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Community Season Finale Review: "For a Few Paintballs More"

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It sounds strange to say it, but I couldn't believe how much I was looking forward to this week's Community. Don't get me wrong, it's one of my favorite shows on television, but how often are you really that excited for a weekly comedy to return?

But after last's week's part one of this round of paintballing adventures turned out to be one of my favorite episodes ever, I couldn't wait for this second installment. It was going to be my reward for a hellish day.

Community Paintball Scene

So, possibly because I way over-hyped the episode, "For A Few Paintballs Or More" just did not do it for me as one of my favorite show's second season finales.

Allow me to go over what I thought worked and what didn't work.

The Stars Wars motif. The western theme of last week's episode was phenomenal. This week, the meta joke about switching to Star Wars was funny, but then the actual switch never really happened. Outside of Abed's Han Solo impression and the storm troopers, there was very little Star Wars. Heck, Chuck did more of it this week.

Annie and Abed.  These two are some of my favorite characters...but apart. I don't know what kind of pheromones Star Burn's stinky jacket were giving off, but Abed could do all the Han Solo impressions he wants and I still don't see the chemistry between these two.

Annie and Jeff, despite their creepy age gap, share more chemistry in a parodied look.

City College's plot. From the moment the ice cream mask came off, the episode kind of went downhill for me.  I like the rivalry, and the creepy sexual tension between the Deans, but for whatever reasons, these guys just did not work as the bad guys this week.

Cougar Town. I love the continuing nods and references Community makes to Bill Lawrence's little cul-de-sac crew. But having Dan Byrd (Travis) and  Busy Phillips (Laurie) quietly guest star in the crowd?  Amazing!

Jeff Winger. For once it was nice to see the usual lead man taken down. Taking that bullet early was one thing, but even going so far as to almost pass, or at least share the torch, with ...

Troy. He's easily one of the least utilized characters on the show. He's often given so little, but does so much with his material. Seeing him given the chance to lead the group a little, I have to wonder if that was a meta reference for them giving him more story lines in season three. I sure hope so because as much as Jeff wants a "more Shirley" campaign, I feel the same with Troy. Speaking of ...

Shirley. My colleague Jeff, who usually reviews these episodes, must have reached the top with his "more Shirley" campaign. She was fantastic as she took matters into her own hands and channeled the old Shirley from her security guard episode.  It was great when it seemed she was Greendale's last chance as she grabbed Britta in her golf cart and drove off for one last impossible mission. That was until you remembered ...

Pierce. Clearly the show has been setting something up with Pierce all season. His biggest change into the evil villain definitely came during "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons," but the whole season has been about building Pierce up to be a jerk. But for what? This week we may have finally learned what this season long arc was all about.

So the major revelation was that Pierce has been a Greendale student for twelve years. He's gotten close to the school, but never with another student for more than a semester before this study group and he's been purposely sabotaging his relationship with the group.

But the real question to me is more from a casting perspective. Was the cliffhanger of Pierce leaving and making him out as a jerk as an easy way to write of Chevy Chase?  I'm guessing this guy costs serious buck even at this age.

Plus the show seems to have Ken Jeong on lockdown and with his movie career, he's a bigger name with this generation anyway.  Plus, Chang has the evil outsider thing down pat.  Plus with Joel McHale headlining, do you really need another name.

So what do you think, will Chevy Chase be returning as Pierce next season as a regular? Will he rejoin the group or continue to be an outsider? And what did you think of the Community season finale?

I know you're all going to disagree with my rating, but keep in mind, if I were reviewing last week's "A Fist Full of Paintballs," there would have been a 5.0. This just couldn't touch the ridiculousness.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
  • 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (111 Votes)

Eric Hochberger is the programmer of TV Fanatic, so please forgive his mediocre writing. His programming is far better. Follow him on Twitter and/or email him. Just don't request threaded comments. They're coming.

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    Chevy Chase is the heart and soul of community. They all are. I think none can be removed from the "study group", they fill each other out perfectly. To loose Chevy would be really really sad.

    Avatar

    I loved this episode...even more than Modern Warfare. I very much enjoyed the way they only sort of had the theme of Star Wars, way too many shows have already done that, but Community handled it perfectly. The two deans were hysterical and the Annie/Abed thing was possibly the funniest thing I have seen this year, I.really hope they continue it next year. Britta and Shirley's heroics were phenomenal although I would have hoped more of this season to have focused on Brittany (without her thing with Jeff) Overall a great season, most improved show by far and the funniest show on Tv by far. That ended with the funniest episode on TV this year.

