As pleasant as a midsummer’s breeze, last night’s Community was a soothing affair with a number of cleverly written zingers. If the episode’s story lines didn’t quite work (especially with regard to Britta’s foolhardy determination to please Troy’s grandmother), the show compensated with some mighty fine dialogue — lines that I laughed at initially and then laughed again once I wrote them down. And Katharine McPhee displayed surprising naturalism, despite her dyed-blond hair. The character of Amber, Pierce’s grifting ex-stepdaughter, isn’t somebody your neurons will remember one week from now, but McPhee allowed the character to become more than just a celebrity cameo. There was a believable, if short-lived, spark between Joel McHale and McPhee, and the latter managed to reveal Amber’s crooked personality while hiding behind a mischievous smile, which made her all the more contemptible (as intended).
No, “Basic Genealogy” didn’t match last week’s resplendent display of bare billiards, but it eased this tired mind after a long day of stress, and for that it should be thanked (and in case you haven’t heard, NBC has rewarded Community by picking it up for a second season). Right on cue, the episode’s six best moments:
1. Señor Chang to Abed’s fully shrouded cousin: “Hey, Phantom Menace, how’s the trade embargo with the Naboo?”
2. Jeff to Annie: “Disappointing you is like choking the little mermaid with a bike chain.”
3. Pierce: “I’ve never been called a stepdad.”
Jeff: “I don’t think anyone has.”
4. Pierce’s Pictionary attempt at drawing a windmill quickly turned into a swastika, which ultimately caused Señor Chang to attack Pierce. The episode’s best line, delivered by a local police officer, quickly followed: “I may just be a simple cop, but people need to know. This isn’t going to stop until Pictionary bans the word ‘windmill.'”
5. A sobbing Jeff who’s been dumped by Professor Slater: “We always used to watch the shows she wanted to watch. I hate Glee! I hate it. I don’t understand the appeal at all!”
6. Troy: “I think I hit G13.”
PopWatchers, who else felt ready for a game of Pictionary after Thursday’s episode?