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One of the downsides of working nights is the lack of good TV when I get home: Easier with a TiVo, I assume, but saving to get this blog transferred to a site makes that harder. Of all the shows I would watch if given the time, Community is decidedly on the top of the list, with intelligent comedy, references to geek culture abundant and lovable characters, all with amazing writing to back it up. While there are a few references specifically from video gaming culture (Modern Warfare is the name of the first paintball episode and Abed plays Asteroids in bar) this episode was a wonderful equalizer against the more numerous television and movie references.
The cast is fantastic.
For those not aware of the show, Community takes place at Greendale Community College and has an interesting mix of characters who attend the school: from left to right, Jeff Winger was caught lying his way into a law career, Abed Nadir is a Polish/Arab pop culture reference machine and socially different, Pierce Hawthorne is an old man attending for over a decade, Annie Edison was an overachiever who took way too much Aderall, Shirley Bennett is the single mom of two kids and recent divorcee, Britta Perry is an aspiring activist with a penchant for messing up whatever she does, and Troy Barnes had a football scholarship until he was injured in a “keg flip.” Interesting cast, no?
Screwing Pierce over from beyond the grave…
*SPOILER ALERT* In this episode, Pierce receives an invitation to receive his inheritance from his recently deceased father Cornelius. He is asked to bring seven of his closest friends but only brings the main cast (“LeVar Burton was a maybe”). Gilbert Lawson, Cornelius’ assistant meets them there and sets up the episode. It seems Hawthorne Sr. had set up a video game company to develop a game to be played by Pierce and his guests in the event of his death. Inside the game, the group soon learns Cornelius will award Pierce’s entire inheritance to the winner of this video game. While the rest of the group agrees to help their old, crazy, racist friend earn his father’s money it seems Gilbert has taken the empty seat in the game and knows all the Console commands…
Community: Sprite Edition!
Like the stop-motion animated Christmas special, this episode features a majority of story taking place in a different medium: video game sprites! There are some wonderful things for video gamers to find in this episode: series themes are rendered in MIDI, the Jeff sprite has a jump more than reminiscent to Mega Man, a system for potion-making is presented and more are to be discovered! One particularly funny moment involves Annie and Shirley entering the blacksmith’s for equipment. Having no money, Annie tries to purchase a torch and accidently grabs it off a wall (not understanding the controls is a recurring episode theme). The blacksmith freaks out, calling her a thief. Annie panics hilariously, culminating with her throwing the torch at the blacksmith and killing him with an axe. I assume the visions of The Elder Scrolls memories flashing before all our eyes was intended.
Abed wonderfully mixes Temple of Doom with video game manufacturing!
This episode was a wonderful surprise in the third season, probably one of the best short of the Paintball duo. If you haven’t had the privilege of watching this incredibly smart and well written show, go out and buy Season One with our fullest recommendation. If you don’t like it, to each their own. If you do, we now love you more than those in the previous group and you can enjoy up to season four on DVD with a fifth season to premiere soon!
Love Community as well? Let us know in the Comments section below!