For the past couple of weeks Community has been largely an ensemble show. Joel McHale naturally steals the show when he’s on due to that whole charisma business of his, but the plots haven’t revolved around him any more than the other characters. Overall it was a nice change of pace that helped flesh out the Community universe. Frankly, it’s impressive that after only a handful of episodes its supporting roles were justified in taking over the show as much as they did.
“Introduction to Statistics” brings things back to Joel-centric mode and, for the most part, works all the better because of it. The episode snaps Community back into a focus on Joel but does so without forgetting why each of them is so interesting in the first place. It’s a balancing act, but this was the first episode to manage things perfectly.
Ken Jeong announces at the beginning of the episode that the school offers extra credit to anyone who hosts a class-relevant event. No one had ever done that before because, well, it’s a community college, but Annie is happy to host a Dia de los Muertos party in an attempt to not just help out her already undoubtedly sterling grades, but also because she wants to become popular. If she’s able to throw a college party, even if it’s class-related and, frankly, looks rather like what an elementary school teacher would do for their students, oh well.
The crux of her plan is getting Joel, the cool guy who everyone wants to be there, to the party. Her logic, which the episode agrees with completely, is that if he’s there everyone else will stay and it will be a success. The problem is that Joel is now enamored of his statistics professor, who is of course attractive and younger than him. She’s also not that interested since despite his good looks, charm, and impressive dental hygiene, he’s a student.
Shut down by her, he heads to Annie’s party but is soon told by Senor Chang that his crush is at the faculty party. A $20 bribe later, he’s Chang’s +1 and Annie is left with a party missing its center. Britta, who may or may not be jealous of Joel’s attraction to the professor, confides in Shirley about Joel’s affections and soon the two are running off to stop things, allegedly to help out Annie but for the most part just to stop Joel.
Things kind of blow up in various ways at the faculty party, largely due to Shirley’s unspoken issues with her ex-husband and Chevy Chase taking non-prescription drugs to prove he’s still young. Joel’s plotline turns around, with him heading back to Annie’s party and saving the day at the expense of sleeping with the professor (through a pretty dirty trick). He reconfirms his place in the center of the group and quickly makes all right in the world, etc. etc. More interesting were actually the development of Chase’s feelings of inadequacy and more backstory about Shirley. It looks like the statistics professor will be back in the future, but I can’t imagine her becoming too big a role in the show while both of those aspects seem ripe for more episodes.
Oh, and there’s also Abed as Batman, which doesn’t play a huge part in anything, but is pretty awesome nonetheless. Last week’s episode was interesting enough that it didn’t affect the show’s overall quality, but it never really became a laugh riot. “Introduction to Stastics” shows off how silly, unique, and flat-out hilarious the show can be. From the costumes to the insane monologue to Chase tripping out for a good minute of the episode, “Statistics” was all over the place and nailing everything from the set pieces to snide observations. After finishing the episode, all I can hope for is that my own Halloween party is half as fun as that.
“Which is actually quite offensive to people who know the Mexican Halloween sexual position”
“I saw your father’s ghost again.”
“Hey, you in the skirt, date me!”
“Are you trying to be formidable with me?” “It worked with Pierce.” “Infomercials work with Pierce.”
“I was so unpopular during high school the crossing guard used to lure me into traffic.”
“What are you going as, a gay douchebag?”
“I’m gonna go. I don’t want to miss the news.”
-I love that Joel owns a cowboy outfit just as much as Britta does.
“Why is Urkel ripping the antenna off of Professor Slater’s car?”
“Is he meowing?”
“You know what the crazy thing is, Britta?” “Everything that you’ve done tonight?”
“Please sleep with me, please, pretty please.” Etc. That whole rant was pretty great. Also pretty sad that it actually works.
“I never saw Beastmaster. I just wanted to be cool.”
“More importantly, you’re dressed as a gladiator underneath a desk fort you built during a bad trip.”
-Also AMAZING – the entirety of Abed’s lecture: “I’m Batman … or am I? Yes, I am Batman.”