Two for two this week. After pronouncing this week's Modern Family the most unfunny episode yet, I'm afraid I have to say the same for Community.
There comes a point where you get so comfortable in a character's traits that you get stuck in a recycle loop to where it feels like the characters never really grow, and "Competitive Wine Tasting" is a prime example of that.
Abed studying Who's The Boss felt like an incredible missed opportunity. Yes, we know Abed is obsessed with television and movies, we get it. But this plot thread went no where. What did Abed get out of taking the class except proving he knew better than the professor? There wasn't even anything funny about it, except for perhaps the gun in the professor's drawer alongside the What's Happening textbook, and that's even a stretch. Maybe a guest appearance by Tony Danza would have made a difference…but I doubt it.
Jeff is so smarmy that sometimes I want to knock his GQ teeth in. His desperate need to be the most desirable man anywhere he goes is getting old, as is his jealous reaction to Pierce getting the girl over him, despite her intentions. I used to snicker at Jeff Winger's narcissistic tendencies, but they've really run it into the ground.
As for Pierce, well, there's not much I can say about him. He is who he is, disgusting innuendos and all. At least we can count on him to say something hilariously inappropriate each week.
Troy and Britta taking acting class didn't come anywhere close to the humor their dance recital delivered. The only thing it did for me was deliver a euphemism I'd never heard before: plop-plop. I'm also getting really bored with Britta's incessant need to champion the downtrodden. Can we give her something else to do please, maybe that makes her seem less pathetic?
Troy is the only character who ever really feels like he has range. Sure, he was just using the acting class to play on Britta's affections, but there's something about Donald Glover's performance that always makes it seem fresh - despite the writing.
I say that in spite of the ending scene of Troy's performance in "Fiddlah, Please!"
There were, however a couple of moments that at least made me smile. Wu May shooting down Jeff's come on and referring to Shirley's girth in gesture while comparing her to Oprah. Troy's aforementioned euphemisms for his backside. The Veronica Mars reference.
And that's about it…
I sure wish Community would take a note out of the Friends playbook. Keep your characters quirky tendencies, but evolve them. Don't just make it all about the quirks. And for pete's sake, balance the use of all your characters appropriately (cough, Shirley, cough).
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.