Pillows and Blankets is the kind of Community episode that forgives any previous sin committed by the series. It’s a great stand-alone episode for any new viewer, while at the same time forwarding the overall plot of the season. It’s a Ken Burns-style documentary that focuses on a pillow fight war between factions under the leadership of either Troy or Abed.
The show picks up where last week’s episode, Digital Exploration of Interior Design, left off. Troy and Abed’s argument about whether or not to make a pillow fort or blanket fort has escalated to the most extreme cartoonish level. It’s all told with first-person accounts, panning still photos, and lots of brilliant graphs and charts. The graphs and charts were where this reviewer’s most hearty laughs came. Just amazing.
Doing the whole show as a mock-Ken Burns documentary gave the writers ample opportunity for little gags. Jeff always being absorbed in his phone while wild pillow violence was going on all around him, the not-so-subtle focusing on Annie’s cleavage- the show was full of big jokes and little gags. Great economy. Showing the skirmishes and battles between the Legit Republic of Blanketsburg, led by Troy, and the United Forts of Pillowtown, led by Abed, the narrator spoke some of the best lines of the show.
Eventually Troy and Abed reconcile, with the help of Jeff and his imaginary hats. During this part of the show you see a less cynical Jeff, but then it’sÂ immediately negated by hisÂ narcissism. So, everyone relax.
So many throw away jokes this week. Real Neal with Pipes of Steel, the pledge drive at the end of the show, Changlorious Basterds– nothing about the writing, production, acting, and storytelling is lazy on this show. It seems that the people making it know how lucky they all are, and that it could end at any moment. They’re leaving no jokes untold, and taking funny risks. Just great television.