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‘Community’ Recap — Episode 4.05, “Cooperative Escapism In Familial Relations.”

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Happy Thanksgiving! This episode was obviously meant to be aired in November, but it’s Community, so Thanksgiving can be in March, no big deal.

So—of course, this episode focuses on the holiday, splitting it up into only two different storylines, surprisingly; Shirley inviting the study group to have Thanksgiving at her house, and Jeff going to go meet with his father.

Yes, the fabled father episode. As in the Bill-Murray-isn’t-in-this episode, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

Serving their sentence in the garage
Serving their sentence in the garage

Shirley’s family ends up being kind of horrible and Abed, Troy, Pierce, and Annie hide out in her garage the entire time, with Abed narrating the adventure as a prison break, a la Shawshank Redemption. Though at the end of the episode we find out that Shirley purposely invited them over so they could serve as a distraction from her family, who she’s not too fond of either, and they gladly sacrifice themselves for Shirley’s happiness.

On the other side of the storyline, Jeff finally meets with his dad, who turns out to be as emotionally distant as Jeff is. Also, Britta follows along to therapize him, and Jeff has a half-brother who is an emotional ball of goo. Metaphorically. Jeff and his dad have something of a man-off, but it comes around to Jeff spilling his guts to his dad about how starved for attention he always is and how he’s emotionally unhealthy, which is actually a very dramatic scene.

And it's probably not good to have emotional epiphanies while you're driving.
And it’s probably not good to have emotional epiphanies while you’re driving.

Though the dramatic scene was so dramatic it made it seem like the entire episode was leading up to that point specifically, and the jokes were just filling time to drag it out before Jeff had a huge emotional thing. It actually made me a little uncomfortable. Also, again, another big emotional scene! Can we not just have a light-hearted episode for once? Like, I get that the community thing is a big part of Community, but…if you do it every night, it seems a little forced.

Ah, well. What’s done is done, I guess.

Catch the next episode of Community—next Thursday the 14th on NBC at 8/7c.

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