Foosball Divides and Unites Jeff and Shirley on 'Community' (VIDEO)
by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 2nd 2011 12:30AM
With only two episodes left before NBC puts it on the shelf until some undetermined time in the future, 'Community' (Thu., 8PM ET on NBC) pulled out all the stops with a brilliant episode that continued their ongoing exploration this season of the group dynamics.
This time, the pairing of Jeff and Shirley bore some truly tender fruit. The two have never really been close, mainly because of ideological differences. Through the power of foosball, and Jeff's super-competitive nature, we learned that not only is Shirley a master of the game, but she and Jeff have a shared history.
Jeff quit playing years ago because he was bullied and bested. It turns out he was bested by Shirley, who admitted to going to a dark place when she played. But while this shared childhood experience almost tore them apart, in the end it drew them closer together and they were able to bond over their shared genius at foosball, and their desire to never let it tarnish their souls again.
But before they walked away, Shirley trained Jeff to best the German bullies on campus and the two became so intense it could only be fully expressed in Japanese anime. Just another example of how this show pushes the boundaries of what comedy does, and always makes it work for the laughs.
Seeing that younger version of Shirley filled with meanness spoke a lot about who she is as a person now, and feeds brilliantly into the choices she's made since then to try and always be kind and generous to people. She was broken in spirit as much as Jeff was when she sent him to Tinkletown.
The other half of the episode was a simpler, but zanier story, that showed how solid a team Abed, Troy and Annie can be together. She's still finding her niche in the group, but we love that she actually helped instigate the insanity that Troy was hoping she would help curb.
Add to that Leonoard's YouTube pizza review and Andy Rooney like text rant at the end, and this episode is a classic example of why 'Commmunity' is one of the most criminally under-appreciated shows on television.