Sunday, September 27, 2009

Round Two: Community

Community: Season 1, Episode 2 “Spanish 101” (D-)

When I watched the series premiere of this show, I thought I was missing something. Everyone raved about how good and how funny this show was, and I didn’t see that at all. I make it my mission to watch every series pilot but usually abandon shows after their first episodes if they really turn me off from watching. I figured I could give this short half-hour show a second chance just to see if things were improving. That’s definitely not the case. This episode is far worse than the first, and I think it’s highly indicative of what’s to come. Last week I complained that the characters were all too big. That hasn’t changed a bit here, but the difference is that they’ve been stripped of their individuality and all lopped into one monstrous group of senseless protesters. The over-the-top characters could have been at least funny if they were able to be themselves, but when the show is so intent on highlighting only Jeff and a character given far too much screen time and attention (Pierce), it loses out on what could have been assets comparable to Berta or Evelyn on “Two and a Half Men.” While there’s a funny line or two in there (“if you like these brownies, you’re going to hate what’s going on in Guatemala”), the whole protesting plot falls flat. The Spanish project isn’t much better either, and it all strikes me as simply too irreverent. It reminds me of when I took an improv class at a summer camp during middle school and interrupted the regular scene I was doing to ask the other performer if they had come down with mad cow disease while they were in Europe. It seems like that’s how this show is written, desperate to throw in wide, sweeping jokes even if they just don’t fit. Jeff and Pierce’s discussion and finished product is momentarily amusing, but the concept is just so stupid and broad. The second episode also lacks that triumphant, unifying speech of the second episode, and therefore these community college students are left to be underachievers, especially Britta, who seems to have been toned down and is now far less argumentative or interesting. The one part of the episode that I did love, however, was the bit right before the end credits where Abed and Troy rap their Spanish project. There’s clearly something about this show that can be funny, but as a whole, it just really isn’t good.

No comments: