Community Review: Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations
The Thanksgiving episode in which Jeff goes to see the father who abandoned him, and Troy, Abed and Annie find themselves trying to break out of Shirley’s house.
Best Moment: There were some nice moments throughout. I liked when Jeff’s dad tries the ol’ fake a heart attack routine a la Pierce. As always, the Jeff and Britta scenes were great. I also really liked Abed trying to do a Shawshank scene only to realise he had it wrong.
Verdict: Overall, this was another decent episode of Community. It wasn’t quite as wacky as previous outings, but that’s okay. It had some nice character moments, with Shirley confessing that her family drive her nuts and she needed the group as a buffer(who can’t relate to that!), and Jeff’s confession about faking his appendicitis.
I liked the groups repeated attempts to escape the prison that was Shirley’s house, and Shirley popping her head in as “the warden.” But I really loved the change in scenario when they realised Shirley hated being there just as much as they did. I also loved Britta’s repeated attempts to act as a therapist for the Winger family. It’s typical Britta, she just keeps on trying.
Ultimately though, the episode was a little schmaltzy for me. I realise that this should have aired at Thanksgiving, but I still kinda rolled my eyes when Jeff has the Thanksgiving dinner for his “real” family in the study room. I think it took me out of the episode a bit. I appreciated the sentiment, it’s one Community has played up before, but it felt a little heavy-handed. Another thing I didn’t much care for was the characterization of Jeff’s half-brother. He felt a little too forced in my opinion, although admittedly not all half-brothers can be Giancarlo Esposito. On the other hand, I did have a chuckle at Shirley humming the “Daybreak” song right before she discovers the hole behind her poster. Which, by the way, was clearly another Shawshank reference, but surely the poster would have been too risqué for Shirley!