Community: Season 1 Episode 20: "The Science of Illusion" Review

"That African-American police chief character Abed was playing was right!"

I guess after 19 spectacular episodes Community can be allowed one clunker. Of course, in this case "clunker" is a relative term. Tonight's episode was still better than 90% of everything on TV, but it just wasn't the laugh-a-minute ridiculous genius of every previous episode. Sure, it had some great lines like the one quoted above, but for the most part, this was the series' weakest offering to date.

As always, Abed and Troy stole the show, but both of them were barely featured in this episode. Abed served his usual function of omniscient voyeur instructing everyone in "how things would have gone on TV" and that made the Annie/Shirley buddy-cop metastoryline bearable, but for the most part, there was nothing remarkable. Buddy cop films have been parodied so much that I almost feel like buddy cop parody is now a genre in of itself ripe for parody. For a show whose bread and butter is "a twist on an old theme," this particular attempt didn't really go anywhere. I was glad that the cop from "Basic Genealogy" came back because I want this show to evolve a stable of ridiculous side characters to keep Starburns company; however, this time the cop was devoid of all melodramatics that made him so wonderful before. Disappointing.

Despite being marginalized, Troy had the episode's two best moments (the snake in a can prank and his revelation about Cookie Crisp,) and at least we got to see a clip of "Troy and Abed in the Morning." Honestly, if that were a real show, I would watch it. Instead of more Troy, we got Britta's thoroughly boring quest to be fun (although now that I think about it the fact that a story about how Britta is a buzzkill was in itself a buzzkill is kind of brilliantly self-referential) and another colossal misuse of Chevy Chase's talents.

At least Jeff didn't learn a lesson this week. That was a plus.


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Mar 26, 2010 3:17AM EDT

Troy's snake in a can prank was brilliant!

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