Week to week, Community continues to baffle me with its uncanny ability to blend witty comedic one-liners with layer upon layer of character development.
Not that it's in danger of reaching The Good Wife levels of storytelling, but I don't mind going on record saying that it may just be the most brilliant, character-rich comedy in recent memory.
Pierce is such an unlikable grump, with his misogynistic and borderline racist ideals, and more often than not it seems the rest of the group is one step away from ejecting him altogether.
For a split second on "Celebrity Pharmacology," I had the impression that perhaps there was a big softie underneath his pervy exterior, but, of course, this is Pierce we're talking about. He is incapable of understanding the constraints of normal social behavior; and this week we were given a big clue as to why.Pierce watching an old video of his father's commercial was heartbreaking. What it must have been like for Pierce to grow up with a father who would rather use a child actor, whose name he didn't even know, to pose as his son than to let his own earnest offspring stand at his side. What was worse, he went on to degrade Pierce by telling the young actor his father was lucky to have a son of whom he could be proud.
Pierce is so desperate for validation, he'll try to buy and bully his way into the spotlight, no matter who he may hurt in the process - Annie, the impressionable young theatre patrons, even himself. It makes his constant offending almost sympathetic, if not excusable. Chevy Chase really outdid himself, and I think this was his best episode yet.
Shirley, meanwhile, had a moment that gave us a peek into her internal struggle. She still can't deal with Chang, who may very well be the father of her unborn child, because to confront that situation would be to stand eyeball to eyeball with her former self and stare into the face of her imperfections. Something is wrong with Chang alright; thus, in Shirley's eyes, all evidence points to there being something wrong with herself.
As we've learned in bits and pieces throughout the season, Shirley has made a massive U-turn in an effort to change the direction her life, becoming a bit judgmental and pious in the process. All of this, though, is merely the overcompensating of a woman clearly in pain. Her ex really did a number on her self-esteem, and even though we haven't really learned of the timing, I'd be willing to bet her days of endless beer benders probably occurred around the time that he left her.
She is absolutely fighting some massive demons, and even though Yvette Nicole Brown only had a few moments to do so, she perfectly conveyed that angst.
But wait? Isn't this supposed to be a comedy?
Let's highlight some funny parts before we drown our sorrows too deeply into our "Troy and Abed in the Morning" mugs:
- Jeff's one-sided conversation with Abed about the text messages he was sending Britta's nephew.
- Marijauna Pierce fake farting into Puss'N'Jeff's face (crude, yes, but still funny).
- Britta's misunderstand of a naughty emoticon
- Annie living above a "marital aid store."
- Period fairies.
- Dean Pelton's penchant for bee costumes and Jeff Winger portraits.
- Drug-free baseballs.
- Abed's Scooby-Doo reference.
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.