• Community recap: Competitive Wine Tasting

    Chevy Chase and Joel McHale

    This episode had me at hello.

    Well, it had me at one word in the title: wine. No, it had me at two words: wine and competitive. (I could take or leave “tasting.”) The Greendale bunch is at its best when there’s some sort of competition brewing (see also: paintball), and I had high hopes that this one would rock my face off. So let’s get to the recap, shall we?

    On campus, it’s time to sign up for spring electives. (It will take me four paragraphs to SET UP and explain Annie’s story about her semester of How to Write Jokes, thereby sapping it of all its funny juice, but for those of you who know what I’m talking about: brillz, right???) Britta and Troy are going to take The Actor Inside (foosball was full), Abed’s taking Who Indeed: A Critical Analysis of Television’s Who’s the Boss? and Jeff’s registered for Italian Wine Tasting, as are Pierce and Chang. (Chang’s mostly in it for the free coats.)

    At the first wine tasting, a beautiful Asian woman catches Jeff and Pierce’s eye. (Her stereotypical nymphet voice clues us in to the fact that something’s up.) Jeff moves in, but the little dumpling shoots him down. Specifically, she instructs him to take his “weird haircut, stupid grin and go sniff another dog’s ass.” Yep, something’s definitely amiss.

    In acting, Professor Professorson wants the students to emotalize about a painful memory. Troy, whose idyllic younger years were characterized by football games, pep rallies and general AwesomeGoodTimes™, is not such a hit with the tortured, feely set. (He conveniently forgets about the hosebeast grandma who spanked Britta in season one.) To compensate, he blurts out that his uncle put his finger in his no-no (cutting off the ever-invisible and always-interrupted girl with the hat from the election whose name I can’t remember because, well, she’s invisible. Debbie, maybe?). Even Britta bites. Poor Troy.

    Over in Abed’s laugh-tracked class (nice touch, Community writers!), the professor opens with one of those rhetorical questions TV versions of college classes often do: Who was the boss? Abed knows. It was Angela. But Prof. Peter Sheffield does not appreciate Abed’s literalism and gives him the kind of look that one of my journalism professors once gave me to let me know she hated my ugly guts. I fear for Abed.

    Back in the study lounge, Pierce is with the gal who rejected Jeff (Woo Mae?)—and they’re engaged. They got to talking after wine-tasting and he liked her boobs, and…oh, who cares. They’re engaged, okay? Is she a gold digger, is it something else…who knows—but I don’t want to wait too long to find out.

    Britta’s doting on Troy in that Britta way of hers, and while Abed may not be a hit in his WTB class, he sure is insightful when it comes to his friends: He knows something’s up. Troy cops to his lie (PS: a no-no is a butt? I guess Troy’s use of the preposition “in” should have tipped me off.), and Abed breaks it down like so: Britta’s attracted to men in pain. It helps her pretend to be mentally healthy. (Also, Troy is OBSESSED with butts. He mentions one practically every episode.) Abed warns his BFF that nothing good can come of his lie, and Troy agrees. Then we (yawn) cut to a sobbing, still-pretending-to-be-molested Troy in Professerson’s class. This pushes all of Britta’s girlie buttons, and she kisses him. (Eh.)

    Jeff, determined to get to the bottom of things, asks Pierce’s betrothed to the study lounge and is surprised to find out that not only doesn’t she need a green card, her family is loaded, and she and Pierce have a prenup. Next.

    Abed decides to go to his professor’s office hours, and things don’t go well. Fed up with the rebellious student’s refusal to sway on his “Angela is the boss” stance, Sheffield invites him to teach the class, the way your mom used invite you to make dinner if you didn’t like the way she made her chicken. Or something like that. I don’t know, my mom didn’t really cook. Whatever. You get what I mean. HE DOESN’T REALLY WANT HIM TO TEACH THE CLASS, HE’S JUST TRYING TO MAKE A POINT. Geez, you’ve got a better analogy, use it. (See? Like that.)

    Abed’s presentation is clearly going to be a smash and the prof’s gonna come around, and it doesn’t really matter that this, too, is predictable, because we’re dying to see it. (I really just want to hear Abed say “Sa-man-TA.”)

    At Pierce’s engagement party (in the same restaurant where Abed and Jeff had their Dinner With Andre night, I think), Troy is forced to confess he wasn’t molested so much as he made it up, and with some help from Chang, Jeff cracks the code of Pierce’s betrothed: See, her name is Woo Mae Hong Long (thank you!), but in America we screw everything up, and her name’s really Mae Long Hong Woo…and…oh, I give up.

    Basically it was all a sham so that her family could try to take over Pierce’s moist-wipes dynasty. (Wah-wah.) I mean, look, Jeff was right to be suspicious: Who could resist him? I certainly couldn’t. And WOULDN’T (hear that, Jeff Winger???).

    Britta’s mad at Troy but also acknowledges (thanks to a revelation from her paint-addicted ex-boyfriend, Pablo) that she’s attracted to a certain kind of guy (i.e. tortured, crazy, unstable). Troy’s hopeful that she can change her type, to start being interested into men who—despite an irrational fear of automatic toilets—are mentally sound. (Oh NO. They’re going to try to make Broy happen? I cannot abide by this.)

    Back in Critical Analysis, things are going exactly as we expected: Abed gets the professor to concede that Angela Bower is indeed the boss. Poor professor is defeated and can’t help but look back on his other masterpiece—What Was Happening?—with a wistful eye. (Nice musical backgrounds, Community music peeps.)

    Finally, Jeff makes things right with Pierce by bringing Mae Long Hong Woo nee Woo Mae Hong Long to see him because, turns out, they’re sort of perfect for each other (i.e. they’re both jerks).

    No Abed-Troy show to end with this week, but we do get a glimpse of the latter—who’s decided to pursue acting after all (having no pain in your past is painful)—in Greendale’s all-black production of Fiddler on the Roof: Fiddler, Please.) Oy. (But also funny.)

    So, guys, did you like this episode? Personally, my face remained unrocked. For one thing, I missed Shirley and Annie. (Do we even know what electives they took?) Mostly, though, it felt piecey and sort of…basic, like remedial Community. That’s the problem this show will always have: When you can be as good as it can, any episode that’s less than stellar is going to stand out.

    But you know what they say about Community, right? It’s like your mother’s chicken: Even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good. (No?)

    Check out the full episode below:

    Carla Sosenko

    Carla Sosenko is a writer and editor from Brooklyn, N.Y. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire, Self, Jezebel, The Hairpin, The NY International Fringe Festival and some other places. She received her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, where she majored in choppy sentences. Carla thanks you for reading her words and kindly asks you to read more of them at carlasosenko.com. Follow her @carlasosenko. She thinks you rule.

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