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Foosball Divides and Unites Jeff and Shirley on 'Community' (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 2nd 2011 12:30AM

'Community' - 'Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism'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.

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I really enjoyed this episode. The anime bit was a little surprising, but at the same time, it was meant to depict the "epic battle" that was about to take place (but didn't, which got a chuckle or two out of me). Maybe this is just my perspective though since I grew up watching anime, but I thought it was pretty spot-on. I also loved that they connected two of the characters in the past. I thought it was cute, and the way both of their characters changed was endearing, in a way.

December 03 2011 at 4:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I personally loved the episode. Anytime Abed is Batman is nothing short of hilarious every time he is one screen. The whole annie part of that was kind of a miss for me. However I liked the Jeff and Shirley aspect of it, who would have thought that Shirley aka BIg Chedder is the one that created Jeff as we know him today. It might have been awesomely funny (however Nick Kroll as the german foosball player was damn funny) but at least it deepens the aspects of the characters a bit. Comedies don't do that, they have a special episode here and there but nothing that further entrenches our like for a character.

Jeff has been somewhat of a villain this year. In contrast and similarity to Pierce. And to see that episode last night I enjoyed the depth. And while I might not put it in my top 5 or my episode to show a person to give them a chance to appreciate the show. But still it was the best comedy on last night, on a network(The League'sepisode was too funny) .

December 02 2011 at 12:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Crap episodes like this one won't get Community back on the air. Doing things because you can, not because they're funny, ruins the show.
Yeah, some will say the Anime sequence was cool, but was it funny? NO!

December 02 2011 at 9:18 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

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