What a treat to have the group back together in the study room for an entire episode. No costumes, no Jesus, no chicken-fried space simulators - just the seven co-dependent neurotics back on their home turf.
We've spent so many episodes watching everyone react to various events outside of the study group, I'd forgotten how sidesplitting it can be to watch the septet bounce caustic and witty retorts back and forth across the forever-defiled study table. Enter "Cooperative Calligraphy."
While searching for the whereabouts of Annie's missing pen, we encountered many little nuggets of awesome, but none so great as finding out that Abed has been accurately charting the ladies' menstrual cycles for months.
Also: Shirley has been hooking up with her (recently cast) ex-husband since Labor Day - resulting in the need to buy a specifically marketed pregnancy test called "You Know, Girl" - and that, in a twist that Troy's eyebrows managed to react to louder than anything the dean broadcasts over the speaker, she may have a little Chang in her oven.Who'd have thought Community had it within itself to drop a bombshell, not to mention develop a potentially significant, serialized storyline!?
As the situation degraded to the point where cordial inquiries turned into civil violations and vicious accusations, the ugliness culminated in the group stripping down to its skivvies to prove no thief amongst them. With the location of the pen inexplicable, they all found solace in accepting Troy's inane notion that a ghost came in and took it.
Part of me wondered if this was a hint from creator Dan Harmon and Co. that where the often "out there" comedy of Community is concerned, sometimes the best thing to do is just relax, embrace the absurd and enjoy the ride. It always seems to work for me.
However, you gotta admit, it was both a clever and funny throwback to last season's "chicken fingers" episode to reveal the real bandit to be Troy's monkey still roaming free through the ventilation ducts, stealing pens, "Troy and Abed in the Morning" mugs and other assorted paraphernalia.
Here are a few winning Community quotes from the episode:
Jeff: Annie, relax.
Britta: No you relax Jeff! Or are you afraid that if you do, my pen will fall out?! | permalink
Abed: If I could just take a moment to share a few words of sarcasm with whoever it is that took this pen. I wanna say thank you for doing this to me. For a while I thought I'd have to suffer through a puppy parade, but I much prefer being entombed alive in a mausoleum of feelings I can neither understand nor reciprocate. So whoever you are, can I get you anything? Ice cream, best friend medal, anything? | permalink
Pierce: Sheesh... I guess it's true what they say about the sync-up. | permalink
Shirley: Jeff, you don't have a bag?
Jeff: I could never deprive the world of the portion of my chest the strap would cover. | permalink
Shirley: I'm simply a Christian woman that doesn't open her bag.
Jeff: What did the Christian woman think would happen when we got to her bag?
Shirley: The Christian woman thought you'd find it on the Muslim. | permalink
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.