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    *It's very hard to write comedy villains that will persist throughout a series. An actual nemesis used for comedy requires a certain amount of humanity balanced with an actual good reason to hate the character Plus, as I said, it requires some power to wield over a group or character.

    Avatar

    Honestly, I loved Abed and Annie. I think a lot of times people worry that one scene will lead to something bigger, but I doubt that was the intention. If I were writing, with the "overarcing" (quotations because it wasn't really) reference to Star Wars, they are the only two characters you could really do that with and keep a Jeff/Troy kind of rivalry things as the main focus. So, no one should take the Abed/Annie kiss as foreshadowing to next season. It just wouldn't make sense, and I think the writers are smart enough to do that. We've trusted them so far, right? That said, I do agree the episode wasn't the best. But I don't think any writer is going to top last seasons' paintball episode. I would be incredibly sad if Chevy Chase left Community. You were saying that Troy is one of the least used characters, which is true, but Pierce has sort of become this poor facsimile of an actual villain. The one place where the writing has consistently failed, I think, is in their attempts to get the audience to pity Mr. Chase' character. Between the Valentine's day episode and his last speech, they have persisted in making Pierce a villain, and then attempted to humanize the character for us. However, and this will probably sound contradictory, I think what they need to do is take Pierce out for two or three episodes. Make us actually miss the character, and then slowly reintroduce him. They need to make us want him in the group, and as it stands, he's just kind of there (and then not there and then there and then not there again). He's background and the occasional drug abuse joke or old person gag (which we have Leonard for). Introduce a new character to hate, or bring back an old one, but make us ACTUALLY not like him. That way, we can want Pierce in the group. Another possibility is pitting the villain Pierce against an actual Villain as a side story. It's very hard to write comedy villains that will persist throughout a series. An actual nemesis used for comedy requires a certain amount of humanity balanced with an actual good reason to hate the character. With Pierce, because he's in the group and written as he is, it's going to be harder to write him as the villain. I mean, Chang lost all of his bite because he rerouted his goal into joining the group instead of being a total jack ass. Even comparing it to Glee, Sue Sylvester as a character has become less a nemesis and foil for the Glee Club, and is more now a sympathetic character. She lost any threat you felt from her once her power over the Glee Club was taken away. Their best bet for a nemesis is dropping the whole Pierce-as-villain angle and making a character outside the group the villain, whether new or old. Agree/disagree?

    Fortyseven

    Great episode. I totally forgot about Pierce. I love that Pierce won. Good writing to have him leave the group too.

    Hochberger

    @Piecar - Fixed the title. Thanks for the correction! Don't worry, Jeff will be back all of next season to cover the show!

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    I don't see the Annie/Abed chemistry either but you have to admit that shot of them kissing and the paint trickling down the windows was beautiful. I don't think that Chevy Chase is being written out at all. The direction this season has been a little all over and I think they were trying to set up a arc for next season. Remember when Pierce left the group last season and they started trying to make someone the new Pierce? I think something similar to that is going to happen.

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    Don't see the Abed/Annie chemistry either...I hope this storyline does not continue.

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    This season finale is genius. One reason why I love Community so much is that there's something extra beneath all that silly meta humor. Maybe something about Pierce's speech at the end hit home for me personally. I thought the show had went on cruise control towards the end of season 2, but the 2-parter finale really has to be one of my all time favorite episodes of any TV show EVER.

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    I didn't like the previous episode, but it helped me enjoy this week's installment even more, as my expectations were lowered for this episode, unlike for last week's episode. All the characters were utilized in a good way and everything just fell into place. Shirley got the most important part...for two seconds. And this is like two seconds after her giving birth, so kudos, girl. The Abed/Annie kiss is two years in the making, so that was no surprise. And then it was dropped like yesterday's paper. (Annie seriously needs a boyfriend who's *not* Jeff, stat. Her falling for anyone with even a bit of authority in a situation is getting old. She's hot when she does it, don't get me wrong, but character development, please). I loved her in this episode, though. Shirley/Britta team ftw. I was glad Troy/Jeff rivalry resurfaced. Also, Troy hasn't been shown to do much in MW and the last episode, so I'm glad he got to share the spotlight here. I can't believe this was the finale :( come back soon...but wait until you have a good script, of course. Don't rush that much.