Alright fellow Human Beings, we’re back for another exciting semester at Greendale!
Gonna say this right now, I honestly did expect to see a season 5, not after how most of season 4 was basically a train wreck. Granted, there were some parts of season 4 I enjoyed, there was a lot wrong with it. But, lets not dwell on the past, the past in the past, and there is no point wasting time on it. Lets look to the future.
Season 5 is off to a solid start in my opinion. The episode opens with a hilariously bad commercial for Jeff’s law practice, which is pretty much the Community standard. Jeff’s firm fails, of course, and we see him approached by Alan, his old work nemesis. Jeff winds up back at Greendale with the purpose to sue the school into oblivion, naturally things go off course when the gang of lovable quack pots we have come to know and love show up and think he is trying to save the school.
What comes next is honestly what I have come to expect from Community, Jeff bends the truth into a pretzel, manipulates his friends into going along with his plan, realizes what he did is wrong, and moves to fix the problem. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Despite the fact that nothing about this episode really stood out as anything new, it was hilarious to watch from start to finish. It was interesting to see where all the characters ended up after Greendale: Annie is a pharmaceutical sales rep, Shirley is divorced again, Britta is a bartender, Abed has gone into programming, Troy is, well, Troy. Apparently he has a blog, so there’s that. It was fun to see where post Greendale life has taken our friends since last we saw them, and their jobs led to some downright hilarious banter between the group. The two best bits being Troy addressing Pierce’s empty seat and asking if it was weird with Magnitude (Pop! Pop!) being there, and Jeff calling out the fact that Britta has gotten more and more stupid as the show went on.
Things capped off with a classic Winger speech and amusing montage as the gang decides to return to Greendale in the hopes of doing things right and making something of their lives, and Jeff taking on the role of a teacher at the school, this will lead to funny times as we see in the second half of the season premier.
The premier continues in “Introduction to Teaching” and we see the Study Group, minus Jeff, settling in for a new semester at Greendale while Jeff tries to figure out what being a teacher is all about. This episode basically splits into two plots: Abed and the gang in a class about whether or not Nicolas Cage is a good actor, and Jeff figuring out how to teach. This episode was pure fun from start to finish, the return of Kevin Corrigan as Professor Sean Garrity was amazing to see, and the call back to the season 2 episode where Abed destroys his professor’s life work. This class leads to another one of Abed’s many mental break downs over the show, and a pretty hilarious impersonation of Nic Cage. In the end we have a rather touching moment between Shirley and Abed as she helps to restore his faith in movies.
On the other side, we have Jeff trying to figure out how to be a teacher, and receiving some advice from Professor Hickey, played by Jonathan Banks. (another fantastic addition to the cast) From here to see a transition from Jeff Winger, the blow off student, to Jeff Winger, the blow off teacher. This not surprising at all given what he have seen of Jeff over the past four years, just like its no surprise to see that it is Annie that gets him back on the right track. Jeff’s plot was incredibly fun to watch because it hits all the great aspects of his character, the goof slacker that is at heart a good person, but occasionally needs someone to show him that, this usually falls to Annie to accomplish. Their interactions were amazing to watch, honestly my favorite stories in this show have been the ones that center on Jeff and Annie, Mchale and Brie play off each other amazingly, its no surprise that the fan base ships them so hard. This does make me wonder if we will actually be seeing them paired off before the show ends. Personally, I don’t care to much, so long as we still get to see these two characters have stories together.
This all comes to head with Jeff out lawyering Annie in class, thus discovering how to teach and realizing that he does in fact find some enjoyment in teaching, and of course a riot, lets not forget the riot. Would not be Community, with out a riot. The whole concept of the minus attached to grades being something made up by teachers to screw with students is just ridiculous enough to be a perfect fit in this show, and was a fun sequence to watch. We saw Magnitude (Pop! Pop!) Neal, Garret, Leonard, basically all the screwballs that have been floating in the background since the series started, who are always a joy to watch. With the riot out of control, Jeff attempts to work his magic and fix the problem he inadvertently created, and actually fails to do so. This is rare for Jeff, but worked because it was fun to see everyone turn on him.
At the close, we see the group working together on a real committee to save Greendale, with Professor Hickey as part of the team. Looks like we have a new crotchety old man to replace Pierce.
Some of the best bits of this premier:
The references to the year with the gas leak, according to some rumors I have heard, this is possible foreshadowing to a Community movie. At the very least, it has potential to be an amusing recurring joke throughout the season, provided it isn’t overused.
Holo-Pierce was so unexpected, but perfectly placed. Honestly, given that Chevy Chase walked off set before season 4 finished filming I was shocked to see this here, I wonder if they someone convinced Chase to come back for this one bit, or they just pulled out some stock footage. Either way, this was Pierce at his best, being the old guy that is actually able to give out the bits of sage like advice that Jeff needs at just the right times. Really harkens back to season 1 Pierce, when the character was at his best.
The Dean, need I say more? He was, and continues to be both creepy and amazing.
The best part of all, the one key element that had me laughing almost non stop from start to finish, the Harmon-ey of the show (see what I did there?). The major flaw of season 4 was the lack of Dan Harmon, the writers that took over were just not able to bring the same creativity and fun to the show that he could. It fills me with joy that Harmon is back at the helm of on of my favorite shows, and it gives me high hopes for the future. So I think I speak for everyone when I saw, welcome back Dan, we missed you.
Overall, perfect kick off to the new season of the show. I can’t wait for more.