Saturday, 1 October 2011

COMMUNITY, 3.2 - "Geography Of Global Conflict"

Saturday, 1 October 2011
written by Andy Bobrow / directed by Joe Russo

There's a handful of episodes like "Geography Of Global Conflict" sprinkled throughout seasons of Community; half-hours of limited scope, revolving around a simple idea. In this instance, Annie (Alison Brie) became a rival to her Asian equal Annie Kim, after her namesake stole her idea of a Model United Nations and forced a competing dual-U.N debate presided over by Professor Cligoris (Freaks & Geeks' Martin Starr). It was an amusing idea, and I enjoyed seeing Jeff (Joel McHale) giving Annie his total support against her Chinese doppelganger (although the constant teasing of them being potential lovers feels uncomfortable to me), but it just wasn't anything special overall.

The funniest moments perhaps came from the main subplot, with Britta (Gillian Jacobs) deciding to become a rebel, but only getting as far as almost kicking a bin over and squirting ketchup onto an inflatable globe. But she was the ideal troublemaker to give Chang (Ken Jeong) a sense of purpose, now he's a campus security guard with no actual power or respect from the student body. For some reason I found it very amusing whenever their paths would cross, in slow-motion with Lionel Richie's "Hello" used an anti-romantic backing track. And for my money, I find Britta a much funnier character when she's ineptly boisterous, can't live up to her own hype, and given some physical comedy. It's just a shame this storyline came to an overly-strange and rather poor conclusion, with Britta covered in Barbie dolls and disrupting the Model U.N debate before getting Tazered by Chang and dragged out of the room.

If there's a developing theme this season it's of the characters alluding to how they're trapped in their roles and can't move outgrow them, which is also the dilemma facing writers of most US sitcoms that have to hit "reset" every episode, Simpsons-style. Annie and Jeff may never be together because they're ultimately characters in a sitcom that exists to poke fun at the conventions of its genre. Sorry I can't really say any more about this episode, or it would just dissolve into recounting all the jokes and referencing the things that amused me—like Abed (Danny Pudi) relishing the chance to debate a multiverse because there are two Model U.N's. What did you make of it?


  • Superb casting with Party Down's Martin Starr, who played the gawkiest character on TV in 1999's Freaks & Geeks, and now returns to a high school setting to play a teacher 12 years later. It seems Community shares Glee's attitude to teachers, who are often played by famous people and don't appear for longer than a few episodes. (The two shows film on the same sets, too.)
  • Erik Charles Nielsen, playing geeky Garrett, has such a distinctive and stereotypical nerdy voice. It never ceases to amuse me. Anyone else think he sounds like a young Wallace Shawn (Rex in Toy Story, The Grand Nagus in Star Trek Deep Space Nine)?
  • "Uruguay" being mispronounced as "you are gay" was an old Simpsons joke, am I right?
29 September 2011 / NBC