Community is back – and bigger than ever. I mean that literally. The season three premiere kicked off with a dramatic song and dance number that far surpassed the more subdued first and second season openers. Declaring "we’re gonna be more normal," the entire cast dances through the school, stating that it’s going to be a fresh start for all of them.
Abed and Troy announce they have moved in together over the summer, although Abed’s happiness about the situation is cut short when he finds out that his beloved Cougar Town has been moved to mid-season. Meanwhile, Dean Pelton makes it quite clear that he’s decided to revamp the school, as they finally have the money to make some changes – "no more paintball, no more trampolines," he says to the group, with some nice nods to high points of the past season. Jeff is simply glad that Pierce is gone after the events of last season’s finale.
But Pierce does come back, much to the happiness of the group and much to the chagrin of Jeff. Jeff claims that Pierce can’t rejoin because he’s not in biology, which they have all elected to take together. Coincidence, then, that in their very first biology class, Jeff gets kicked out by his new inmate-turned-PHD-professor (brilliantly played by The Wire’s Omar K. Williams) for bad cell phone behavior? I think not.
While complaining to the security guards about the apparent "monkeys" living in the vents, Dean Pelton gets a rather intensive visit from the new Vice Dean Laybourne, head of the air conditioning repair school, who promises that if Dean Pelton visits him, he’ll tell him "whassup." In the cafeteria, Abed’s Cougar Town induced happiness quickly comes to a stop when Cougartown Abbey – the new show Britta found for him – ends with the entire cast dying. While Troy tries to reprimand Britta for the hurt she’s inflicted on his best friend, Britta simply states, "that’s the great thing about British tv – they give you closure."
Jeff goes to apologize for getting kicked out of biology, but the professor doesn’t want to hear it. Upon seeing a picture Pierce on the table and believing he has been set up, Jeff finally loses it. He goes off on the now-homeless Chang (who has been living in the vents of the school) and ends up getting attacked by monkey gas while following him through the vents, resulting in a dream-like trance where he sees himself and Pierce in an almost nightmarish way.
Britta, meanwhile, has found another show for Abed to obsess over – Inspector Spacetime (a nice parody on Doctor Who.) "This is my new favorite show," Abed says in a way that only Danny Pudi can articulate. Jeff storms into the study room, claiming Pierce got him kicked out of biology, while Pierce refutes his argument. Taking his rage to a new level, Jeff grabs an ax and begins to chop up the study table, as the group watches in horror. Dean Pelton takes this moment to come by and tell them that things won’t be that different at Greendale after all, due to the fact that they don’t have the money that they thought they did.
The group goes to talk to Jeff, who has gone into a somewhat of a cationic state after his outburst. Jeff admits that he didn’t want the group to fall apart, he just didn’t want Pierce around. Once Annie says that she can’t be friends with Jeff anymore due to his behavior, Pierce breaks down and admits he paid the professor a few thousand dollars to kick Jeff out of the study group so he could join. And before the study group can get upset enough to oust Pierce yet again, Jeff steps in with his classic Winger speech – they’re all friends no matter what, because they have something special. Why should they rush to get out of something that’s so good for them?
At the end of the episode, Britta admits that helping Abed helped her – to choose a major. Yes, our lovely self-absorbed Britta Perry will be studying psychology. Did anyone see that coming?
Dean Pelton finds out that the "monkey" living in the vents is actually Chang, and offers him a job as a campus security cop. Putting Chang back into a power of authority? It’s a great move on Community’s part, and one that will hopefully give Ken Jeong a chance to really spread his acting chops more than he did in season 2.
The entire scene of Vice Dean Laybourne inviting Dean Pelton to this (very lavish) office, and then proceeding to terrorize our favorite Dalmatian-loving superior was a nice reminder of exactly the type of character Goodman will be during his time on the show.
Entertaining, humorous and insightful, the premiere was a great way to kick off the season, and I'm really excited to see what's in store for the upcoming episodes. What did you think of John Goodman? And do you think the drama with Pierce is really over?