Another campus-wide contest that out the worst in everyone. In the last episode,
inheritance on the condition that he sail his yacht around the world. As a send-off, Abed organizes a campus-wide
game of “Hot Lava” to send him off. He
puts up a valuable comic to the last person standing. Chaos ensues.
Umm. Yeah. You’re thinking what I’m thinking. They went to the well once too often. The Waterworld-ish homage was kinda amusing though. What did work here was the ending where
says goodbye to
everyone. There was some genuine sadness
there. The sadness would continue for
the rest of the season. Troy
"Analysis of Cork-Based Networking"
Annie’s effort to put up a new bulletin board in the cafeteria runs smack into
maintenance bureaucracy. There was a
radio show in the 80’s called Visit New
Grimston Anyway. It might be thought
of an Ur-Community prototype: eccentric cast, wacky situations, a few
emotional, dramatic moments. This episode somewhat reminds me of the first
episode of New Grimston, where the new employee, Neil, joins the city
government. He spends the entire first
episode trying to get the window in his office open and running smack into the
maintenance bureaucracy. I wish I could
link to something here, but the show may be gone forever and unremembered.
Briefly, it seemed like the show could still work without Pierce and
. Hickey could work as the cranky old man. Rachel, as Abed’s girlfriend, could fill in
for Troy . They weren’t bad characters or
performances. They just don’t fit on the
show. Hickey is too damn depressing to
be funny. Rachel is adorable, but Abed
having a normal girlfriend, defeats his character’s zeitgeist. Having Abed sort of “grow up” (for whatever
that’s worth), I get, from a narrative standpoint. From a sitcom standpoint, it’s poison. Save the well-adjusted Abed for the last
episode of the series to put a bow on it.
In the meantime, keep going with the wacky. This show has its dramatic and poignant moments,
but they only work because of comedy.
The characters won’t work in a quasi-drama. Troy
I totally missed the news ticker message upon my original viewing.
has apparently been captured by
pirates. Cool. Unfortunately, that’s all we hear about it. Troy
"Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality"
It seems like this episode and the next should have come after
departure, with the Bulletin Board one coming after them. I can guess why they were shown out-of-order,
if that’s the case. In spite of the
provocative title, this episode was just terribly depressing. Given that the show would be off for a couple
of weeks for the Olympics, if they’d left off with this unhappy episode, no
casual viewer would have returned. This
one shouldn’t have been made, but I get the impression there was a personal
message here, but who cares? Troy
I’m not even going to bother with even a two-sentence plot summary, because there wasn’t one. If you wanted to miss Troy, this was the episode to wallow in it. Possibly the most heartbreaking moment of the series: Abed, alone in the study room, glancing over at
empty chair. Troy
"App Development and Condiments"
Another campus-wide contest brings out the worst in everyone.
Stop me if you’ve heard that recently. At least it’s a different premise in that it’s essentially a popularity contest.
"VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing"
Another episode where we’re missing
. Annie and Abed are having a contest to see
whether her brother or his girlfriend moves in with them. It just didn’t work at all, especially in
that depressing little apartment (which is used again as the main set in the
next episode). Worse, the subplot could
have made for a great episode by itself.
The rest of the group comes across something valuable and tries to fence
it and end up turning on each other. Unfortunately,
this really would have required Pierce to do properly. Now that this homage has been used, it can
only be used again as an obvious retread.
Speaking of which… Troy
"Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons"
Jeff: “Abed, you’re not helping.”
Abed: “I’d be a pretty bad Dungeon Master if I was.”
What game of D&D has there ever been where the DM made all of the die rolls? Hell, I wouldn’t trust myself in that situation, much less any group of players. Well, just to be fair, I do sort of get why Abed is doing all of the die rolling. It’s to move the plot along a bit quicker, rather than having everyone roll and then respond. Their D&D is a bit like Inspector Spacetime. It’s not really much of a Doctor Who parody, but that’s not really the point of it. Unlike that last time, at least they made the game look fun.
Hickey and the group are playing the game so that he can bond with his d*ckish son. That’s an unpromising premise. Maybe I’m too hard on this episode because I’m a player. I didn’t like the first one either (except for the part where Annie describes seducing the elf maid). This wasn’t a bad episode, just disappointing.
It’s a pity this episode wasn’t coordinated more with the release of 5th edition. (Abed is holding the playtest book at the end.) Let’s say someone, who knew nothing about the game, was inspired to give it a try because of this episode. What would they get? 4th edition is the only thing available in the stores and the newest version online. If you wanted the rulebooks that were used in the two D&D episodes, you’d have to find out that they were older editions and could only get them off of a website. Would you want an older edition? “What’s the difference between editions?” a noob might ask. “Do I really need miniatures? They didn’t use them on the show.” And so on.
This is turning into an RPG post, but screw it. Dungeons & Dragons as a pencil and paper RPG has really got an uphill climb at this point. It has a bad reputation in the media. Not demonic influence mind you, there’s a dozen popular, critically acclaimed cable shows that have that. What I mean is that only socially-maladjusted weirdoes play this game. Moreover, for the price of one of the new books, you could get a computer game that simulates the experience. For that matter, you’ll need several books, and you’ll have to do all of the work yourself in order to enjoy the game.