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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Community, "Basic Human Anatomy"

Season 4, Episode 11
Grade: A- 
Verdict: I was literally rolling my eyes at the beginning of this episode and its absurd premise (body-switching is pretty dumb, even for Community) but the script was smart, heartfelt, and on-point, yielding my favorite episode this season. 

After last week's awful episode of Community, I was about ready to give up on the show this week. I told Kyle if the show wasn't any better, instead of a review I'd be writing a piece about "Why I've stopped watching Community." Apparently the TV gods heard my desperation and delivered me salvation in the form of Jim Rash. Rash portrays the Dean (my favorite character) on Community and has won an award for his movie screenplay, The Descendants. This is Rash's first foray into television writing, and he does an excellent job. Spoilers below. 

In "Basic Human Anatomy," Troy and Abed attempt to create a Freaky Friday moment to magically switch bodies. They recreate the scene from the movie, but the transformation appears to fail. The next morning, Troy wakes up next to Britta, who wants to know how they'll be spending their 1-year anniversary (which they both forgot about initially), and Troy responds by running over to Abed's room and telling him that the body switch was successful after all. 

Fortunately Community is not taking a stab at the supernatural; we later learn the body-switch gimmick was initiated by Troy in order to get out of going on his anniversary dinner with Britta. Britta, ever-longing to be a therapist, plays along and goes on the date with Abed, assuming he has some emotional issues he'd feel more comfortable talking about in the third person. Instead their conversation drifts into a talk about Britta and Troy's relationship, and how unhappy Troy has been in it lately, and Abed tries to break up with Britta on Troy's behalf. Troy intervenes, ends the bit with Abed, and closes out the episode by breaking up with Britta himself. 

Watching Troy portray Abed and Abed portray Troy was fairly amusing. I especially thought Donald Glover's impression was spot-on. The best part of the episode, however, comes in the form of the Dean's attempts to copycat what's happening with Troy and Abed. He tries to have his own Freaky Friday moment with Jeff, which obviously doesn't work, and spends the rest of the episode pretending he is Jeff stuck inside of the Dean's body. His impression of Jeff is hilarious (he even gets Annie to swoon over him). He later apologizes to the gang by repeatedly referring to the time when "Jeff was inside of him" and what he's learned from it. Love it. 

I also have to mention a teeny tiny scene that I loved, although it had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. While Jeff and Troy are looking for the lost Freaky Friday DVD so they can switch back bodies, they go into the janitors' room and find the janitorial crew engaging in a daytime murder mystery, complete with costumes. WHAT? Props for that. 

My only complaints with this episode are about the actual handling of Britta and Troy's relationship. Firstly, it seems like it comes out of nowhere. They've been together a whole year already? And they're unhappy since when?  Secondly, I feel like the show is often guilty of having Annie act like a powerless, subservient school girl. Shirley is fairly quiet and timid, which leaves Britta. Britta is the strongest of the female characters, but she seems to have almost no opinions about the break up - she's a bit surprised, and cries and seems sad, but she doesn't once mention how she feels. And she's rather cool with the whole thing for someone who's boyfriend just tried to get someone else to dump her for him because he was too scared to do it.

In typical TV fashion, I'm sure the next episode will jump right back to normal, with barely a mention of Britta and Troy's relationship. It'll be like it never even happened. And I'm pretty OK with that...

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