Community: Paradigms of Human Memory

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

Thursday night's episode of Community was the type of offering we've come to expect from this groundbreaking, often dense and sometimes even inscrutable program. There was once again lots of meta-humour, recurring themes and signature behaviours from off-kilter archetypes, and the type of clever wordplay and pop-culture references that inspire awe. It might cause one to wonder how the show, like the rest of their Thursday-night cohorts, could possibly appeal to the average joe on his couch, flipping around channels during prime-time.

It integrates exceeding instances of pop-culture allusions, which are worked into the plot in a graceful and natural fashion through the savant/autistic Abed, as well as impressively biting and sharp insults and repartee. Community, of course, as anyone who watches the program is aware, is undoubtedly the most clever of the NBC Thursday line-up, which is quite a feat when one realizes that they share the evening with long-time fan favourite The Office and its kin Parks and Recreation.

We came to see perhaps its most ambitious installment on Thursday, in an episode which was at the same time linking but very much disjointed, abstract, divergent and tangential. There was the tying up of loose ends such as what happened to Troy's monkey and thus what happened to all of the treasured items which the group believed to have been stolen from them throughout the year. However, at the same time, the show introduced novel flashbacks which referred to incidents which had never actually occurred, been mentioned, or seen in the slightest in the show's short history.

Most interestingly, however, were the through-lines which ran between each unheard-of adventure which was now being presented, and their connection to the moment in time in which the "current" events of the episode were transpiring. Jeff's motivational speech, along with Abed's noting of the possible sexual relationship existing between Jeff and Britta, both rang through all of the different dimensions with variations of events slightly altering the specifics, illustrating the perpetuity of the group's predicament and the inescapability of their fates a la Groundhog Day, so long as they continue to socialize with one another.

Essentially, the basis and the purpose of the episode was to satirize recurring motifs within this show and all other shows following a typical half-hour sitcom format, a point which was driven home with a final send-up of the Dean's continual penchant for dressing in various outfits (often women's attire). In a sense then, Thursday's Community was ingeniously able to summarize, while satirizing, its own history in a highly innovative, unique and interesting way. I urge you to stay tuned to this show, as there is no telling to what limits it will strive in reforming and defying the conventions of television with its wildly original concepts and the approaches to conveying them.

See you next week, class.

Tags: Community , Paradigms, Human , Memory, Jeff, Britta , NBC

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