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Saturday, May 30, 2015

COMMUNITY Wrecks a "Wedding"

Article originally published as TV Review: 'Community' - "Wedding Videography" on Blogcritics.

C612In the penultimate episode of Community season six, “Wedding Videography,” Abed (Danny Pudi) makes a video record of the show’s second-most-seen-recurring-character, Garrett’s (Erik Charles Nielsen), wedding. The result is a half hour that highlights the main cast as individuals and as a group, and teeing up what could be the series finale next week.

Much of this episode is done in the style of The Office. Not only does Community have the sit-and-chat segments so familiar to modern sitcom audiences, but Abed also refers to ‘Jim-ing’ as a verb that basically means to gesture to the camera, letting the audience in on a joke at the expense of another character. I love this joke and the way this installment is presented.

I love how “Wedding Videography” reveals something about each main player, or at least reminds us of who they are. Elroy (Keith David) is addicted to encouraging white people. Jeff (Joel McHale) loves himself more than anyone else and has a hero complex that must be served. Britta (Gillian Jacobs) blames others for all of her problems and doesn’t see her own flaws, even when away from the distractions of her friends. The Dean (Jim Rash) just wants to be part of the gang, always the outsider. Abed isn’t seen, but he is heard, and staying behind the camera is exactly who his character is.

Annie (Alison Brie) and Frankie (Paget Brewster) have an interesting conversation because a bit of conflict crops up. Frankie reveals that she’d like to get Annie away from Jeff. Is that because Frankie wants Jeff for herself? Jeff and Frankie’s chemistry has been excellent this season. Or does Frankie think that Jeff is dragging Annie down and Annie will be better off without him? Or perhaps, given Frankie’s ambiguous nature (sexual as well as otherwise), Frankie is in love with Annie? I really hope this plot is served in the season finale.

Besides being about the individuals that make up the Save Greendale Committee, “Wedding Videography” is also about showing us the makeup of the group as a whole. Sometimes this is positive, such as when they are all having fun at Annie and Abed’s apartment, getting ready and playing games before hand, or when Chang (Ken Jeong), who has often made bad decisions on his own, saves the day because of the confidence he has as part of the gang. Other times, though, this is a negative, such as when the group shows up late and interrupts the ceremony, and then proceeds to ruin the reception. Other characters have commented before that this clique always makes things about themselves, and never is it more obvious than this week.

So, with a single episode of Community left, does that mean it’s time for everyone to go their separate ways? The negative aspects listed above are brought to their attention, and most of them (Chang excepted) begin to think that maybe they aren’t better off with their friends. Has the series been a tale of a bunch of people growing up with the help of one another, or has it just been showing us the stunted development that encasing oneself in a bubble causes? I believe it’s the former, but it will be interesting to see how this week’s revelations play into the finale.

The end is a bit disappointing. Since this is the “incest” episode of Community, the “writer” comes out to deliver a sort-of PSA about ignorance surrounding incest. Community has opted to have these stand-alone tags often in season six, and it really makes me miss Troy and Abed in the Morning and other in-story jokes that have been replaced. I think it makes for a more solid overall presentation when the last scene is part of the story, or gives us glimpses of other parts of the main characters’ lives, rather than something like this fake PSA. But it’s only about thirty seconds long, so it doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the episode much.

Community‘s sixth season finale can be found on Yahoo! Screen next Tuesday.

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