Friday, 23 March 2012

COMMUNITY, 3.12 – "Contemporary Impressionists"

Friday, 23 March 2012

After last week's relative normality, the show's "mad house" feel returned for "Contemporary Impressionists"—an episode clearly intended to air after the mid-season break, what with the study group cheerfully reconvening in the opening scene. There was a nice theme to this half-hour, of the group seeing what they love/hate about each other (partly told through the prism of a story about celebrity lookalikes), but I found it something of a struggle to sit through. Maybe it was because a great deal of this week's references went over my head (too American?)—besides the clear Incredible Hulk homage with egomaniac Jeff (Joel McHale), although that idea felt too grand and insane.

Much better were the little moments: Abed (Danny Pudi) re-enacting a scene from The Fugitive with a Tommy Lee Jones impersonator, Pierce (Chevy Chase) gaining entry by ditching his pitiable Burt Reynolds disguise and going as "fat Brando" (aka himself); the fake-Robin Williams in a Patch Adams red nose; the return of "evil Abed" in the Dreamatorium's dénouement; Britta's (Gillian Jacobs) scarily accurate Michael Jackson appearance; a fun guest-star role for 3rd Rock From The Sun's French Stewart (doesn't he look old now!); and the Dean (Jim Rash) collapsing into an emotional heap after seeing Jeff wearing aviators.

Good moments, but they don't equal a good episode. There was definitely something here worth exploring (season 3 seems obsessed with stories about the group discovering things they love/hate about one another), but it got lost beneath a superficially wacky idea and gags. Community actually scored a season-best rating last week (4.75m), but I wonder how many new and returning viewers felt overwhelmed and excluded by the silliness? I dearly love this show, but even I find myself wishing it would ease off sometimes. There can be so much craziness overload that you forget exactly what you're watching and why. Hours after, I can't quite remember why there was a lookalike competition at Greendale...

Some brief thoughts there, but what did you think of "Contemporary Impressionists"?

written by Alex Cooley / directed by Kyle Newacheck / 22 March 2012 / NBC