Community: “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality” Season 5 Episode 7 Review

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After an olympic-sized hiatus, Community is back with an episode that, while lacking in humor, had a lot of heart.

Community has been on a winning streak ever since Dan Harmon returned as showrunner. Before taking a break for the winter olympics, the show seemed to be finally settling back into old habits. This week’s episode did even more great work at further developing the Greendale Seven, with some truly touching moments and some unexpected pairings. The missing element, however, was the show’s signature funny bone.

The majority of the episode revolves around Duncan trying to make a move on Britta. Though he initially has Jeff’s permission, the two friends soon find themselves fighting over her affections. Duncan really shined in this plotline, with John Oliver delivering one of the episode’s few humorous moments–seriously, he’s much more than the british Jason Biggs.

What really amazed me, though, was the smart ways in which each of the characters became even more nuanced. Britta gained some serious introspection and learned to start relying on herself. Jeff and Duncan, realized that they need to work on their friendship. On sitcoms, you often see characters repeat the same mistakes over and over, so it was refreshing to watch these people turn over a new leaf.

Meanwhile, Abed misses a movie premiere after inadvertently pissing off Professor Hickey (has he never seen Breaking Bad?). It was clear from the start that a new friendship was going to form, but I liked their dynamic nonetheless. I also like how the writers are subtly allowing Abed to move past his friendship with Troy, instead of making a huge deal out of it. It feels a lot more authentic to his character. Professor Hickey is obviously going to be Troy’s replacement and, though I’m sure their relationship will be different, I think it will be very exciting.

There’s also a C-plot involving Chang that I don’t even want to get into because it was so out-of-place and unnecessary. Watching Chang follow different ghost theories wasn’t the most annoying thing he’s ever done, but it was hardly what I would call inspired. The whole plot seemed to be an attempt to liven up the episode with some wacky humor, but it never really worked for me. Honestly, I would have much rather watched Annie and Shirley’s trip to McDonald’s.

Overall, “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality” was pretty interesting in terms of character development, despite not having a laugh factor. I think there’s a way for Community to produce some solid comedy without sacrificing the story, and I hope to see that happen in the coming weeks. Still, many of the show’s funniest moments have come about because the characters are so wonderfully unique, so since this episode helped to make them more established, I’m willing to let the joke thing slide for now. Grade: B

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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