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December 22, 2014

Review: Community - Investigative Journalism

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 15th 2010 3:15AM
Community: Investigative Journalism
(S01E13)
I'd like to give thanks to the Executive Producer Associate Supervisor Supervising Executive for being the man, or woman, behind the new semester at Community. When the gang returned from the break they discovered a new member in their group -- he snuck in during the group hug.

Jack Black basically plays one type of character, and that's who we got this week. There were some genuinely funny moments, but this definitely wasn't one of the stronger episodes of the series to date. With the community college setting, it's pretty easy to slip in a guest star here or there and even, as in this case, pretend they've been there the whole time. I just don't think it's necessary right now for Community.

The reason the show is working so well right now is these characters we've come to know over the past twelve episodes. The storyline with Jeff taking over as the head of the school paper is where I found myself enjoying things. The rush of power, along with Abed's constant M*A*S*H references, kept it fun and light. Plus, there's actually potential for comedy in the new semester with Jeff running the paper.

Annie's first big scoop, that the dean used racial profiling to announce an hour delay for a Toni Braxton concert, is so bizarre it's funny. I can't wait to see what else she digs up, and what trouble Jeff can get into with this new position. It's a development that can actually add new layers to the show as it stands.

Jack Black was little more than a ratings stunt. He was the same character he always is, complete with the singing and guitar playing. He was aggressive, obnoxious and annoying, with no class. Maybe it's me, but it's not the type of character that I so love, I want to see it over and over again. About the funniest thing he accomplished was kicking Jeff in the face.

The drag off the table was a little too predictable to be funny, as was his pants getting pulled down. I did laugh at Pierce's face covered with the sugar from the lemony treat Buddy (Black) made for the group. I even liked that he just showed up and declared that he was part of the group. The idea was solid. The "Jack Black" character didn't work in it for me.

Throw in the completely arbitrary appearance of Owen Wilson, representing the leader of the "cool group," and you've got another celebrity appearance for no reason at all. I'm not sure how a hari juku girl, starburns and Owen Wilson constitutes cool, but I can go with it. The problem is that now you have this potential rival study group, one that even members of our group are trying to be in, and one of its members is a star you're not going to be able to use whenever you want. They can always write him out of the group, or pretend he's not around, but it definitely hinders a potentially lucrative comedic opportunity for the future.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't dislike the episode. I thought Senor Chang's fake death, followed by his bizarre resurrection and dramatic departure, were perfect for the character. Everyone in the group was in perfect character, and there were plenty of good lines throughout. I guess I just wasn't impressed with the big exciting guest stars.

[Get ready for the new semester with clips and full episodes of Community at SlashControl.]

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Axel Harris

Rivalry? Starburns is way too cool to ever get caught up in some petty rivalry with the main group.

January 18 2010 at 7:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chrissthomas

Jack Black was actually pretty funny in this, in my opinion. I really liked how at the beginning he was talking about throwing off the....and the intro ran and cut back...flow of the group. I was ROTFLMAO. I also liked the surprise Owen Wilson and don't care if they every use him again. The whole show pokes fun at the lameness of the Community College so the cool group being lame in everyone's eyes but the characters makes sense. I also think it is funny that they are doing each season (half season?) with a new semester. Having many friends still attending Community Colleges nearing their 30s lets me know that this show could potentially keep up that theme and run for years. The writers on this show are brilliant and the actors are a great ensemble with good chemistry.

January 16 2010 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank M.

I don't know who the star sideburns guy was but the Japanese chick was playboy playmate Hiromi Oshima.

January 15 2010 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cr3amy

I think you misunderstood the point of the Jack Black and Owen Wilson stuff:

Neither Jack Black nor Owen Wilson were even meant to become recurring roles. They're probably never even going to be mentioned again.

The scenes "pretending" Jack Black was there the whole time were jokes. And yes, Jack Black wasn't funny and was completely classless... that's why every single character gave him weird looks and nobody wanted him in the group.

The whole time that you're sitting there saying "This guy sucks," so is everybody else.

Remember: with sitcoms, certain story arcs continue for several episodes, and certain ones don't.

January 15 2010 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cr3amy's comment
Scott

"This guy sucks" and "this guy is phenomenally annoying" are points that can be made without wasting far too much screen time with him sucking and being annoying. It doesn't become funny if he does it more, or more loudly.

January 15 2010 at 11:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CrazyBob

The fact that Owen Wilson and Jack Black was guest starring was not totally random like you said. Its was a HeatVision and Jack reunion!

January 15 2010 at 2:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
malren

HATED JACK BLACK. He ruined every scene he was in. This show does not need, nor can it accommodate, one-trick loud obnoxious "actors" like Black.

January 15 2010 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Justin

I thought the very beginning of Jack Black's appearance was great, especially when talking about disrupting the rhythm and being cut off by the show's title only to have him finish his thought coming out of it.

And you missed the point: Jack Black is supposed to play annoying. It's his shtick and it can wear thin in roles when he shouldn't be doing it but last night was the perfect role for it.

January 15 2010 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
EbonyDad

I loved that Senior Chang song... "He can't be killed..." I had me laughing so hard that I almost lost a lung.

I need to find that song in MP3 format.

January 15 2010 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joe

obsessed with Jack Black much? That was what... 80% about disliking Black and 20% about the episode?

And you missed the point about the "cool group." It's all about perception, and Buddy perceived that group to be cool for whatever reason (well, because Buddy is a loser, mostly). Therefore, with Buddy's approval, the group took on the status of "being cool" by default. Then, after Buddy rejected the main group, they automatically associated the other group with 'cool' because they just got rejected for them - a natural reaction.

January 15 2010 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to joe's comment
chrissthomas

I was thinking the same thing. Jack Black was actually pretty funny in this, in my opinion. I really liked how at the beginning he was talking about throwing off the....and the intro ran and cut back...flow of the group. I was ROTFLMAO. I also liked the surprise Owen Wilson and don't care if they every use him again. The whole show pokes fun at the lameness of the Community College so the cool group being lame in everyone's eyes but the characters makes sense. I also think it is funny that they are doing each season (half season?) with a new semester. Having many friends still attending Community Colleges nearing their 30s lets me know that this show could potentially keep up that theme and run for years. The writers on this show are brilliant and the actors are a great ensemble with good chemistry.

January 16 2010 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
charles

I liked the device of Jack Black always being there by intercutting him with previous scenes--the first time I saw it ("Scrubs," with Elizabeth Banks). The "I fell asleep" bit did save it.

Overall, I liked the paper notion. It seems like it will offer another avenue for interaction, and perhaps even keep the group together after they fulfill their Spanish requirement. I also dug the MASH bit.

January 15 2010 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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