This week’s episode of Community is dark. There is a lot of character development with Troy and Abed, some really funny stuff with Jeff on ego overload, and some great Chang moments. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Abed has learned that he can hire celebrity impersonators to reenact scenes from movies. He’s been doing it for some amount of time, and the group is ready to intervene. Troy stops them. He makes a speech about how Abed’s eccentricity has been an overall benefit, and how knowing him has made Troy a better person. He’s speaking for all of the fans of the show here. Enter French Stewart.
French Stewart plays Vinnie, the owner of the company that rents out the impressionists. Abed has a big balance, and he’s here to let him know he needs to pay. Meanwhile Jeff has been going to a new therapist, and he’s on anti-anxiety meds. It’s a fun premise. The conceit is that his ego is on overload, because now he doesn’t experience any self-doubt. It sets up a fun Hulk scene for later in the show. French Stewart’s character tells Jeff that he’s a dead ringer for Ryan Seacrest. In the face of this complement Jeff starts to transform into what he’ll become, but he keeps it in check. Kind of. Hulk + Grinch + Pi = great joke.
The group agrees to be impressionists themselves at a party coming up to pay off Abed’s debt. They do it because French Stewart tells Troy that he’s going to break Abed’s legs if they don’t do it, and do a good job. Right after defending Abed to the group, he’s confronted with the consequences of an unchecked Abed let loose on the world.
At the party Jeff goes crazy. It’s great, but that’s not what’s great about this episode. We see Troy and Abed having a real conflict. Because it’s the first time we’re seeing it, and how it plays out, it’s safe to say this is their first. Troy, who earlier defended Abed’s Abedness is now himself fed-up. It comes from concern, but it points to what may be a coming split between a maturing Troy, and an Abed who continues to exist in a make-believe world. The work it out, but it ends with Abed playing in the Dreamatorium by himself. He talks to evil abed. It’s really weird.
It’s always great to see some stuff with Troy and Abed that’s not just Lenny and Squiggy-esque. What’s it like in that apartment with those two and Annie on a given day? No doubt fan-fic has explored this terrain, but that truth notwithstanding, it’s interesting to consider. This episode offers a little insight into that world. Emotional resonance on top of funny. I’d call that the mark of good television.