TV REVIEW: Community Season 3 Episode 13 – Digital Exploration of Interior Design

Subway finally opens in the Greendale cafeteria, but Pierce and Shirley find a loophole in the college’s policy that they hope will lead to the counter being shut down. The Dean commissions Troy and Abed to build a giant blanket/pillow fort to try and beat a Guinness World Record, but the Vice Dean sees an opportunity to bring Troy over to his side, and Annie and Jeff discover hate mail in Jeff’s locker, and set out to make things right.

The first two episodes of Community since the hiatus ended have gone from strength to strength, but this third episode could well be considered to be the best of the season so far. Britta, Pierce and Shirley join forces to bring down the Subway counter, only to find that the company has hired someone to assume the identity of the company, therefore getting around the rule that stores on the campus have to be 51% owned by a student. Naturally Britta gets up on her high horse about the erosion of personal identity, but it is not long before her morals are compromised by her loneliness, and she finds herself falling for the mysterious man named Subway.

Britta is one of those characters that we love to hate. She has very strong beliefs, but they are also fairly phony, so as soon as something appeals to her capitalist or non-feminist self, she gives up her ideals and runs with her gut. This, of course, leads to some ridiculous situations, but in the world of Greendale, this is normal, and this weirdness is why we love the show so much.

Jeff discovers he has had a locker for the past 2 years, and while going through it, finds a piece of hate mail. Annie convinces him to go and apologise for whatever it is that he did – neither of them can remember – but their plans are thwarted by the fact that the sender, Kim, is dead. Jeff has dialled down the ego since last week, and seems actually willing to make amends for whatever he did in the past, but the realisation that the Kim of the letter is actually a man, may be too much for him to handle.

Troy and Abed set out to beat the epic blanket fort they built-in season 2, but the Vice Dean sees an opportunity to break up the friendship that led to Troy turning down a spot in the air conditioning repair school annex. It’s a touch of genius that the Vice Dean has grown a goatee and a ponytail – “I’m going through some stuff right now” – especially since he was so outraged by the Dean’s goatee in episode 1 of this season. The Vice Dean brilliantly plays on Troy and Abed’s love of Inspector Spacetime to drag them apart, and this leads to al all out war in the library. This episode of Community is the first of a two parter, so the Troy and Abed story is left unresolved at the end of the episode.

This is perhaps the strangest episode of Community so far this season, and this is why it works so incredibly well. Britta’s convictions take her even further, Annie hints at the fact that Jeff dominates women then ignores them, and the cracks that appeared in Troy and Abed’s friendship last week get a little deeper. Yes, Community is weird, but this is why we love it. The ‘normal’ episodes seem boring, but the gang are at their best when they are being ridiculous. We know from trailers that the gang get expelled, could this blanket fort war be the cause? We shall just have to wait and see.

GS Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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