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Community Review: Birthing Ben Bennett

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Right off the bat, you have to appreciate an episode that gives both Shirley and Chang more than three lines a piece, not to mention Dean Pelton.

Something "Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts" achieved that no other episode has done to date is make me double over with laughter, at one scene in particular.

I know I've chided sight gags before, but the horrified look on Britta's face as she peered into the dark nether regions of Shirley's skirt had me rolling. I had to rewind it again, at least twice.

Shirley Gives Birth
This was Gillian Jacobs' best episode yet, by a mile. Often Britta's Earth Mother-y ways come off more annoying than funny, but this time the role served her well when it came to delivering Shirley's baby. It also gave us another hilariously snarky exchange between she and Jeff:

Jeff: Look, backseat birther. Shirley's on her third kid. She doesn't need a thirty-year old slacker with two one-eyed cats governing her body.

Britta: First of all, together my cats can do anything. Secondly, you disqualified yourself from this conversation the moment you decided to grow a wang.
Jeff: I regret nothing.
Britta: I feel sorry for the airhead you're gonna knock up at the age of 70. You're gonna be sitting in the waiting room playing solitaire on your Blackberry while a life is created ten feet from you.
Jeff: Oh and you're gonna squat in a babbling brook and a beautiful starchild is gonna slide out on a ray of sunshine while your cats each half watch because you're so natural.

The funniest line of the episode, though, came by way of someone we've never seen before (or at least she thinks so), Fat Neil's would-be girlfriend, when she said: "We came so close to having one class that wasn't all about them." It's funny, because it's true.

Pierce buying off Abed and Troy's handshake Indecent Proposal-style seemed a bit disconnected from the rest of the episode. It delivered a couple of amusing lines, but sort of dragged the energy down a bit. (The Troy/Abed epilogue didn't have the same oomph I've come to expect from them either.) When Abed joined in trying to help with Shirley, even though his genitals disqualified him from participating, the episode definitely flowed better (especially given his referenced back-of-a-van experience with child delivery).

I thought it was actually sweet, and oddly fitting, that after all the anger Shirley had tossed out at Chang for months that he would be the one at her side to calm her, even though the baby turned out not to be his. At least she named it after him.

Maybe now, Chang won't have to stare longingly through a window, wanting to be a part of the Study Group Group. If anything qualifies him for admission, surely this is it.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
  • 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (35 Votes)

Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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And Abed actually appeared giving birth in the back of a van to a baby, it appeared in the back of an outdoor take. I just can't remember the exact episode...

Eagleone

Gillian Jacobs was funny here !

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@Benjamin I saw the episode again and totally loved the bit about the fire alarm already being pulled down behind Shirley.
I loved the episode. Can't wait for the paintball episodes!!

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Loved the episode! And I actually was a fan of the Troy/Abed/Pierce bit. "Who's Betty Grable" and "Make your money, whore" were delivered just like we would expect from their characters. Good call on the "fire alarm" easter egg, Benjamin. Makes me appreciate the tag even more.

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Fat Neil's would-be girlfriend is actually Vicky, a new character we've seen twice before.

Piecar

Yeah. The B story was weak. And ultimately came to nothing. I'm sorry they threw it in there just to adhere to convention. This episode approached, dare I say it?, Drama. I watched it a second time and found more to laugh at. Troy's dejected 'No.' to Pierce was great, and Chang's rapid patter on the myriad Chang's births was awesome (born under the eating counter while his grandfather finished his lunch! Chang's are tough!) The Neil/Starburns/Forgettable Girl bit was excellent. It, again, alluded to the St. Paddy's Day excursion, which I'd love to know more about (Though the river shark adventure, complete with a nasty belly wound on Troy is at the top of my list there.) Duncan was actually GOOD this time around.
Chang's close up when Andre came in was heart rending. Poor bastard almost attained some normality there. I didn't mind the tag. I think the trouble there is that it's a known entity now. It's tough to amuse when you know it's coming. Not like the Spanish Rap days or the first Abed and Troy in the Morning.

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The tag was actually brilliant if you noticed that in the classroom, behind Shirley, that fire alarm was already pulled down.

Community Season 2 Episode 22 Quotes

My nephew Jim was born on the treadmill at Bally Total Fitness; 20% incline.

Chang

Chang babies love the sauce, you know? Alcohol AND Duck.

Chang
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