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Community- Episodes 5.12/5.13 "Basic Story/Basic Sandwich"- A great season ends on a sandwich note


A season of Community came to pass in the blink of an eye; 13 episodes is far too short to do what this season intended to do, which was putting back the pieces of the show together, and yet somehow the show managed to do that by episode 4.
The 4th season of the show tried to do an admirable thing, it tried to evolve into a show that was more broad, but at the same time a show that could keep its heart and push characters forward; the writer’s heart was on the right place, but somewhere along the execution a part of the show’s essence felt lost, and that was that Greendale didn’t feel like a place for crazy people to make something better by coming together anymore; season 4 was like a strike of sanity of a place that should be more insane and crazy, and as a result the season often felt slow paced.
So season 5 vowed to make a return to form, and unexpectedly mounted a comeback, reaching the heights of season 2 and 3, but there are still flaws in the way.

The two part finale “Basic Story” and “Basic Sandwich” are a reflection of those flaws as they clinch to some of the most basic and old stories Community has. Yes, I’m talking about the Jeff-Britta-Annie love triangle, which I think by now should have already been resolved.

For most of this season, Community has done what seems to be spiritual squeals of some of their greatest episodes: “Cooperative Polygraphy” is obviously a newer version of “Cooperative Caligraphy”, “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” is a somewhat newer “Basic Lupine Urology”, “Geothermal Escapism” is like “Modern Warfare” and “Advance Advance Dungeons and Dragons”… well, the title already says. “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” aside, all of these sequels works well, but as we go through with them I wonder, why is Community rehashing their old material instead of doing something new? Don’t get me wrong, the show did plenty of new of stuff, but most of the season felt like an attempt to scratch back to what the show once was. It was wonderful, but it does raise a question: what will the show do next season?

Community can’t rely on old stories forever, it has been great to revisit them and to have be able to look to a newer version of them, but along the way it feels like the development just halts for a little bit. We got to see a more vulnerable side to Abed with his interaction with Hickey and with his girlfriend Rachel, Shirley and Jeff became closer together, Chang found a way to tune down the crazy a bit while still being himself, and all that is great, but it’s not that much to carry a whole season.

By going back to its past, Community made hilarious episodes but it had to sacrifice many possible steps forward. “Basic Story” and “Basic Sandwich” fall back once again to the show roots, with the love triangle, but does a terrible job at dealing with it.

When Greendale is surprisingly saved and it is declared a valuable property our beloved community college is quickly sold to Subway. Everyone at Greendale is dealing with the situation in a particular way, Abed and Annie seem to be in denial, looking for a way to fix it, The Dean falls into crying and despair, and Jeff and Britta decide to get married. Yes, it comes that abruptly.
I frowned when I saw these two getting together so fast; the only build up to this was the resurgence of Jeff’s feeling for Britta on “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality” and in that review I commented how I always thought these two still felt something for each other. However, I didn’t expect them to make such a crazy call so soon without proper build up to it.

One of the reasons I didn’t review “Basic Story” last week is because I had to see where things were going, otherwise I would have been quite harsh with this call. And after seeing “Basic Sandwich” I think one of the biggest problems with it is the execution: I don’t buy Jeff and Britta as the kind of couple who holds hands and say lovey dovey stuff to each other, they are more grounded and real than that, so every time they acted so sweet to each other it felt off; I’m sure these two love each other, but that’s just not who they are. And I have seen enough jealous Annie through these 5 seasons to deal with it once again; by this point it is outright bothersome, because I can easily predict what are her thoughts on the matter and what she is going to say.

Abed makes a point that “Jeff and Britta aren’t going to spin off to their own show which will only last 6 episodes” (I love how he expressed it, and Annie’s sudden interjection “Abed! Stop developing!) so it’s a clear sign that by the end of the episode the couple will be broken up. And sure enough, it only takes for Greendale to be saved and one disagreement for them to stop being a couple. It feels lazy and rehashed, and surely it’s not one of the things I want to see Community doing again.

