Community, all you had to do was keep cool, write some more jokes and lay low for the rest of the semester. Become more accessible to the masses for the sake of staying alive. Instead, you’ve given us a world where we’ve had to suspend our disbelief on countless occasions, first for hyper-legitimate celebrity impersonators and now for an all-out pillow fight between the entire school. It’s insane, uncompromising, and downright suicidal.
But it’s also brilliant.
If there is no season four of Community, then we’ll only have humorless TV execs (and I guess Chevy Chase) to blame. “Pillows and Blankets,” along with its predecessor ”Digital Exploration of Interior Design,” were two episodes that show the versatility of this staff of writers in the face of absolute chaos behind the scenes. The show’s meager life hangs in the balance, and they decide to do extensive product placement. Make Subway a character you say? Give him lines and a heart and a venue to bring out the hypocritical Britta we all know and love? Preposterous! Before last week I shied away from even the possibility of sponsorship being the classy way out, it certainly wasn’t for Chuck so why would it be now. Yet it worked, it brought genuine laughs, and it’s proof that NBC’s little comedy-that-could truly can.
And then there’s “Pillows and Blankets,” one-hundred percent outside of the lines even for Community yet somehow entirely plausible. A narrative voice details for his audience the History Channel-esque drama that is Troy’s battle with Abed. In a way it was a proper venue for the writers to draw creative ideas from the realm of Arrested Development all while moving their own characters forward, and they get both an A for effort as well as for the finished product. The laughs may not have been as frequent or sustainable, but the conceptual design and message behind it all more than make up for the lack of easy punchlines.
I wrote this post mainly because I’ve been slacking off on my television reviews. The plethora of albums I’m trying to cover over the next couple of weeks is taking up all of my focus, but it’s no excuse for ignoring the genius of Community these past few weeks. If you disagree, I completely understand how these last four episodes can be alienating and confusing, given that the usual 6-way banter has been lacking recently. But I hope fans can say that they’ve been watching on Hulu and supporting the show in any way at all. Pick up a Subway sandwich, get someone with a Nielsen Box to watch the show (never met one, but they’re out there somewhere). Or at the very least, help us be vocal with our support for one of the best comedies currently on TV. It’s certainly the comedy we need, not the one we deserve.