TV RECAP: COMMUNITY EP. 404, “Alternative History of the German Invasion”

Posted on March 1, 2013 by

I want to be able to say that Community is getting better—but it isn’t. The only thing keeping me tuning in is the hope that, hey, we’re only four episodes in. There’s plenty of time to turn the season around. That and the fact that show is clearly fighting with everything they have to survive. While the actors and writers are still trying their best, it’s just not working. Usually Danny Pudi or Donald Glover will have lines or a scene that will stand out and save the show for me, but even this week their efforts (and there were a few hilarious moments! – “It’s like a Darren Aronofsky film…”) couldn’t revive this episode.

If you didn’t catch it, here are the five things that happened this week:

1. They’re baaaaack. The Germans, that is.

Remember way back to season two when Jeff and Shirley battle royal-ed for the rights to the foosball table? Yeah. Those guys. The lackluster antagonists return this week to attempt to steal the study room. The best part about this? All the German puns at the writers’ disposal. The bad? They didn’t even bring back Nick Kroll! He was the best one! Although well done to his replacement for the manic evil laughter during history class.

2. Oktoberfest.

In a Hogan’s Hero-style ruse attempt, the group foils the German’s by planning a fake Oktoberfest on campus. It was entertaining for multiple reasons as it referenced a number of German stereotypes. The best part of the scene, though, is when one of the Germans blatantly motorboats a couple of the 99 red balloons in the background. Oh yeah, that happened. It’s right after Jeff says “Ruse? No Ruse!” at 13:08 minutes in. Check it.

3. “It turns out, we’re the Germans.”

Greendale has had it with the study group. After winning it back, the group walks into the study room to find the majority of the student body protesting their use of it. This scene was amusing with their not so subtle nod to the Occupy Wall Street Movement as one sign, in particular, read “We are the 99 per cent,” the Movement’s catch phrase. The flashbacks to examples of when the study group’s tyranny impacted notable side characters were great and took us back to classic episodes such as when Annie’s pen goes missing. The problem with the whole plot though is that it kind of made me hate the study group, too. Is that wrong? I feel kind of guilty…

4. “Kevin” has Changnesia…Amdeansia.

via fromcydonia.tumblr.com

Chang’s back. Kind of. Not really. My brain hurts. Dean Pelton is tasked with taking care of Kevin, a.k.a. Professor Chang, who returns claiming to have changed after coming down with “Changnesia” which has left him with no recollection of his past atrocities. Are we buying it though? I kept waiting for a plot twist to reveal another evil plan but it never happened. Is this really how Chang’s character is going to be from now on? Chang was always good for making the story line interesting, now he’s the dullest of them all. *Shakes fist to the heavens* Curse you, writers, curse you.

5. Professor McAwesome.

Malcolm McDowell? YES, PLEASE? The star joins the ranks of Betty White, John Goodman, John Michael Higgins and other A-listers as he makes a guest appearance as the European history teacher, Professor Cornwallis. This was the episode’s saving grace, and they only used him for a few brief scenes. After being fired from Oxford for an affair with a student, professor Cornwallis joins the Greendale staff only to be severely disappointed. His last scene ends with him saying, “Maybe it’s not too late to get out of my contract.” But—but?! My emotions! Not to worry though, a little bird has informed me that McDowell signed on for a two-episode story line, so we’ll be seeing him again next week. …A little bird named Google.

Please, PLEASE Community, take note from the success of past seasons and episodes. Having unbelievable guest stars is pretty much all you have going for you right now. Give them more than a fraction of a second of airtime. Utilize them!

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