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.
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.
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.