Rooster Recap: ‘Community’ 5.12: “Basic Story”

Rooster Recap

Season 5: 1 & 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 1213

Last week’s Community episode was a G.I. Joe riff, which I thought was, at best, a mixed bag in terms of success. I am, as I’ve pointed out many times, incredibly skeptic of “theme” episodes. Sadly, I am also skeptic of several part episodes, since the end of season three was lackluster. Now that we’re within an episode of the finale, how is this first of a two-part finale? Well, let’s recap what happens.

The group realizes that they’ve done quite a bit to help Greendale thanks to the Save Greendale committee, which causes an unpleasant moment of quiet. That is to say, Abed finds it unpleasant, knowing that “no problems” cannot last. The Dean, meanwhile, learns that an Insurance Appraiser will be stopping by to value the school. He informs the group, and Jeff acknowledges that they’ve made the school up to snuff. Abed, though, seeks crisis, hoping to make a set of hijinx including fake Physics students. Jeff talks him down, and there’s a strange moment of quiet in which the lack of story takes focus.

The scariest Abed is a quiet Abed.

NBC
The scariest Abed is a quiet Abed.

Jeff and Annie fix up the Dean’s office, with Annie remarking that their lives have quieted down (with the forgotten Jeff-is-a-teacher-plotline). There’s a quip about how the Insurance guy will do a boring inspection, as boring as the Troy-Britta dating plotline. Abed looks around the school for a story everywhere he can, but finds none. The Insurance dude arrives, and reveals himself to be incredibly boring/meticulous. Fortunately, he finds nothing wrong thanks to the work of the Save Greendale committee—meaning it has value. This means that the school board hopes to sell it to the private sector as a result, now that they can make a profit.

There’s something bitingly sad about this process. Jeff and the group saved the school, so much so that it will be lost, which he doesn’t want now that he reveals his true sentimental attachment to the place. There’s a touch of The Bridge over the River Kwai here, and the emotions run pretty true. Except in this analogy, I guess the Germans are Subway? And Jeff is Alec Guinness?

A very, very handsome Alec Guinness.

NBC
A very, very handsome Alec Guinness.

Anyways, Subway buys Greendale. The group realizes their ironic failure, as the company revamps the campus into a giant corporate craphouse. Jeff is offered a job teaching “Sandwich Law,” with a lucrative deal of sandwiches for life. He and Britta discuss their life prospects, and—since they’ve really not gained anything immediately evident from their time at Greendale—decide to get…married? Anyway, the moment is interrupted by Abed, Annie, and the Dean, who have found a buried treasure map, the contents of which could lead to the fortune with which they can save Greendale. Chang listens in and learns of the plan, taking notes to report to his new corporate overlords, as he has betrayed the group again. This idea is not nearly as fresh as a fine Subway sandwich.

Can I get money now?

 

Selling out is the first step on the path to treasure.

NBC
Selling out is the first step on the path to treasure.

The end tag has Buzz Hickey and Ian Duncan chatting about their past, since they’ll soon lose their jobs. The two reminisce about shared experiences, namely Hickey’s time spent stationed where Duncan grew up. There’s a brief moment where they think Hickey might have met Duncan’s mom in a pub that is played up to pretty good effect, with Banks in particular showing off his comedic chops yet again. I really hope they get him to stick around if they do another season.

Anyways, this episode was actually interesting in terms of the ideas lurking around, but it suffers in terms of plot from the need to set up the finale. I think this would make an intriguing one-episode idea, or one that feels more self contained. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I consider this in conjunction with the finale. I’m also disappointed to see Abed relegated to a caricature in terms of behavior. Am I alone in remembering him as more consistent and nuanced than he is in recent episodes?

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