Community, Season 4, Episode 7: “Economics of Marine Biology”
Written by Tim Saccardo
Directed by Tricia Brock
Airs Thursdays at 8pm ET on NBC
The last three or four episodes of Community have settled into a pattern that we have to assume is the new normal for the show. They are primarily emotionally, rather than comedically, driven, and a primary focus seems to be Jeff’s relationship with his father. This is particularly true of tonight’s episode and the Thanksgiving episode, but it also factored heavily into the Halloween episode. This works, to the extent that it does, because the show seems to be developing a feel for the characters. The other aspect to these episodes, that is far less effective (and were it effective it might help to offset the show’s general humor deficit this season), is Abed’s attempt to mold the narrative via pop culture references.
This week, he attempts to create a fraternity in defiance of the Dean’s desire to keep them off campus launching a B-plot analogous to Animal House and several other films in that vein. Unfortunately, it never really goes anywhere. As the new creative team continues to iron out most of the serious issues that existed, the one that remains is the inability to organically explore the ways in which we use pop culture to relate to the world. Instead, the result often feels forced. While Abed has always bordered on autistic, there was always an aspect of his character that was very easy to relate to. That doesn’t seem to be as apparent this season.
The A-plot is reasonably strong despite not being terribly funny. The scenes between Jeff and Pierce in particular pack an emotional punch, and it’s nice to see Pierce behaving humanely. Too often he has been the butt of everyone’s jokes, and while that may make sense given behind-the-scenes happenings, it greatly weakens his character.
Archer, Season 4, Episode 10: “Un Chien Tangerine”
Written by Adam Reed & Mike Arnold
Airs Thursdays at 10pm ET on FX
This episode of Archer possesses more than the usual amount of dog vomit. Flatulence, too. While Archer’s excited squeals of “he thinks he’s people!” are priceless, there were times when Kazak’s presence seemed to be as much of a drag on the episode as it was to Archer and Lana. The latter was a good thing. It even led to a moment when it looked like Lana had finally given up on ISIS, but that’s seeming less and less likely to factor into the rest of Season 4. However, the rest of the A-plot is relatively flat, relying on its overabundance of kufta-fueled canine regurgitation.
Where this episode really sings is at ISIS. Pam is assessed as a field agent and proves to be something of a prodigy. Really, given her past as a bare-knuckle boxer, drag racer, and inhabitant of the world’s most disturbing farm, it makes a lot of sense, but seeing it play out is pretty hysterical. Is there a possible future episode with Archer and Pam in the field together? It doesn’t seem like things are headed that way, but who wouldn’t love to see that?