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Community - Season 3, Ep. 11: "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts"

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It seems like an eternity since we last walked in the halls of Greendale Community College. Yes, Community is back (at the expense of Parks and Recreation being on the air (but that's another post)!

It had been so long since we saw the study table that I think I wanted to like this episode more than I actually did. I'm not saying that it was a bad episode -- just an uneven one.

It's about time that we got a Shirley-centric episode. Yvette Nicole Brown, aside from her ping-pong rivalry with Jeff, has been pretty quiet this season. The show returned to the reason Shirley came to Greendale in the first place - to start a cupcake business because her husband left her. But those two things conflict this week as she tried to start an on-campus sandwich shop with Pierce at Britta's urging and is about to remarry her husband, Andre (Malcolm Jamal Warner), who proposed in the cafeteria with some MotownPhilly flavor.

Troy and Abed, insulted by Shirley's request to "behave normally", overcompensated as usual and decide purge themselves of their weirdness for the wedding. I was excited by the prospect but thought it ended up being more miss than hit. It did give us one great scene when Andre couldn't tell if they were being sarcastic as he was getting angry about Shirley's absence from the wedding rehearsal.

This episode also made me realize that Britta is starting to become a problem character to me the way that Pierce was at the end of last season. I was hoping that the arc of her majoring in psychology and potential love interest in Troy was going to give us a more improved character but this episode saw us return to the well of Britta, the pseudo-activist buzzkill. The only hitch was her newfound talent in wedding planing and floral designs. I think what always drives me crazy is Britta's logic tends to be so nonsensical that I find it hard to care. I hold none of this against Gillian Jacobs who does a wonderful job at Britta and has become a great comedic actress in the last two and a half seasons.

It sounds like I didn't like the episode but despite my complaints, I enjoyed it. I missed the way this casts interacts with one another and the sharp writing. I loved that, despite the sandwich shop being ruined by Subway, Shirley finds new middle ground with Andre and somehow seems to be the only one actuality getting an education at Greendale. I just hope we don't spend too much time away from Shirley achieving her goals.

Crib Sheet:

  • Without havig to go up against The Big Bang Theory, Community posted it's highest ratings of the season and best ratings in episode five of the second season. This only proves the point that it's the 8 P.M. timeslot that is killing the show.
  • At the PaleyFest panel, Dan Harmon said that the episodes got weird without the "feedback loop" from fans that definitely informed some of their decisions with the storylines. I'm both curious and terrified. You can watch the whole panel on Hulu
  • Between Jeff and Pierce both having serious daddy issues, I thought I was watching Lost
  • It was nice to see Annie's Boobs again.
  • My favorite part of the episode was Shirley's reaction to Britta's offer to plan her wedding. The black screen/white text was a nice touch.
  • "I've loved you since there was only one Soviet Union and one Damon Wayans. - Andre
  • "Do you even know what an analogy is?"
    "It's a a thought... with another thought's hat on." - Jeff and Britta
  • "We'll try not to embarrass your community college library wedding" - Troy
  • Shirley, my ninth grade English teacher used to say, "There will always be a reason not to follow your dreams". At the time, he meant I was under the age of consent but his words still apply. - Britta
  • "The "Webster's Dictionary defines" intro is The Jim Belushi of speech openings: it accomplishes nothing, but everyone keeps on using it, and no one knows why." - Annie