But for all the bothersome this issue brought to me, there were many great moments, from Abed trying to escape from every possible forming story (which was both weird and hilarious), the inspector trying to knock down a bending machine and then The Dean trying to do so too once Greendale was announce to be sold, Duncan being electrocuted and then shown having tea with Shirley and Hickey as they were “caught up in action” by the School Board members, one of the School Board members trying to sneak into Hickey’s head among many other funny moments and amazing lines through the way.

But they main story is still a bit flawed; not only the triangle thing bothered me, I was never sold in the whole hidden computer lab facility, I called from the word go that they would find the property rights there, and the whole thing with the computer powered by emotion and Jeff trying to power it up by watching his friends was weird even for Community’s standards. I couldn’t get too much into it, many times it felt off place.

But you know what? All in all it was pretty ok to good, I had a good share of laughs and I loved how at the ending Abed assured us that they will be back next year, a callout for all the fans who are anxious about the show’s chances of being renewed. I’m 85% sure the show will be back, the writers, NBC exces and Sony exces are confident that they will hammer a deal for a final season. And I’m ok with it; I think it’s time that Community ends.

A 6th and final season is not only fitting because of the inner joke the show made way back along season 2 or 3, but because the show has already explored as much as it had to and now it seems like a perfect time to give these amazing characters and the great community college that is Greendale a final bow. I’ll be sad to see this show going as it inherited the title of my favorite comedy in the air once How I Met Your Mother ended (despite its putrid finale I still recognize its greatness), but I think season 6 is the perfect time to say goodbye.

Finale Grade (both parts): B

Season Grade: B+

Stray Observations:
-Shirley: “I have a problem with Abed having a problem.”
Abed (with Shirley’s voice): “I don’t think is nice to make fun of people’s gimmicks”.
Oh god, I loved that moment!

-Dean through loudspeaker: “Attention students of Greendale… I accidentally pushed this button, so I thought I might as well check on you, so how are you?”
Everyone: “Fine.”
Dean: “Aw, that’s nice. I love you guys.”
Everyone: “We love you too.”
This moments is both funny and poignant at the same time, I swear I said “aww”.

-Hickey: “I’ve seen insurance appraisers bleed. Their blood is different. Darker.”

-Abed’s conversation with his beard alter ego felt out of place to me, am I missing something?

-It was nice that Shirley called Jeff out for suppressing his feeling when the insurance appraiser came; it shows how close they really are.

-Dean struggling with the bending machine: “Let me be one of the six this year!”
Golden line, right there. I think the Dean pretty much stole every great moment in the finale.

-The Dean pretended to use a label machine to become more organized. It didn’t pan out, but it was great when he labeled his forehead with a label that said “Bad Dean”.

-It’s not a season of Community if Chang doesn’t unexpectedly betrays the group once!

-Dean: “What is this?! An hour long episode of The Office?!”

-Abed: “This isn’t just their show. This is our show.”
This line reflects pretty well how I feel about a perfect Community episode, an episode that uses the whole cast to its fullest. Sadly, I can’t say it was the case for the finale.

-School Board Member: “Your school is still bankrupt and it is still unmarketable and it is still on the permanent chubby block of anyone who has any say on its future!”
Dean: “Yeah? Well around here, we call that Wednesday!”
That’s a perfect closer line!

-Abed: “We will definitely be back next year. If not is because an asteroid destroyed all human civilization.”
Come on asteroid! Miss the Earth!

-“Depending on what fails”
The show recognizing it is a utility player and how fine it is with it.

-So, here’s a summary of each episodes grade this season:

1: B+, 2: A-, 3: D+, 4: A, 5: A, 6: B, 7: A, 8: B, 9: B+, 10: B, 11: A-, 12/13: B

See you next season folks! I’ll do my best to pick up the slack and bring those reviews in time!

About the Author - Pablo
I'm currently studying Psychology while also writing fantasy books (one already published in my home country, Chile, you can check it out on the facebook icon). I watch many different types of shows, including my favorites Revenge, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and about 23 more. Currently writing reviews for Once Upon a Time, How I Met Your Mother and Community

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