless mission, which he figures out before he's halfway down the hall. The hackers demand that Greendale cancel an "offensive" comedy show coming up. He also leaks the lunchlady's email. The floating of Greendale's secrets has begun. Opening credits.

The group reads through the leaked emails on their various devices. For some reason, this descends into a discussion on the morality of torrenting. Only Britta is concerned about anyone's privacy. The cops show up, but are too busy giggling over the lunchlady's (apparently juicy) secrets to do much. Plus, one of them is about eight years old. One of the cops, that is. I guess he's one of the ex-Changlourious Basterds. Bottom line - no one can figure out which laws are being broken, so the investigation is going nowhere.

Apparently, a comedian named Gupta Gupti Gupta is about to perform, and the hackers find him offensive. So we're getting the Sony hack and the Jennifer Lawrence leak all rolled in to one? Righto. Their next leaks are going to be the emails of the committee. Everyone acts with predictable outrage, except Britta, who seems to side with the hackers. Aaand references to Minority Report/every cybersecurity bill of the past decade or so. As they scramble for an answer, Britta begs Jeff to inspire them. She who hates cops above all else decides that they should solve the mystery themselves.

Everyone else is quite skeptical. Jeff calls out her very mixed motives. She natters on about America and free speech while no one listens. Finally, Britta declares that the show must go on in the name of freedom, and offers to let her emails be leaked first. Oooh, this is going to be delightful. Or maybe just bland. The rest of the committee offers up their emails for scrutiny as well (though Chang thinks they're just volunteering to see the Avengers), guaranteeing a lot of drama to come. Only the Dean opts out, sadly.

So Britta holds a press conference, giving one of those conflicted social justice-y speeches which was probably lifted from someone's Tumblr. Elroy is smarter and offers the press corps coffee and Scotch. Wait, why does Greendale have a press corps, you guys? The committee gets together and vows to stay off the Internet tonight - "no peeking at the leaking!". After the group parts ways, Britta tells Jeff he's a good sport for putting himself at risk for the sake of ideas. Elroy points out that this might extend to Jeff's other online activity as well, not just his barely-used Greendale account. "It's Vietnam, baby," he declares as Jeff stares in shocked silence.

Everyone arrives at Greendale the next day, deliberately avoiding eye contact with each other. The weird thing is they're kind of strangely dressed - Frankie is wearing a flowy blue dress while Britta has her hair in a Katniss Everdeen braid. They're probably parodying something, but I don't know what. The group stands in awkward tension. The only person who seems remotely normal is Abed. After some overly polite yet strangely angry conduct, we figure out that everyone but Abed has read the emails. Chang in particular is devastated.

Amidst flying accusations about who said what (nothing terribly juicy at this point, though stealing Annie's blood is a pretty big deal), Britta points out that they're letting the hackers win. She suggests they be cool, something she has never done in her life. They set their differences aside and get to work, though Annie can't resist a few more barbed comments. One particular insult opens up a whole new can of worms, and soon they're right back to where they started. We discover that everyone thinks Frankie is a "chapstick lesbian". I'm just waiting for her to 'fess up about being Annie's real mom, or Tammy Campbell, or both. It turns out she's been writing to her dead sister for many years, which they mistook for the sister's indifference. Abed, on the other hand, gets annoyed as he goes through the emails and can only find boring things.

Elroy thinks indulging in some sort of Airing of Grievances will benefit them all. We learn that he has been communicating with a family for years because they mistook him for a long-lost cousin, but also has been making 3D models of all the Committee women's bodies, ostensibly for video game purposes. Chang, meanwhile, ranks Britta and Annie as 1 or 2 every day and emails the results to Jeff. Jeff responded once (non-committally) and this is an outrage. He also has a habit of writing to astronauts. Something terrible happened to Elroy's family, but no details are given. Ummm, be right back I'm going to check my own email to see what kind of incriminating shit I've got lurking in my inbox from 2003.



Anyway, they devolve into the random shouting characteristic of a mass argument. Just then, the Dean arrives with Gupta Gupti Gupta, who I totally thought was going to turn out to be, like, an alter ego created by Leonard or something, but is in fact real and played by Jay Chandrasekhar. Unfortunately, at this point, no one cares about the comic, though he seems to be a pretty nice guy. He tells them that he's grateful for their efforts, as every school has been cancelling on him lately, and it's great to see someone who will fight for him. The group is very touched. This springs Britta into action, and she takes command of the upcoming show. Her friends happily oblige.

Unfortunately, they are a bit deflated to find that the only person in attendance is Fat Neil. Everyone's stunned and Gupta wants to bail. Annie informs him that there's no backing out now. The hackers send another message demanding that they cancel, or else. Neil attempts to bolt. Suddenly, they hear a huge crowd outside the auditorium. Britta concludes that it's a massive protest, and decides that this time the people need to be shut down. The committee barricades the doors. Gupta looks terrified. Britta again tells him that he will not be backing out. So Gupta is dragged onstage to perform for one guy with an angry mob just outside. His jokes come off very poorly and Fat Neil also wants to leave. The committee physically holds him and Gupta in place.

The hackers make good on their promise and leak the school's data. Everyone pauses for a slo-mo reaction. Meanwhile, Gupta has tormented Neil into tears.

The next day, the school is in chaos. Everyone hates each other over whatever was in those leaked emails. Jeff compares it to Road Warrior. A humiliated Neil is eternally upset with the committee. Abed brings up several other incidents in their history, such as Annie's missing pen and the mysterious "Golden Age" (you may now commence having fond memories). Chang scrambles to find a lesson in it all. They throw around some ideas about free speech and privacy. "A free government terrorizes privacy" is my personal favourite.

The police show up having caught the hacker, young Ryan, who is also like eight. Since he goes by "Fart Mitzvah" online, I'm forced to assume that he is also a retired Changlourious Basterd. According to the young criminal, every password in the school was set to "changeme". As he berates the child cop for being a snitch, Jeff comes to the episode's lesson - "Crime doesn't pay." Okay, I guess we can live with that one.

The group apologizes for their assorted bullshit and we cut to the credits. Tag scene - the two cops patrol from their car and discuss the great questions of life. Hell, I'd watch the spinoff.

Okay, good parts first. It was an excellent showcase for Britta, and Gillian Jacobs really shone. Frankie and Elroy continue to be standouts, working as much more than replacements for the departed study group members. However, the plot was definitely a bit creaky, and some of the machinations around the comic definitely stretched credibility even in the Communi-verse. They could have gone further with the Sony parody, pitch perfect as they usually are, or they could have had more fun with the secrets. Something about its humor just didn't land. So it was an enjoyable episode, but I wouldn't devote any superlatives to it. So next week, then?

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