opusculasedfera: stack of books, with a mug of tea on top (Default)
[personal profile] opusculasedfera
I don't know how I feel about the latest episodes of Community. For me, Community works best when it's about a real community college, even a surreal one. One that has ridiculous classes because there's a mandate to try and boost enrollment and someone said "sailing!" and someone else said "Who's the Boss!" but those are still real classes where someone is trying to teach you something about media and tv via outdated sitcoms. I like a lot of the character changes they've done - Troy and Abed moving in together and adding Annie, Jeff having to adjust to not being a wealthy lawyer, Shirley actually moving toward her dream, for just a few - but I feel like the show is at its worst when it doesn't want to be about a community college (which is of course a different thing than being a community college that is additionally an extremely serious Pillowfort Battlefield, or Law and Order spoof.) Also, there's a difference between being aware that your college lacks prestige and funding while containing messes and bad paperwork, and a school actually being a nonsense.

The point of the darkest timelines was that that kind of overblown drama is laughable: why would you make the everything failed version the primary timeline? It's not that it was a terrible two episodes, it's just that it felt a little cruel. Of course Britta would say that being a bartender was like being a modern day therapist and that's silly, but also being a bartender is not the worst job in the world ever, so why act like it's appalling and sucks your brain our your ear? We already did the plot where Abed's films are not always works of genius, only that time it didn't act like he'll never be able to make anything good as a result. Either move everyone out of Greendale and on with their lives, or keep writing a school story, but don't give everyone a moved on life that sucks hard enough that they need to come back. It just felt forced, and ruined all the things that were actually good jokes in the episode! The Dean was great! Of course he would learn Excel 'helpfully' and want to talk about it! Of course he would sing sad French songs to himself! Of course Annie would try to teach a class herself if she thought the prof was doing a bad job!

Hopefully the rest of the season moves away from that set up a bit. I like that Community is willing to be unflinching about people's flaws, but that's a totally different kind of joke from terrible things just happening to everyone, and it would be nice to see that again.

What do you guys think?


Also, entirely unrelatedly, I wrote a thing:
Congrats on Your Everything (Not You, Jeff) (2359 words) by opusculasedfera
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Rating: Explicit
Relationships: Elias Lindholm/Ryan Murphy/Jeff Skinner
Summary: Porn, set after the Canes' Dec 6th game against the Sharks.

Date: 2014-01-07 07:45 am (UTC)
sabra_n: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sabra_n
Well sure, everyone's reasons for coming back to Greendale were contrived, but I felt like the premiere was just doing the painful work of laying down those tracks so the train of the rest of the season could start chugging. (Oh my god, I'm even worse at metaphors than Britta is, but you get the idea.)

Basically I'd rather have temporary badness for the characters in service of what's looking like a pretty good season than the OOC crap from last season, which was just in service of more crap. I watched "Heroic Origins" before the premiere because it was the only episode I hadn't seen all the way through, and I basically spent half of it wanting to kick a hole in the wall. I never felt that way last week - I felt like my show was coming back to me.

Date: 2014-01-08 08:35 am (UTC)
sabra_n: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sabra_n
No, yeah, I totally get it. I'm still mentally stuck on Andre getting custody of Shirley's kids - stripper-affair Andre - but yeah: sitcom contrivances. The mental work of ignoring stuff like that is mental work I'm all too used to doing, but at least in this case I'm doing it pretty cheerfully.

Date: 2014-01-07 10:55 am (UTC)
quarter_to_five: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quarter_to_five
I heart the Dean muchly here. But, yeah, everyone else felt a little forced, particularly in the (re)pilot. It didn't feel like them coming back to Greendale was really out of their personality flaws or issues - I'm sorry, I do not buy that Annie despair on getting herself into the job she wants after just a few months or that Abed would direct one thing and give up - but just a generalized 'hey, the world outside sucks, so everyone comes back to the warm surreal bosom of Greendale.'

Date: 2014-01-07 11:33 pm (UTC)
quarter_to_five: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quarter_to_five
I can't think of a way to really fix it without making it worse, so maybe it's best under the carpet. The 'failing at life' aspect, and Greendale as this escapist bubble of a place for damaged, stunted people is a way darker turn for the show. Up to here I felt like it was Greendale is a safe harbour for people who are damaged and stunted out in the real world, but not an expression of that damage, if that makes any sense. They were all at Greendale because they were trying to deal with their situations - now they're there because they can't deal with their situations.

Date: 2014-01-08 12:18 am (UTC)
quarter_to_five: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quarter_to_five
I'm ok with Greendale really being about teaching emotional maturity and personal growth and that kind of thing, and the academic stuff remaining firmly absurd and bizarre and just a mechanism for that, but either way the idea that the're back there because Greendale failed them just kind of bugs me. This is my happy, encouraging show that makes me feel better about the world and restores my faith in mankind,for crying out lous! It can't get all sad and dialectical on us! If I wanted bitter, uncomfortable materialism I'd watch more Big Bang Theory. (And if I wanted just something to laugh at, I'd watch Hannibal.)

Date: 2014-01-08 02:19 am (UTC)
quarter_to_five: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quarter_to_five
Yes, the notion that Community College education is a worthless joke and those couple mentions of Harvard made me uncomfortable (not in the good way.) I'm usually all for a bit of class commentary, the meaner the better, but Community just doesn't need that. It's not a show that has pitched it's characters against the real world or (to get really commie) their place in it as products of a given praxis, but rather against their own personal/emotional demons in a somewhat removed (and, ok, postmodern) sort of way. Trying to shift that around fell flat.
Edited Date: 2014-01-08 02:20 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-01-08 02:54 am (UTC)
quarter_to_five: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quarter_to_five
Yes, like, the Dean (what is his name...I want to say Craig?) trying to fix administrative problems by learning excel is absurd and funny. The Dean rolling his eyes and pointing out that it isn't Harvard so why did anyone ever have expectations...er, less.

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