Community: Conventions of Space and Time Season 4 Episode 3 Review

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Community is back up to its old tricks.  Tonight’s episode wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely a step in the right direction.

Over the years, the Greendale Seven have definitely taken their share of strange field trips.  Tonight was no exception as the gang traveled to an Inspector Spacetime Convention.  Well, really, Troy and Abed traveled to the convention, everyone else was just tagging along.  The episode featured a great cold open in which Troy, nervous about how Abed would handle the news of him and Britta sleeping together, forces Britta out his window and into a strange acrobatic act in order to not be seen together when Abed opens the door.  Of course, Abed already knows they’re doing it and doesn’t care.  It’s a little annoying that, four seasons in, people keep babying Abed.  Sure, he freaked out about everyone leaving Greendale, but who doesn’t have graduation anxiety?  He can handle relationship news just fine.

Anyway, as the gang descends upon the convention they once again split off into smaller groups to deal with separate issues.  It turns out Abed has invited Inspector Spacetime’s number one fan (Bridesmaid’s Matt Lucas) to join in on the fun.  This comes as a low blow to Troy, who sees the move as an attempt to replace him.  He tries to make friends with their new companion, but instead has one of his trademark freakouts in the middle of a discussion panel.  Ah, Donald Glover.  You’re never better than when you’re running around and screaming like a girl.

After Jeff doesn’t want to hang out with her, Annie decides to spend the weekend in her hotel room, having never been on an “adult vacation” before.  When the concierge mistakes her for “Mrs. Winger,” she rolls with it.  At first I thought this was simply Annie committing to another character, like she did when she got a fake ID to go bar hopping.  Then it dawned on me that this new moniker might have brought up some unresolved feelings she has for Jeff.  I’m not exactly sure how I feel about the two of them together.  On one hand, the age difference is a little unnerving.  And yet, I’m intrigued every time they share the screen.

The humor was definitely improved upon this week, with several great moments that had me laughing.  Additionally, Dr. Who fans will surely appreciate all the references that Inspector Spacetime brings to the table.  Still, I don’t think Community is quite on par with its old self yet.  I know that may sound harsh, but I have fond memories of watching several episodes and succumbing to uncontrollable laughter week after week.  The show is getting close to that point again, but it’s not there yet.

In a smaller plotline, Shirley and Pierce, who weren’t invited on the trip because of their age, end up sneaking in and get roped into a focus group that’s testing a new American version of Inspector Space Time.  Pierce of course gives some ridiculous notes, while Shirley makes the astute observation that people like the British version because its “smart, complicated, and doesn’t talk down to its audience.”

Clearly, she isn’t just talking about Inspector Spacetime.  The reason people love Community so much is just that.  It has a smart sense of humor, knows its fan base, and doesn’t try to be something it’s not.  Tonight’s episode perfectly exemplified that.  In the end, Abed realizes Troy is the only BFF he’ll ever need, Jeff makes a promise to start hanging out with Annie more, and Pierce becomes responsible for a ridiculous American version of Inspector Spacetime starring 90210 alums Luke Perry and Jennie Garth. It all showed how much fun this group of people can have together, and how much fun this show can be in general.  Sure, this episode wasn’t the best, but I see great things in Community‘s future.  Grade: B+

By Mike Papirmeister

3 Responses to Community: Conventions of Space and Time Season 4 Episode 3 Review

  1. Eddie says:

    I really liked this episode! I agree with you about the show not quite hitting its old stride yet, but it feels like we’re getting there. Britta’s acrobatics cracked me up, and I thought the same thing about Annie; that she was just playing another role. I work at DISH and watched “Conventions” with some of my coworkers, and they dug it, too. Of course, since we watched it in a group I missed a few things, so I’m going to give it a re-watch after work today to make sure I catch it all. Since it airs during primetime, on one of the four major networks, my DISH Hopper recorded it, and I can watch it when I get home.

  2. John says:

    I don’t think the age difference between Annie and Jeff is too very much larger than that between Troy and Britta. I take the former to be about 14 years apart; the latter, 8 or 9 years.

  3. Wow! Ultra enjoyable piece. I’m just storing the web site immediately. Cheers!

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