Rooster Recap: ‘Community’ 5.07: “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality”

Rooster Recap

Season 5: 1 & 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Community has returned! After the mid-season break, the show is back on air and will be continuing the Season I Never Expected Would Happen over the next several weeks. I will be recapping them, although I am altering my formula somewhat this week: rather than go scene-by-scene, as the show does, I am going to talk about the story-lines one at a time. It just seems to make more sense. Anyway…

Professor Ian Duncan wants to sleep with Britta, and asks Jeff for advice. Ignoring the incredible creepiness of the deliberately manipulative and objectifying nature of this (I guess this is a recap, so I should probably keep those judgements out of it for now), Jeff tells him to find a local charity event. He picks a fundraiser for starving children with cleft palates at a local theater, and Britta is immediately enchanted; sadly for him, so are Annie, Shirley, and Chang. Jeff is subsequently roped in, and only Abed avoids the situation by telling everyone that he’ll be dressing up as Kickpuncher for the premiere of a reboot.

At the theater, Annie and Shirley leave after the show and Chang takes a phone call, which leads to an argument with the person on the other end of the line. However, in his attempt to duck out from the lobby, he (unbeknownst to him) ends up on a stage in front of a college-age crowd. They applaud what they think is an emotional performance, and his appreciation of attention spurs a monologue about his childhood. After it’s over, he goes into the lobby to find a janitor, who claims that theater has been shut down since an accident killed the attendees several years ago. Believing they are all ghosts, he runs back into the theater to inform the audience, but they claim that the janitor is a ghost. Chang slowly loses it with psychological whiplash, and leaves the place crying. Ken Jeong gives a great performance here, and provides some laughs in a largely laugh-less episode; although it might not have much meaning to the overall plot of the show or even the episode, it did grant some balance.

Meanwhile, Duncan continues to lie in order to seduce Britta (seriously gag-worthy), but she’s distracted by the hosts of the event: a few of her old anarchist friends from her activist days. Duncan tells Jeff that he’s waiting to be a shoulder to cry on. While Jeff points out the creepiness of this, I can’t help but feel that the disgustingness of this character is written off too much for cheap laughs; it’s becoming increasingly problematic.

NBC
Dude’s a scuzz.

Britta’s friends commend her political passion in a speech to the charity attendants, and they give her the chance to talk to the crowd. She gives a nice little speech, showing that the Community writers remember that she has a brain, and Jeff is attracted to her because everyone in the room likes her. He decides to stay rather than bail with the clear motivation of talking to Britta again. Britta, meanwhile, talks about how she and her friends have sold out, and proposes some good ol’ fashioned political graffiti. The others remark that she has “the least to lose” and that any illegal activities would hurt them.  Their condescension reveals that they now believe activism is for those with no wealth or career options, and Britta leaves, distraught. Duncan takes this opportunity to see if she would like to “go somewhere else” in what is far too creepy and not nearly funny enough to fit into a Community subplot.

Duncan does have a moment of realization that what he’s doing is wrong and drops Britta off at her home, allowing her to become more comfortable with herself. Both realize they don’t necessarily have any close friends, but this yields character growth in the right direction. Jeff and Duncan mend their friendship, and the whole situation seems to make everyone feel a bit better.

Abed, who remains at Greendale, puts together his Kickpuncher costume. Sad that no one (in particular Troy) will celebrate his awesome outfit, he stops by the office of the only person left in the building: Buzz Hickey, who is working on his Jim the Duck cartoons. Abed points out the potential for character bonding, but Buzz is unfazed by the meta comments. He begins to care about Abed’s visit, though, when a malfunction with the costume sprays foam all over his cartoons, destroying hours of work. (Honestly, it’s not really a believable accident, but I guess you have to advance the plot somehow.) Buzz handcuffs Abed to a file cabinet as a result, remarking that everyone indulges his behavior, which has spoiled him. Abed, upset that he might miss his movie, reacts like a child whose toy was taken away.

NBC
Sorry, kid.

Abed attempts to get out his punishment, but Buzz argues (pretty effectively) that he has never experienced consequences for his actions. Abed thinks it’s bullying, referencing the physical limitation, but Buzz points out that Abed just did the same by destroying the drawings. Buzz reacts poorly to criticisms of his work, and Abed uses this opportunity to create an emotional bond by commending the cartoons, which are clearly an emotional outlet for the troubled professor. When he realizes this won’t get him out of the cuffs, he reveals that he was putting on an act and critiques the “lack of heart” and absence of reflection of Buzz’s tough life, which includes a stint as a cop.

Abed’s outright lying and manipulation reveals some negative aspects of his character that are rarely brought out. When he doesn’t get his way, he’s a petulant child. Buzz does let him out, and Abed does come around to realize that both are creators with no emotional reflection in their material. Abed reveals that he has a script about a cop that lacks any complexity, and they realize that they can help each other. It’s a nice subscript, although the whole plot-line was a bit overwrought; a few more laughs, or at least a different subplot than the Duncan/Britta one might have made it feel more congruous with the rest of the episode.

The next day, everyone meets back up in the study room. Abed and Buzz have reconciled, Britta feels a lot better, and the only person of a non-cheery disposition is Chang. No one remembers him being at the theater, and he wonders if he’s insane or a ghost himself. There’s a delightful reference to The Shining, as the camera zooms in on an old-looking picture of what appears to be the group from the theater and Chang.  The caption reveals that this is of the “Old-Timey Photo Club,” which I’ll admit provided a nice chuckle to cap off the episode, which did not have enough humor to balance out the melodrama.

NBC
Who’d have thought Chang would be my favorite part of an episode?

Overall, this episode wasn’t bad, but it seemed to lack balance and a sense of heart beyond the minor character analysis of Abed. Still, I’m glad to see more attention to Buzz Hickey, who really is a great addition to the cast.  I’m also only slightly bitter that we haven’t seen more of Brie Larson as Rachel, Abed’s love interest, but maybe next week?  One can only hope.

One thought on “Rooster Recap: ‘Community’ 5.07: “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality”

  1. To be honest, this episode was hella weird, and aside from Britta being Season One-esque and Abed departing from ‘vaguely charming’, not very memorable. It’s nice to read your recap and know I’m not crazy, haha.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s