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July 22, 2014

Review: Community - Environmental Science

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 20th 2009 11:16AM
Community: Environmental Science(S01E10) Hey, Jeff was kind of a selfish douche and then at the end he became a good person and did the right thing. Quick game: which episode am I describing?

I know I've complained about the predictability of this plot procedure in every episode, but for some reason it worked this week. Probably because even in the execution of it, you could see that Jeff had at least gained a sense of loyalty to his study group. In other words, he felt bad about what he was doing from the beginning. He still did it, but somehow that made all the difference.

I think the more shocking development was that Pierce offered to help Shirley with an upcoming speech she had to give, and she actually accepted. He also learned the "secret" to Jeff's power over the group, though I still think it's just confidence.

It was pretty funny, though, when Pierce sat in Jeff's chair and was making fun of his snide remarks and wisecracks. But, the most amazing thing about Pierce this week was that he genuinely helped someone, and it worked. Pierce is always willing to help, but he's usually way out of his element and the whole thing backfires. This week, while his advice to Shirley was still a little weird in places, it actually helped her.

I'm glad to see it, too, because I like the idea of Pierce occasionally having flashes of value and usefulness. I think the character needs that to avoid despair and gain confidence for whatever his next "expertise" may be in.

Jeff, on the other hand, excels at helping himself, and that's exactly what he did with Senor Chang. Initially going in to try and reduce the crazy amount of homework Chang is giving to the class, he winds up taking advantage of the man's emotional vulnerability to reduce just his own homework.

I'll give it up to Ken Jeong; there's not another actor on this show who is as committed as he is in this performance. He simply oozes unstable lunatic with every scene, but particularly when he was crying about his surprisingly attractive ex-wife. Jeong can screw his face up into the most amazing, and disturbing expressions. It's absolutely ridiculous, but he still manages to make it work for me.

The rest of the episode was a "friendship test" of sorts between Abed and Troy. I still absolutely love these two as unlikely friends, and so it was touching to see them singing "Somewhere Out There" to their own little Fievel in the halls. Troy had to overcome his fears and learn that to be a true friend, he has to be willing to help others ... not just be helped. Sometimes I forget that Troy was a pampered popular kid in school. He's so innocently doofy now, but I suspect that's a lot of the point. Here's what happens to the prom king when he steps out into the real world. He's nobody and he's exposed for all his inherent flaws.

[To get some extra credit with clips and full episodes of Community, sign up for SlashControl 101.]

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Ryan S.

Is it weird that I kinda want to find the itunes version of Somewhere out there sung by Abed and Troy, it was just as good as anything sung on Glee.

November 21 2009 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BLV

This show is really great. It doesnt matter that Jeffs goes from selfish to good guy in every episode.. When you have moments like the Somewhere out there song.. and everything Abed does.

Community have made it impossible to watch 30rock. Its just to good..

November 20 2009 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dutchy

I really liked this episode. Althought the story lines were all very predictable, it built up to a great climax.
And Change's wife is cute, great going for him.

November 20 2009 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chi

Did anyone else notice the reference to Choke this week? When Jeff and Senor Change walk out of the room and get caught by the study group, the twosome were mid-conversation and laughing about "Cherry Daiquiri". Cherry Daiquiri was Gillian Jacobs' character's stripper name in Choke.

November 20 2009 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
beanspants1

I, like Ryan, also don't think Jeff was all that selfish.

I think that it simply took a while to get to the 'meat' of the issue on why Senor Chang was giving lots of homework, and to fix it for everyone (including Chang) took some time.

I actually think the study group was the selfish one - wanting their problems taken care of with one conversation, and getting ticked when it wasn't.

A mouse named Fivel though and Shirley taking Pierce's offensive "orgasm" comment and making it work and not be offensive - this show is pretty great.

November 20 2009 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
anthony

I didn't see it as Jeff "becoming a good person in the end". More like Jeff was tired of filling the emotional void in Prof. Chang's life & getting him back with his hot wife was the only way out of it.

November 20 2009 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Arnold

Im pretty sure Senor Chang received a "Mexican Halloween" after the concert.

November 20 2009 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

I see everyone calling Jeff selfish in this episode and I don't think he was. He really was trying to get the essay and quiz dropped for everyone, but it worked out that it only got dropped for him.

It's that position that when you try to correct it that you only make things worse for everyone, so you have to ride it out.

November 20 2009 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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