Community – “Competitive Ecology”

Community – “Competitive Ecology

Greendale Community College has other students. They’re in the background and some of them have even have popped up a few times (Starburns, Leonard, Magnitude) but we focus on the same study group because… well, that’s how TV shows work. So when the study group gets paired with random strangers for lab partners in Prof. Kane’s Biology class, they freak out and re-pair with people from within the group. Except Pierce who due to the odd number of people in the study group gets stuck with outsider Todd (David Neher). Todd is the most understanding person ever, and thus the whole group takes an immediate dislike to him. The group soon finds their intra-group pairings are dysfunctional, and everyone takes this out on Todd who repeatedly insists that he takes no offense (less convincingly each time). I really hope we see more of Todd. The more overtly comic subplot of the episode revolves around campus security officer Chang, who wants to make detective (regardless of the fact that no such position exists in campus security). This leads into an extended riff on film noir voice over narration. It’s the type of joke that’s been done to death on other shows but succeeds here due to one factor: Ken Jeong. He brilliantly deadpans Change’s investigation of a series of entirely unrelated “clues” indicated some larger nonexistent conspiracy. It actually borders on schizophrenia, and like all serious mental disorders is mined for hilarity. Community could potentially get overly reliant on deconstructive genre parodies (they’ve done zombie, spaghetti western, fantasy, and Claymation holiday special episodes before) but it’s one thing that it does very well. Community is still probably my favorite comedy on television.

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