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Community Review: Big Cheddar vs. Tinkletown

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The thing about a brilliant comedy like Community is that sometimes it gives you what you didn't even know you needed. In "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism," it provided us some insight into Shirley's past.

Shirley has always been the sweet, conservative mother who strayed far from the evil ways and blunders of the rest of the study group. This week, however, we found out that her past affected Jeff Winger in a way we never could have guessed. Yes, young Shirley made young Jeff pee himself.

Young Shirley and Jeff

That picture you're looking at is of young Shirley - aka "Big Cheddar" - whooping Jeff "Tinkletown" at foosball. I just need to mention Jeff's rat-tail hairdo for a minute because there were multiple kids in my elementary school who rocked that trend. This whole scenario is so 90s and I love it.

Little did we know that Shirley was such a badass kid and her taunting ways helped shape the pretend-secure, overcompensating sarcastic Jeff Winger that we know and love today. I once read that creator Dan Harmon said the hardest character to write for is Shirley. Still, he rose to the challenge and created a storyline that really made us see this woman in a new light.

Her badass childhood only made me understand and love her more. It also presented an opportunity for her to bond with Jeff, something we hadn't seen much of before. The B story touched, meanwhile, on the roommate dynamic of Troy, Abed, and Annie. 

Annie's OCD tendencies led her to accidentally break Abed's special edition of The Dark Knight. When she and Troy panicked about how to handle it, Troy brought up one of the most universal truths in the world of Community: Abed knows everything. 

Abed does know everything, including how to do a perfect imitation of Christian Bale's throaty Batman voice. Annie could have used a lesson or two, but let's give the girl a break: she was crying while giving it a shot. However, if Abed is so wise, how did he not see that Annie was lying? Maybe he didn't want to see it. It could be as simple as Troy, Abed and Annie's bond overriding the anger Abed had about the DVD. 

This episode was full of love and awesome quotes. Heck, even Britta loved her cat enough to get it Lasik. As usual, hit the comments and lament how there's only one episode of Community remaining until... who the heck even knows when.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (80 Votes)

Leigh Raines is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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    20 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    Farhad doesn\'t want to be good, I don\'t think he was really a rretorist, he jsut wanted the rods so he could have power over america. Did you see how scared he was when the bad ass rretorist Samir was talking to him? That is not the face of someone commited to anything.

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    Miss Annie takes after her rock star parnets! Could I borrow her for a bit to show my little guy how much fun it is to poop on the potty? LOVE the pics.

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    i like community but i had to go take a poo when it was on tv tonight
    it sounds like i missed a really great episode
    but they missed an enormous crap

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    my wiener gets stiff when britta talks.
    her breasts are special especially in the nipple region.
    but i do wonder if she has something really weird or freaky under her shirt like a third or fourth nip.
    anyway my wiener gets really stiff when she talks

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    Really enjoyed this one. I thought everyone was on their A game, especially Annie, Troy and Shirley. Although I'm in the minority, I was glad we got a break from Britta because she's had so much focus this season (and probably will for the rest of it). I didn't miss her at all. I loved that we finally got some good Shirley story line. She's not my favorite character and I don't want too many episodes to focus on her, but I always appreciate when they do. I liked the backstory, even if it was a bit cliche and like Friends when we discover that they knew each other as kids. Still, I enjoyed it a lot. The human foosball bit was so funny and unexpected, as was the anime sequence. All round great episode.

    Joyeful

    I loved this episode!! I think the Jeff/Shirley storyline was the best, and I absolutely love when they give Yvette Nicole Brown some depth to work with. When Jeff told Shirley, "I like you best when you're bad" (paraphrasing), I think he was speaking for the entire Community audience. That was great.

    The Troy/Abed/Annie storyline was fun! I love how tongue-in-cheek Community is - to acknowledge that the friend-destroying-priceless-item thing is overdone, and then do it anyway! Troy freaking out is ALWAYS hilarious.

    The vanity card at the end was a nice touch, kudos to Dan Harmon, I laughed my butt off. The whole point of having it was a jab at the competition. It's no coincidence that the vanity card was from a character named Leonard....let's see, what other show has vanity cards at the end and also has a character named Leonard, that airs on Thursday nights at 8pm?

    Piecar

    Great episode. This one was worthy of season one. I loved it all the way down the line....and then the unexpected anime! Excellent! A gimmick that SUPPORTS the story but ISN'T the story. Terrific.
    Troy, Abed and Annie's plot was great too. It's true that the "Broken Priceless Item" ep is hackenyed...But this did something interesting to the characters, and so I like it. Everyone moved into a different role. Troy counselled restraint like an ironic adult, Annie concocted a silly plan like a goofy teenager, and Abed acted like a goony kid. All outside their wheelhouses. I thought that was a great twist. It gave Troy more time for his excellent one liners and expressions, and gave Annie something better to do that be a prig.
    The Leonard thing confused me, and the tag was weird. It seemed like it was setting something up for the future.

    All in all, this is the Community I like. Everybody left as friends, and everyone really had each other's well being at heart. I have felt, in the last few episodes, like the Creators have been casting about to see what kind of "Community" the fan base wants, or what works best. I think this episode is what I want, and I thought it worked the best out of the last half dozen.

    And a Shirley centric ep. IT's ABOUT TIME!

    I liked it.

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    Loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it. What am I going to do when it goes on hiatus after next week (besides boycott live and DVR showing of NBC shows, of course?). Here's hoping the NBC executives realize sooner rather than later that they really Britta-ed it and bring the show back pronto!

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    Found it, Greendale is where I belong, written specifically for the show.

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    What was the song that played as Jeff and Shirley walked away as kids?




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