Though it's spring/tax extension filing season in the rest of the northern hemisphere, it's Christmas in Greendale - and, as we learned on "Intro to Knots," that means soiled Die Hard tank tops, Chang-tastic double-crosses and Alex DeLarge himself tied to a living room chair.
Oh, what, your last Christmas was more exciting?
Though "Intro to Knots" had no amazing moments, it featured something even more important: plenty of good moments. On a show that's suffered through wild swings in quality all season, this episode was at least solid.
Rather than bouncing from great joke to weak joke and back again (like a few recent episodes that I could name), this half hour was an excellent example of how Community can, when really motivated, perform what is perhaps the sitcom's most sacred duty: create episodes with essentially the same level of quality each week.
Though this episode didn't blow any minds with its advanced Muppetry, it did successfully advance the Community Season 4 agenda ever-so-slightly, including fleshing out Shirley, giving a bit of heft to Troy and Britta's relationship (finally! And all from a guy tied to a chair!) and getting a smidgen closer to the bottom of all this false Changnesia.
Malcolm McDowell's Professor Cornwallis has been one of this season's inarguable delights, and this episode was enjoyable most of all for giving us an opportunity to really soak in his snooty, smarmy, student-harrassing charm (and his many biting Community quotes, of course). Of all of Greendale's celebrity professors, I think he might be my favorite... though I can't believe we made it through his entire appearance without a single foot-rub joke.
More than a paper-thin placeholder episode, but less than a brain-bending epic, "Intro to Knots" attempted, and succeeded, at performing the difficult sitcom grunt-work required to keep a show going as the seasons add up; moving along a decent plot, dishing up consistent jokes and letting us know all the characters just a little bit better (did any of you peg Jeff for a Tom Waits man? I saw him more as a Dylan guy, myself). And it just might signal the direction that Community Season 5 would take, if that ship ever sails.
However, it did leave me with a few questions, like: how the hell does Jeff have such a nice apartment?
What do you think Chang's end game is? Were you surprised that Shirley is in the running for valedictorian? Did you like the "dark timeline" callback? Does your family traditionally celebrate Christmas in April?