Community: “Basic Story” Season 5, Episode 12 Review

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Dan Harmon and co. use the season’s penultimate episode as set up for what will hopefully be a spectacular finale.

Despite Community‘s hot streak this season, the show has not yet moved forward with it’s plans for “six seasons and a movie.” With no confirmation that the Greendale gang will be returning next year, the writers have the tricky task of creating a final episode that could very well be the final episode, while also leaving the door open for more. “Basic Story” lays the groundwork for some exciting plotpoints in next week’s ender, but unfortunately humor is lost in the process.

The plot revolves around an insurance appraiser (comedian Michael McDonald) coming to the school to determine its worth. Fortunately, the Save Greendale Committee seems to have actually done their job. Greendale’s problems are pretty much fixed. With everything so bright and sunny, something–as Abed predicts in the cold open–is bound to go wrong. He’s right, of course, as we soon learn that the school board is planning to sell the campus real estate to a major corporation.

In a nice little throwback to season 3’s “Urban Matrimony and Sandwich Arts,” the corporation in question turns out to be Subway. Jared the Subway Guy even makes a cameo. Annie struggles to pull the team together to find a way to save the school, but even Jeff admits there’s really nothing they can do.

Of course, there’s no way Community is going to go out like this. If this is the last season, we can all be assured that next week’s episode will surely have a few tricks up its sleeve. What’s disappointing is that with all this buildup, the writers neglected to infuse the plot with the show’s signature funny bone. The jokes were few and far in between, and some of the characters had subplots that were downright annoying. Abed trying to stay out of the story so Greendale could be successfully appraised, while himself being confused as to what to do while “out of the story,” was a story that went nowhere. Dani Pudi is usually a treat to watch onscreen, but this week I found his antics to be rather pointless and incessant.

Still, there were some solid moments. I enjoyed Duncan and Hickey’s conversation during the closing credits, as well as the Dean trying to get crushed by the vending machine. What really struck me, though, was Jeff and Britta’s conversation in the study room. It wasn’t particularly funny, but it spoke to both of their characters very well. Jeff and Britta are the closest thing Community has to a will-they-or-won’t-they couple. Jeff’s decision for them to get married because “otherwise, what’s the point,” seemed to be speaking more to sitcom romances in general than to the actual plot. Think about it. What would the Friends finale have been if Rachel never got off that plane? I’m not exactly sure what Harmon is getting at here, but I have a feeling that a certain pairing off is going to happen next week.

In the end, Abed, Annie, and the Dean find a hidden piece of paper behind a photo in his office. It has something to do with buried treasure, and I’m sure we’ll learn all about it in “Basic Sandwich.” I’m waiting in anticipation for what’s to come, but I wish we didn’t have to sit through this half-hour preview beforehand. #SaveGreendale you guys. Grade: B-


By Mike Papirmeister

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