Community Season 4 Review “Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations”

Community returned tonight with the fifth episode of its divisive fourth season with the very funny “Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations”. It was a little weird having a Thanksgiving episode in early March, but I’m just glad that we got another season of this great comedy, despite how belated it might have been.

Tonight’s installment was the episode that we’ve all been waiting for: We finally get to meet Jeff’s dad! The character of Jeff’s dad, as well as the actor who would play him, has been a very hotly debated and exciting topic, so it was great to finally get to meet him! James Brolin did a great job playing daddy Winger, but Workaholic’s Adam DeVine did an even better job as Jeff’s crazy half-brother Willy Jr.! Jeff’s dad suggesting to Britta that “Maybe you could shrink his head since you’re here…for some reason” was hilarious. The great cherry on top, though, was Britta running off to console Willy: “Show me on the dinner roll where you’re hurt!”

It got a little bit too heavy towards the end of the evening where we find out that Jeff actually used to cut himself to get attention from his schoolmates. Community has always done a good job at balancing the funny stuff with the heartwarming character development, but finding out the that the lead character of a TV show is this psychologically damaged is pretty alarming. I’d be interested to hear what everybody else thought about that little character development, though.

Shirley’s Thanksgiving storyline was also pretty funny, as we get a little bit of a Shawshank Redemption send-up with Abed, Troy, Annie and Pierce being imprisoned in Shirley’s house with her crazy family. The only thing that kinda bugged me about this was that we never saw any of what was driving everybody so crazy. It was an odd choice for everybody to be kept off-screen, and the only family member we actually even heard from was Shirley’s father-in-law. It would have been a little easier to relate to them if we actually saw these family members doing the Borat impressions or saying those terrible things about Batman. There was still a lot of great lines here, though, with my favorites being Troy finishing Annie and Abed’s sentence with”…Eat garbage dip! Why did I go third?” Abed drawing their escape route on his stomach was pretty great, with Shirley pointing out “I know what my house looks like…”

Overall I really felt that tonight’s episode was one of the best episodes of the season so far, if not the flat-out best. I’m not one of the Community fans that hates every episode of season four, but I’m also not one that will be blindly loving every episode unconditionally. I’m a huge fan of Community, but at this point I’d rather they wrap up this season as best they can and then stop. Four years for a show about college seems fitting, but I’ll be watching no matter what happens!

Random Thoughts:

– I’m still not sure why the dean dresses up every episode now. It used to be a goofy thing that he did every once in a while.

– I liked Pierce constantly referencing that “Abed gets it” as Abed shakes his head.

– Yet another episode without Ken Jeong. I know he was in last week’s episode, but that episode was actually aired out of sequence. I guess Ken was too busy shooting Hangover Part 3 to show up.