I’ve been watching a lot of ‘Community’ recently – not recent episodes. I was a bit late to the bandwagon on this amazing, amazing show, and despite the fact that it’s on hiatus in the middle of season three – well, since early December I’ve seen everything from episode 1-21, “Contemporary American Poultry”, through 2-09, “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design”, except for the last two episodes in season one, which I caught out of order at the time they originally aired. I only started season 2 three weeks ago today, so that’s been an average of three Community fixes a week.
It’s great – a really smart, really funny show, that isn’t afraid to go – pretty much anywhere. From the grand tour de force homages like ‘Modern Warfare’, ‘Basic Rocket Science’, and ‘Epidemiology’ (the Halloween zombie episode,) to smartly thought out plots like ‘The Art of Discourse’ and ‘Co-operative Calligraphy’, I’ve been loving every chance I get to take in an episode.
“Calligraphy” is one of those little bottle shows that is shot like it was written as a play – one room, seven characters with a cameo by the Dean, and a plot that you wouldn’t think could stretch out the whole episode – Annie is missing her pen and doesn’t want the session to break up without finding out what happened to it. But the action unfolds like a locked room mystery, with suspicion falling on every character – including Annie herself, more than once. Every possible explanation of how the pen could have innocently gone astray is investigated, and ruled out. And this tiny, little thing stresses our unconventional family of college students to the breaking point, bringing out awkward, uncomfortable secrets, and testing the faith and trust that they have in one another.
Finally, at the darkest hour, Jeff proposes a completely outrageous and nonsensical straw man, a villain whose existence could never be obviously proven (or disproven,) just to give everybody in the group an out with which they can save face. And for the sake of the bond that they’ve formed, they each accept the utter nonsense.
Only we as the audience learn the truth, a solution to the puzzle that’s about as outrageous as anything else mentioned in the entire episode, but also has just enough logic in terms of the Greendale universe to make you go “Hey, why didn’t I think of that?”
I’ll try to remember to let you know what I think when I’ve finished watching season 2.