Pick of the Week - March 31-April 6, 2014

The television series, Community, has a reputation for being a bit off-kilter…and that may be a huge understatement.  While the show is ostensibly about a group of people attending a community college, uninitiated viewers flipping to the show for the first time may find themselves confronted by parallel universes, stop-motion animation in the style of Rankin-Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television special, or a dead-on parody of Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary this time covering a war between forces supporting blanket forts versus pillow fortsA recent episode found the entire campus descend into a dystopian nightmare with a rigid class structure due to a new social rating app called MeowMeowBeenz, and this week promises an animated episode in the style of the 1980s GI Joe cartoon series.

So…yeah.  It can get a little strange.

My pick this week offers a more comprehensible look at heights Community is capable of.  The 23rd episode of Community’s first season is called “Modern Warfare,” and is really best described as the comedy’s version of an action movie.  I hesitate to say much more beyond that it involves a competition, and, having spent years as an undergraduate and graduate student, I completely get the characters’ desire to win the prize.

And since I brought up the characters, there’s enough about them in “Modern Warfare” for new viewers to quickly grasp who they are and a bit about their personalities.  It was actually the first episode of the series I ever watched thanks to a good friend who insisted that I would love the show.  He was absolutely right.

- Alan Decker

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