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September 4, 2015

Community: Spanish 101

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 25th 2009 5:00AM
Chevy Chase(S01E02) It looks like self-awareness has come to the study group of Community, or at least to one member of it. Also coming to Community is Ken Jeong, finally. Jeong is hilarious in ... well everything he's in, and here is no exception. We were introduced to him in a lovely scene where he berates and screams at his Spanish class for no reason at all.

Now that we're past the introductions, it's time to start getting a feel for what this show is going to be like. I'm guessing that they're still trying to figure out everybody's personality, and it's going to take time to get it right. Not to mention that it will probably take a few episodes to give everyone a chance to expose their inner selves.

I guess I was a little surprised at how quickly Shirley and Annie not only connected with one another, but went on a well-intentioned but incredibly tacky protest crusade. They did confirm that the show will be more Scrubs-zany than realistic. I can hang with the more screwball humor.

Pierce is screwball in his own right, but that's because he appears to be really and truly clinically insane. His entire plan for the five phrase Spanish presentation was so beyond ridiculous that I actually understood Jeff walking away from it. The presentation itself? Oh, it was as tedious and ridiculous as expected. I'd say I'm surprised Senor Chang let it go all the way to the sparkly ending, but not by his grades.

But what happened to Jeff? He had more redemptive qualities at the close of the pilot than he showed this episode. It's as if he completely regressed back to the jackass he started as. No lessons learned, no growth of any kind. He's just a selfish man-child who expects to always get his way.

Maybe the growth he showed was always a ploy to get into Britta's pants. That is, after all, virtually his entire focus. The fact that he got up and blew a chance at a "C" to stand by Pierce may have looked like an out-of-character noble gesture, but it was a ploy to get into Britta's pants. Hopefully, he'll find some other motivations.

"Conflicts like these will ultimately bring us together as an unlikely family." -- Abed
"You have horrible breath right now." -- Troy

That was the second nod from Abed about this being a TV show, and he's right. Family's what the show is going to be about. Like The Breakfast Club, this unlikely group of misfits will come together in love and harmony and be a family. A family where one of its members wants to get into another one's pants, yes, but a family nonetheless.

[Check out clips and full episodes of Community with our friends at SlashControl.]

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i liked this ep better then the pilot. show has great potential. i hope it sticks around.

September 26 2009 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon Van Deurzen

Did anyone else notice the line that Chevy Chase threw out from Lampoon's Vacation: "She's ugly!" in the exact same voice he used back in the day.

September 25 2009 at 10:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't really like that everyone other than Britta was bowing at the feet of Jeff. Other than that, the episode was great. Ken Jeong definitely stole the show immediately. The presentation at the end with Jeff and Pierce was one the funniest things I've seen in a while. Full review of the episode.


September 25 2009 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I got bored and wandered off last week during the pilot episode, but last night I liked it. I have a few netflix cds stacked up and short patience for shows that seem dumb (I won't be watching Modern Family again.) I will continue to check out Community after last night's show.
Just a note, after I got my BS and returned to my hometown I enrolled in a few classes at the local community college, feeling smug that I had a degree from a "real" university. I found myself working harder than for most classes at my alma mater as many of my fellow students were older and had worked for years and were very serious about studying hard. The instructors were very good too, my business law class was taught the top judge in the community who was among the best teachers I've ever had. I learned to respect the education offered at a community college.

September 25 2009 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I gotta disagree, I generally like Ken Jeong but I thought his character's introduction was pretty lame and a little too over the top to be funny. The first half of the episode was just kind of disappointing, but the second half made up for it. The presentation was hysterical and the rap at the end was fantastic.

September 25 2009 at 3:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I meant Pierce's presentation.

September 25 2009 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As a community college Spanish professor (no kidding), I found Jeff's presentation to be pretty accurate for some students I've had in class (although I don't think I've ever had anyone use silly string).

I'm still reserving judgement on this show, but I did like this episode more than the pilot.

September 25 2009 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Considering this is written by Dan Harmon (the founder of Channel 101), of course it's going to be overtly self-aware. It's what Channel 101 did during its "heyday" of The 'Bu, Yacht Rock, and House of Cosbys. I think it works well with McHale--especially if anyone who watches The Soup can match that personality to his personality as Jeff.

The show will have growing pains I'm sure, but NBC is pushing it hard and hoping it works--a new practice for a network eager to usually dump shows after two or three episodes because they have patience and therefore, no hits.

September 25 2009 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This one's not working for me. Ironically, the show feels *too* self aware for me. The characters feel like they're reading out of a playbook for their "type." I can't put my finger on it, but there also seems to be a weird mismatch between some of the elements of the show. I'm not sure if it's tone, or pacing or performance.

Overall, to me it feels like an Aaron Sorkin wannabe trying, and failing, to write a show that feels like Scrubs.

But there's a lot of other stuff out there to enjoy this season, so good luck to them and the fans of the show.

September 25 2009 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ken Jeong, the spanish rap, the ending play montage, and the sausage fest won me over. I now have a reason to keep the TV on after The Office.

September 25 2009 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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