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October 9, 2015

'Community' - 'Modern Warfare' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted May 6th 2010 10:36PM
'Community' - 'Modern Warfare'(S01E23) I'm starting to feel woefully unprepared for 'Community' each week. This week, I should have boned up on every action and war movie ever made. Then I could have caught the zillions of references to each of them throughout this incredibly unexpected and entertaining episode.

'Community' has never strayed away from the absurd when looking for "the funny." This, however, is the first time that they've essentially destroyed the entire set to do so. That we are to believe this was all for a game prize ... well, that actually works.

Over-the-top is what these characters do. From the '28 Days Later' nod with Jeff waking up to a post-apocalyptic campus, to the brilliant directing by Justin Lin ('Fast & Furious') and framing of all the action sequences, there was a true love for the action genre pouring forth onto the screen.

Every staple was covered, from tragic death (Shirley) to the guy who doesn't even know he's done for (Abed). The kamikaze soldier willing to take everyone with him (Chang) to the brave soldier who sacrificed everything to take him down (Britta). Even the final showdown in the dean's office was classic 'Rambo'-style vengeance. All this loss! And for what? And for what!?!

In the midst of all the paintball carnage and chaos, the writers even managed to address the long, awkward, forced sexual tension between Jeff and Britta. Thankfully, they went ahead and rode that pony just to get it out of the way. Abed, who's the most attuned to the fiction of their reality, knows that something has changed ... other than Pierce's choice of underwear.

The beauty of this union was that it wasn't about bringing the characters together, and possibly destroying the show in the process. It was about getting out from under that albatross of sexual tension. Just get it out of the way and put it in the past so these characters can move forward.

The chemistry between Britta and Jeff never came off naturally, so the audience wasn't clamoring for them to wind up together. If anything, we were getting annoyed whenever the issue would come up again. Cleverly, the writers put that in there as well by having the rest of the study group represent us, the audience. They just wanted the two of them to have sex and move on as well.

The tension is there, it was built into the pilot. It's not going to go away until you have sex. By having the sex come as part of this warfare story, it's layered with deception and mistrust, which works even better for the relationship they've established all season.

We now need to find out if Abed is right and things will change, or if the writers will keep trying to force feed us tension. Maybe one final blow-up to establish once and for all that they are just friends. After all, I'm still exploring the sexual tension between Pierce and Shirley. I know he's feeling it.

Like most action movies, there isn't a whole lot more to say about the plot. But, like action movies, it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch it all go down. The seriousness in which the characters took the situation -- nobody cheated and shot someone after they themselves had been eliminated (Come on! ) -- kept us in the hyper-reality established from the moment Jeff woke from his nap.

Classic moments of awesomeness included Abed's run up the wall to take out the old dude, the girls taking down guys while their flies were open at the urinals, Pierce's betrayal of Starburns and his subsequent "death" orchestrated by Jeff telling him not to come over. They even connected the guy bringing back disco and roller skates with a pretty awesome sequence in the cafeteria.

Yes, they were huddled over a fire in the cafeteria as if madness had consumed the world. Embrace the surreality of it, because it makes it so much better when you do. 'Community' is ridiculous but it works. Tonight was an absolutely brilliant example of going crazy without going too far. The characters were true to who they are throughout, and in the end Shirley got the prize Jeff had won. Because he is a decent guy, after all. And that's the moral of every episode.

[Plan your schedule with clips and full episodes of 'Community' at SlashControl or below!]

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The final scene in the dean's office wasn't Rambo, you mook, it was Die Hard 1.

August 05 2010 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Watch Community - Modern Warfare Full Episode here


July 12 2010 at 9:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


May 08 2010 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm pretty sure "Jeff Winger.. You son of a bitch!", followed by the handshake is a reference to Predator, when Dutch (Schwarzenegger) and Dillon (Carl Weathers) meet at the US Army base. They have the same high-five/handshake exchange and Dutch proclaims, "Dillon.. You son of a bitch!"

May 08 2010 at 7:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Jeff Winger...you son of a b tch. I thought you were dead man."

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ref? (from the training intro?)

May 07 2010 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This episode was hilarious. I loved all the references. My favorite line was when Troy yelled, "I'm not an ambassador!" at Shirley. Donald Glover's Troy is my favorite character.

May 07 2010 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Doran

As one of this show's older viewers, I hope I'm not just imagining this ...

... but it sems to me that they're giving old Leonard more and more to do with each new episode.

Three cheers for Richard Erdman!
(and maybe in a future show they'll give him a stopwatch.)

May 07 2010 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Funniest episode of the season.

May 07 2010 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Terrific review, Jason. I often find the recaps on this site gut-wrenchingly stupid, but this was excellent.

Was this the first time the theme song during the opening credits was longer than a few seconds?

May 07 2010 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved Jeff and Britta FINALLY getting together. This is going to be good.

I think the Die Hard reference, with Jeff pulling the gun from his back, was my favorite - but there were just so many!

May 07 2010 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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