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'Community' recap: Where's the love?

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Oy. I mentioned last week how, after delivering a couple of genuinely superb shows, Community has a tendency to then crack under pressure. The result is a clunker of an episode, and last night’s “Communication Studies” unfortunately continued the trend. Flipping through my notes, I was alarmed by how few jokes I had jotted down. Also, neither of the show’s two story lines was remotely involving. On the one hand, we had Britta drunk dialing Jeff and subsequently feeling quite embarrassed about it. By now we know that Britta harbors some feelings for Jeff, and yet it seemed out of character for her to mope around so pathetically for the majority of the episode. In an attempt to salvage Britta’s pride, Jeff (with the help of Abed) gets drunk himself and leaves Britta a voice message. And as far as Britta’s concerned, that evens the playing field. But shouldn’t Britta have seen right through Jeff’s scheme? Wouldn’t she think it was suspicious that he drunk dialed her in a matter of days? Maybe Jeff’s call contained enough TMI material for Britta to feel redeemed, but still, I didn’t quite buy it.

The other story line was an absolute misfire. Pierce and Troy were ashamed by their lack of girlfriends as Valentine’s Day approached, so they sent themselves Valentine’s gifts. Señor Chang instantly realized what was going on and publicly teased Troy and Pierce in front of the class. After Shirley and Annie’s failed attempt to get back at Chang, the teacher forced Troy and Pierce to be his escorts at the school’s Valentine’s Dance — and the two were required to wear pantsuits. How much this joke worked for you depends on how humorous you find the sight of two men in women’s clothing. After that, we had to watch Troy grit his teeth while being slapped in the rear by Chang, and well, that scene has to be one of Community‘s most painfully forced attempts at a laugh.

Of course, by next week, Community will have most likely returned to its witty ways, and this particular episode will have been locked away in the part of our brains previously occupied by Chumbawamba. But if we must remember it for a few more minutes, here were the show’s five best moments:

1. Abed: “Tony even saw Angela naked on the opening credits of Who’s the Boss?

Jeff: “And did Tony do something to fix that?”

Abed: “I don’t know. I could never get past the opening credits.”

2. Jeff: “She has more fights about stuff that doesn’t matter than a YouTube comments section!”

3. Jeff to Abed: “I can’t feel things with you studying me like a beige praying mantis.”

4. Jeff and Abed’s drunken montage, complete with Breakfast Club dancing, blow-torching hot dogs that have been soaked in vodka, and Jeff doing shirtless push-ups with what looked like a stuffed monkey resting on his back.

5. At the Valentine’s Dance, I got a chuckle out of seeing the school mascot, the Human Being (who became the Cupid Being during Valentine’s week). The poor guy was wearing a kissing-booth costume, and the 25-cents fee had been crossed out and replaced with “Kisses free today!” Here’s to hoping that someone answered the Human Being’s wish.

PopWatchers, do you wish comedy shows didn’t feel obligated to shoot a Valentine’s episode? And how long do you think it’ll be before Jeff and Britta finally hook up, if at all?