Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Community" - "Geography of Global Conflict"

Spoilers for the latest "Community" after the jump:

"Geography of Global Conflict" might be the worst "Community" episode since early in season 1. I'm not saying the show hasn't had a few less-than-stellar episodes since then. "Basic Rocket Science" comes to mind. But while that episode was a mess, it was at least a mess brought about by an interesting concept. And given the show usually makes its interesting concepts into superb episodes, the fact that it failed in this one instance didn't seem like a big deal. And indeed it wasn't, as the show went on an absolute tear after that, producing brilliant installments based around things like a zombie attack, a clip show, and the search for a missing pen.

Here's the thing, though: this episode isn't based around an interesting concept. It covers similar ground to last season's "Intro to Political Science", though it substitutes a "mock U.N.-off" for a presidential debate. The general execution is similar from a storytelling standpoint. The difference is that the U.N. battle isn't as funny as the debate. It's actually not very funny at all, and that's an issue it's hard to get past. Unfortunately, the problems don't stop there. The entire episode suffers from a definite feeling of sloppiness in the writing that even extends to the scenes that aren't trying (and failing) to be funny.

For instance, I'm not entirely sure what was meant to happen in that scene with Jeff and Annie. There's some dialogue about her general need to grow up as well as some material involving Jeff's own behavior towards Annie, but by the time all was said and done I didn't really feel we learned anything new or interesting about the characters. I liked the eventual resolution to the U.N. battle much better, but it wasn't enough to make the rest of the episode feel any less forgettable. And that's without even mentioning the Britta and Chang B-plot, which made little sense and failed to elicit even a mild chuckle from this reviewer. Well, okay... the paper eating scene was pretty good.

Please, let's not hesitate to call this what it is: a pretty bad episode of "Community" and a rather mediocre half-hour of TV overall. There were scattered laughs, such as the camera cutting away just a few seconds after Jeff said it wouldn't, Pierce's incredibly offensive remarks about Asians and women, and pretty much every line delivered by guest star Martin Starr. But they weren't plentiful enough to redeem a pair of main ideas that just didn't work. I love this show so much, but like just about every comedy it's capable of delivering a lousy installment once in a while. My suggestion to both the writers and fans of this series is to forget it and move on.  

Grade: C+

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