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Community Review: "Competitive Wine Tasting" Not So Tasty

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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.

A Lesson from Abed

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).

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (34 Votes)

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

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Evan

While the episode wasn't bad, the show is definitely starting to struggle a bit. My suggestion would be to get rid of Pierce and Shirley, probably the two most unfunny characters on a comedy show on TV right now. Also, whats with the almost criminal lack of Annie in these last couple of episodes?

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Yes Shirley is hilarious! but we can't forget that sometimes less is more. The little that Shirley says/does is super funny; as well, we have to assume she'll be getting more screen time in the next few episodes regarding the pregnancy and a possible birth maybe? I forgive Community, for this episode. Of course, they've had better, but you can't expect them to deliver episode after episode during their entire run. I think I know what the problem might be, they need to have more Star Burns cameos, no? lol I actually have no problem with Britta,I love how she's always so empathic, it might be bad writing, but a good real-life quality. Regardless of the fact that her empathy is somewhat connected to her sex-drive lol. However, it is weird how Troy and Abed were so fast to distance themselves from Britta in the last episode, yet this one Troy is all in infatuated with her. LONG LIVE VERONICA MARS :)

Jeffreykirkpatrick

@B - That's because they never use her!
Yvette Nicole Brown is hilarious. The buddy cop episode from Season One showed a little of that. Sadly she never gets a chance to shine.

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Maybe I'm the only one, but I don't find Shirley to be as funny as the rest of you guys seem to. Just thought that needed to be said. Although not the best episode, I don't think it was the worst either.

Piecar

I think the show has been trying to top itself since the paintball ep. They forgot where they came from, and kept trying to catch that lightning in the bottle. The Claymation ep was in answer to that. (and, yes, not a funny episode.) Hey, the "Shirley and Annie Become Security" ep was great too. You don't have to be flashy to make a comedy work. They've forgotten that a little bit. But the Bottle Episode was great, D&D ep was good. I thought the Professor Professorson ep was Outstanding(!!)> So I wouldn't count it out yet. Anyway. This lousy ep doesn't fit into that scheme. It was a basic episode. But all the group didn't get to interact, which makes it lousy. It was just shitty Sitcom tv. Again, like the Drug Play ep, it seemed like it was written by someone's relative. Kristina, I 100% agree that they screwed the pooch on moving Chang from teacher. And they still haven't found a way to use him correctly up to this point. They need to put him back in charge of something, so his mania is inescapable, rather than just a "hilarious" irritant.

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I agree that this show hasn't been the same since the claymation debacle (I couldn't even watch it, I don't care how many people liked it).I hope they'll find some new energy for the next season, cause it does feel stale lately. Honestly, I think they screwed up when they made Chang not a teacher anymore :(

Piecar

About the Tobolowsky thing... I read two review back to back. I always answer this one, if I am compelled, but the OTHER review had retarded Tobolowsky love. I'd edit that part if I could....but that function doesn't exist here.....So, mmmm, whoops.

Piecar

I, too, thought the episode was unfunny. It always astounds me to see that one person who thought flat eps were terrific. I mean, there weren't even any jokes. Donald Glover AGAIN mines laughs out of material that is subpar, and even he couldn't do anything with the tag ending. "Dreidel"? Fiddlah, please! I could have used more of Britta in the unitard, though Jeff and Pierce's story line couldn't have been more telegraphed,or hackneyed. And again. there were no jokes in it...Unless you count the wrinkled penis thing. I wrote some stuf after this to try to be complete...but there's nothing more to say...It just wasn't good or even at the level the show has brought itself I agree with Kirkpatrick on Abed's storyline too. It was completely pointless. We learned nothing new. It wasn't funny. There was no character growth. There was nothing...>What were they after? A chuckle at the Tony/Angela poster? They don't even let us hear Abed's WTB explanation.....add to this that I don't find TOBOL-FREAKIN'-OWSKY nearly as engaging as the reviewer. The man only does one character, whether it be drama or comedy (witness his turn on Deadwood) It was wasted airtime. Chang as plot device (not character)
No Annie.
No Shirley
(no starburns.) YAY! Garret! and wasn't that the OTHER candidate from the elections ep as the Invisible Girl? All in all, a very weak episode. I didn't actively hate it, like I think I did the Say No To Drugs ep, but I found it entirely lamentable....that may be worse. I think the show and the characters are better served when they all are in the same story line. I know that I like the show better when this happens. Having them all divided up sucks. in closing....More Shirley...I swear I'm gonna make a t-shirt. If "Vote For Pedro" could do it......

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Also, the writers are clearly just handing Britta over to Troy so that she'll no longer be an obstacle for Jeff and Annie.

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Community's just not funny anymore. Ever since December, it's felt more like a primetime soap than a comedy.

Community Season 2 Episode 20 Quotes

My uncle never put his finger in my plop-plop. I know, I'm bummed about it too.

Troy

I'm auditioning for Professor Garrity's all-black production of "Fiddler on the Roof." It's called "Fiddlah, Please!"

Troy
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