Community: “Wedding Videography” Season 6 Episode 12 Review

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The gang at their worst is Community at its absolute best.

This season of Community has spent a good amount of time trying to breathe fresh life into its meta-comedy during its sixth year on the air—or, in this case, online. Not all of this has worked, but, surprisingly, the show’s strongest episodes have simply been updates of old plotlines. Last week’s “Modern Espionage” gave a new twist to the series’ elaborate paintball narrative, and ended up being a total success.

This week, the gang dives back into the mockumentary sitcom format from “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking” and “Documentary Filmmaking: Redux,” as Abed agrees to be the wedding videographer for Garrett (Erik Charles Nielson) and Stacy’s wedding.

Really, though, this episode reminded me of season 3’s “Competitive Ecology,” in which the group unwillingly torments Todd (David Neher) in an attempt to successfully pair off during their biology assignments. Episodes like these step back to examine whether or not the gang is a force of good or evil within the universe of Greendale. Though their recent efforts have been utilized through the Save Greendale Committee, it’s nice to be reminded that Jeff Winger and Co. are a group of deeply flawed people themselves. After all, why else would they be enrolled where they are?

“Competitive Ecology” is a bit of a disjointed episode, but “Wedding Videography” makes full use of the cast in order to examine how they interact with each other. This is, perhaps, the first time in the season that the new group has worked together so cohesively. Frankie and Elroy are worked seamlessly into a plot that, for once, isn’t about Jeff’s crippling fear of aging or redeeming Dean Pelton as the head of a school.

Each member of the Save Greendale Committee has their own distinct personality, and the mockumentary format allowed for each one to shine through. Jeff’s narcissism is front-and-center when he decides to take on the best man toast after Garrett’s twin brother relapses. Frankie is excellent as her problem-solving skills cause her to do things like pop her head into Jeff’s confessional in order to prove he’s fostering codependency, and give an aside that Annie should be kept away from Jeff at all costs.

Additionally, Annie struggles to deal with her incessant need to help others, Britta finds confidence in dancing solo, and Elroy hilariously relapses into “encouraging white people.” Abed, meanwhile, is a fly-on-the-wall as the resident documentarian. Though he doesn’t say much, his presence is always felt, and he’s able to reveal much about the group through very minimal dialogue.

Chang even gets a moment to shine after Jeff’s fervent attempts to give the world’s best wedding toast crash and burn when he inadvertently discovers that Garrett and Stacy are cousins. Ken Jeong’s charismatic speech is a welcome departure from his usual absurdist delivery, proving that Chang can be an interesting character if the writer’s want him to be. True, he ends up encouraging an incestuous relationship, but his heart is in the right place.

The episode’s best scenes occur when the gang is together as a group. It’s here where you can see just how well the cast has gelled together since the season 6 premiere. Whether Britta and Annie are having a hilarious back-and-forth about cleaning the apartment, everyone is doing Garrett/celebrity wedding impersonations, or Dean Pelton is simply shouting, “I used to be a good Dean before you all showed up!” it’s pretty incredible stuff.

Next week marks the season finale of Community, and its fate past that point seems totally uncertain. Gillian Jacobs has signed on to do a Judd Apatow Netflix series, Ken Jeong’s Dr. Ken pilot has been picked up by ABC, and Yahoo! hasn’t said a word about whether or not they plan to renew. It might be for the better. If Community is ending for real, then it has an opportunity to go out on a high note. Still, if this episode proves anything, it’s that this show still has some tricks up its sleeve. Grade: A


Some Other Notes:

– Was the ending tag supposed to make the incest plotline less weird…because it didn’t. Oh well…Hi, Mr. Harmon!

– Very nice touch that Todd—the last subject of the group’s tormentation—returns as the wedding officiant for Garrett and Stacy, and has a god complex.

– The best part of Elroy’s encouraging is when he literally starts singing about a man’s pants and how good they look. Keith David totally nails it.

– Annie, and Alison Brie by proxy, give great “dead wife footage” for Abed.

– Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs seriously have the best chemistry this season. Everything from “pay your rent, Britta!” to their back-and-forth about cleaning the apartment in this episode has been exceptionally hilarious.

– The awkward tension between Annie, Britta, and Frankie as she arrives early for their pre-wedding party is excellent.

– “Annie, stop Jim-ing the camera” might be the best Abed line—and joke about The Office—ever. For anyone wondering, he’s referencing this.


By Mike Papirmeister

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