The tragedy and comedy of “Community” is on full display in “Introduction to Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality,” a bittersweet episode that sees Britta achieve momentary self-actualization. Meanwhile, Abed and Professor Hickey bond over a cartoon duck.
It makes sense in context. Kind of.
Britta brittas selling-out
When Professor Duncan decides to take action on his Britta crush, Jeff suggests a night out for a cause. But starving kids with cleft palates are so stirring a plight that almost everyone (except Abed and Professor Buzz Hickey — more on that later) goes along to the benefit.
But they don’t matter. Chang even wonders if he is a ghost after an avant-garde theater audience and a creepy janitor make the mentally unstable man question the his own existence.
Instead, the important part happens when Britta runs into some old activist friends. She at first is nervous that they’ll think her a sellout, but then the jerks start to mock her for not selling out enough. They’re all affluent these days, after all. And Britta? She’s pretty much worthless in their eyes.
Duncan initially tries to take advantage of Britta’s precarious emotional state but then realizes she needs to learn to define herself alone. Wow, that psychology PhD actually has uses, Professor Duncan!
Britta makes peace with herself (until next week) and Duncan gets
drinking bonding time with Jeff.
Abed and Hickey and a duck
Without Troy, Abed doesn’t have anyone to admire his original series Kickpuncher costume. He’s planning on wearing it to the reboot, since they shouldn’t have rebooted it. But is a Kickpuncher costume really a costume without someone to admire it?
For Abed, this is probably a no. And the only person around is the least interested: Professor Hickey. At least Hickey is disinterested until Abed sprays foam all over the Professor’s duck drawings. That results in Abed handcuffed to a filing cabinet in order to learn a lesson.
He doesn’t really learn that lesson, but the two men do bond a little over fear and creativity. In the end, a lot of yelling leads to a new creative partnership on Abed’s screenplay that isn’t a comedy but made Troy laugh a lot.
Moving on from Troy
This is the second “Community” episode without Troy Barnes, but it’s the first that feels like the show is getting back to itself. While Troy is mentioned in passing — and his absence is felt — the show moves forward on its own, rearranging social connections in the process.
Plus, it’s funny. It’s funny in between those moments that make you want to cry anyway. And that’s what “Community” at its best is really about.
More of that comedy stuff
- “Have you met the women that do like me, Jeff? Neither have I, but trust me — they’re bad people.” — Ian Duncan
- “She’s everything I love about America: bold, opinionated, just past her peak and starting to realize that she has to settle for less.” — Ian Duncan
- “You’re not the Marco Polo of bullying. You’re just another tourist taking a picture of a big wall.” — Abed
- “Wow, you guys did sell out!” — Britta
- “I hated Reese’s Pieces before E.T. tried them.” — Jeff
- “It’s not a Dane Cook movie, because this time, someone’s watching.” – Duncan
- “I’ve been defining myself with reactions to and from other people my whole life. Now I feel worthless, just because I’m worthless in relation to my friends — which means they’re not my friends.” — Britta
- “I always forget that, because you guys don’t really act like friends.” — Britta
- “Troy thought it was hilarious. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t a comedy.” — Abed
- “Millimeter don’t make any difference. Bullets just kind of kill you.” — Hickey
- “We’ve had our share of focus lately.” — Annie
“Speak for yourself.” — Shirley
- “Chang, you cannot be on the committee if you’re going to be actively insane.” — Annie