John Young
October 09, 2009 AT 11:00 AM EDT

While reading your comments from last week, I noticed that some of you were under the impression that I didn’t like Community. Far from the truth. The show offers 30 minutes of satisfying entertainment (22 minutes without commercials, as Abed would surely point out). It’s just that Community hasn’t taken it to the next level. It sits there like a puppy desperately wanting to be loved, but it hasn’t earned its gold star, unlike, say, ABC’s delectable Modern Family. Last night’s episode, “Social Psychology,” continued Community‘s trend, which, let me reiterate, consists of providing a number of moderately funny moments, a couple of laugh-out-laugh zingers, and an overall agreeable aura. Top-tier comedy? Not so far, but that’s a tall order for any new sitcom, and I don’t believe this one will be sputtering out anytime soon.

Last night’s episode reacquainted us with Dr. Duncan (The Daily Show‘s John Oliver), a (very) British professor of psychology. Whereas Oliver irked me during the premiere, this time he was rather endearing, especially in regard to his awkward flirtations with Annie. After Duncan misinterpreted Annie’s interest in his psychology lab as a display of romantic affection, he cut to the chase: “I’m not allowed to date students, even though you’re an 8, which is a British 10.” Then, lest we forget what island he hails from, Duncan followed with this comedic nugget: “I seem to have left my purse in my duffel, and my duffel in the boot of my lorry.”

In Duncan’s lab, the students learned The Duncan Principle, which consisted of leaving test subjects in a waiting room until they broke down. Señor Chang (an always welcome Ken Jeong) was the first to crack, and you gotta love the way he left, only to barge back in and fling a chair across the room. One by one, the test subjects departed until only Abed remained. When it comes to stamina, you don’t mess with Abed, who managed to stay in the room for 26 hours without ever once complaining. Duncan and his psychology students, on the other hand, couldn’t take it anymore. “Damn you, you outlying piece of data,” Duncan yelled at the TV monitor as Abed sat there, waiting and waiting and waiting. When a chubby, bespectacled student decided he had to get out of there, Duncan responded with the episode’s best line: “Fine. Go kill John Lennon again, you loser.”

The episode’s other story line, involving Britta’s new hippie boyfriend, Vaughn (Eric Christian Olsen), wasn’t as sharp. However, I did appreciate the budding friendship between Jeff and Shirley, as well as Shirley’s obsession with Vaughn’s microscopic nipples. “My kid’s got hamsters with bigger nips,” she joked. Also, score one point for Jeff’s takedown of Ultimate Frisbee: “What makes Frisbee ultimate?” That game was all the craze way back in high school, but I always failed to see the appeal. Now, Frisbee Golf — that’s a sport one can get behind. (Speaking of sports, and this is totally not the place for this, but go Angels!)

So, PopWatchers, how long do you think you would have survived The Duncan Principle?

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