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Community Review: "Intro to Political Science" (2.17)

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<em>Community</em> Review: "Intro to Political Science" (2.17)

For all of its focus on growth and change, Community has tended to shy away from all but the most temporary sexual relationships. The first season had its somewhat awkward will they/won’t they dynamic between Jeff and Britta, and the second season has had Shirley and Chang’s one night stand, but nothing has stuck and everyone has stayed either alone or, in the case of Shirley, with their significant other largely off camera.

“Intro to Political Science” doesn’t do too much to change this, but it does in a way highlight the issue. While Jeff has done his best to stop anything from happening between him and Annie romantically (which makes sense given how much younger than him she is), the tension between them hasn’t resolved. Every time they’re alone in a room together there’s a hint that something might happen again and I don’t think I’m entirely projecting when I say that as with their previous debates that was the real drive behind their political rivalry.

The main story for the episode is in fact this political confrontation, which begins because Vice-President Biden is headed to campus and Greendale lacks a student body president to greet him. So an impromptu election is staged, with a whole swath of irrelevant candidates and Annie. In response to her idealistic wish to help out the school, Jeff also runs. As far as main characters go, Pierce is also briefly in the running, but that ends as soon as he’s successfully heckled another one off her candidacy. He was just running to enact a petty revenge… which, it should be noted isn’t too far off from the reason why Jeff’s running.

When it looks like Jeff may actually win, Annie takes the nuclear option and brings out an old tape of Jeff auditioning for the Real World. He’s unsurprisingly devastated by this, so much so that Annie drops her candidacy as well and goes to comfort her former adversary. It’s here especially that Jeff and Annie get close to something more, only broken up by a too timely interruption from Pierce. It’s an irritatingly sit-com-y moment, but oh well. Annie and Jeff remain apart, but I do hope the show moves towards a resolution with their plot, since this has worked out for season two but I’d be unhappy if the next season also hinges on this same will they/won’t they tension—or alternately it would be nice for the show to end on a more definite note regarding these two main characters.

Abed works in two capacities during “Intro to Political Science,” but both of them are interesting and play to his strengths. The first of these is part of a newscast of the election with Troy, giving us a wonderful parody of what’s usually news coverage at its worst. As with last week, it’s a style parody that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the episode and elections are more than just a part of our political system, they’re also a sit-com staple and something that actually makes sense for a show centered on a school unlike, say, a zombie invasion.

But he also has his own plot, too, being stalked by an attractive female secret service agent who seems to share many of the same Aspberger’s symptoms that he does. Abed has always come off as asexual but has hinted that it’s not due to lack of interest, it’s just that he’s accepted he hasn’t been right for anyone yet. Here he finds a woman he understands and who understands him and, while it wasn’t quite as thrilling as the episode’s main story, it was an interesting way of letting him actually have a real romantic involvement… or at least something close to one.I don’t think we’ll be seeing too much of the agent in the future, but it was still a development that deepens the show. As could be seen from the news ticker at the bottom of the screen, Community episodes don’t exist in a vacuum, so while she’s unlikely to become a main character, so long as there’s time I think we can safely assume she’ll be back, much like Annie’s Boobs.

Another great episode, and while it’s not a landmark, it still was a delight all the way through. It also functioned as a less serious break before the show takes us back to more pressing issues. I’m guessing Shirley’s pregnancy can’t stay on the back burner for too much longer.

Stray observations:
•”I want to go to rehab and compare penises with famous people.”
•The commentary on how little the “study group” actually studies is a nice touch. I forget at times that they’re doing this for John Oliver’s anthro class.
•Classic “wingers” tally was a nice touch. The notches gag is what I would call “classic Abed.”
•My girlfriend says that Annie’s sweater in this episode is “awesome.” So, umm… yeah.
•She also says that Jeff’s new haircut is disappointing.
•”I think 9-11 was bad and, freedom, well that’s just a little bit better.” – So he’s a republican, then?
•What was Leonard “Rodriguez”’s original last name?
•Both the news crawl and the candidate profiles had some amazing jokes that are worth taking the time to check out. Nice, Simpsons-esque way to bring in more of the show’s universe.
•”Do you just constantly have your own little side adventures?” “Yup.” “...me too.”
•Where did everyone get those hats from at the election?
•Jeff’s pandering Spanish accent is so wonderful. He really should go into politics.
•”I’m sorry you weren’t a more obvious potential threat to the country.”
•Annie: “We’ve all been 19.” – Isn’t she still 19?
•How many injuries does that make it for Pierce now?
•Seven people voted for South Park? That’s a pretty lame hinge the entire episode on. This was my one real disappointment this week.
•Please note the “Western theme” end of year picnic on the news crawl? That promises to be AMAZING.

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