Five episodes in and it feels like Yahoo’s techno-zombie Community has already gotten into the swing of things. The latest episode wasn’t a season premiere, or a bottle episode, or a meta state-of-the-student-union on the show’s evolution, or really a Very Special anything. The status quo was maintained and instead it was two solidly funny plots filled with plenty of typical but still very amusing japery, something that will definitely be needed in the middle stretch of the sixth season.
Both Paget Brewster and Keith David get a bit of a break this week—despite the latter’s insistence that he’s “nobody’s fourth ghostbuster” being one of the highlights—while the episode focuses on the four remaining survivors from the original group. Britta butts heads with Annie over a party she wants to throw in the apartment, specifically her prohibition against ragers with more than eight guests, with Abed getting roped in as an innocent bystander. Meanwhile Jeff is swept up in Greendale’s latest money-making scheme: Allowing maximum security inmates to be students via those rolling iPad-on-a-Segway robots you occasionally see in vague ads for huge conglomerates about how they’re making the world a better place through technology. (It’s always impoverished students or soldiers stationed abroad that are benefitting in those commercials instead of the much more likely bored millionaires.)
When a folksy and charismatic murderer named Willy (played by Abed’s Cougar Town co-star Brian Van Holt) starts criticizing Jeff’s teaching methods, or lack thereof, it becomes a battle between persuasive sociopaths. Willy even tries to murder Jeff in an increasingly funny visual gag as the robot with the motor of an RC car attempts unsuccessfully to push him down a flight of stairs. But attempted murder is a minor charge compared to theft, specifically Willy stealing the heart of the Dean out from Jeff’s reluctant hands. As we discovered last week, the Dean’s love-life contains many, probably mind-boggling, dimensions, so it would be unsurprising to find out he was also a proud robosexual. However, Jeff wins him back with romantic-comedy tactics, rushing into the ceremony and telling him something that must have been excruciating for Jeff to admit: He likes his job. He and Willy fight over the Dean’s hand like a couple of contestants on Battlebots until Jeff prevails and the Dean sweeps him of his feet, despite him being the one made out of a broomstick.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Britta is left sweeping up the pieces of her relationship with Abed after embroiling him in her party campaign. “I’m not involved; I just make movies,” Abed informs the two of them at the start, but that’s never been a legitimate excuse for directors, whether they be Leni Riefenstahl or McG. Britta takes advantage of poor Abed’s filmmaking obsessions by turning Britta’s party into Britta’s Party, a potential IMDb credit that soon has Abed demanding perpetual reshoots long after the actual festivities have ended. Britta is forced to explain that it is (barring an upcoming apocalypse) impossible to party like there’s no tomorrow and that her script was not in fact based on a true story.
Of course it turns out that Annie’s rules are meant to protect all of them and not to let her indulge in her dictatorial tendencies—or at least not just to let her indulge in her dictatorial tendencies. It’s funny that after herself playing the newcomer to Troy and Abed, Annie is now the apartment’s grizzled veteran. Just another thing that has subtly changed over the course of six seasons. Sorry, C-H-A-N-G-E-D. I don’t want to scare Abed.