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Community s02e16: "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking"

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Written by : published Tuesday 22nd February 2011

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Reminder: This is the one where Pierce says he's dying.


Pierce is found unconscious on a bench, and even though everyone rushes to his bedside, he's ticked at them that they never take him seriously, and he takes the opportunity to expose each of them to their own weaknesses. He tells them he's dying from the drug use, and "bequeaths" them each something that will unravel them. He gives Shirley a CD and tells her it's a recording of everyone talking bad about her behind her back. He gives Britta a check for ten thousand dollars for a charity of her choice, and then plants the idea that she could take it herself. He gives Annie a tiara that's been in his family for generations and tells her she's his favorite. He tells Jeff he's found his missing dad, and he'll be here within the hour. He gets LeVar Burton to show up for Troy, despite the fact that he never actually wanted to meet his idol. Only Abed is spared, because he's busy recording it all for a documentary--and making sense of the documentary format to make sense of what he's filming.

And then everything unravels. Eventually, it comes to a head when Jeff says he's ready to meet his dad, but if it turns out to be Pierce messing with him--which it does--he'll get violent. Which he does. In true Community fashion, everyone only sort of learns lessons, but Abed's documentary makes it all seem wrapped up and meaningful.


Community is still dealing with the darkest parts of the human condition, and still not quite taking it seriously, even as it really sort of does. Usually, the meaning of this show is in the friendships and how they all band together, but this ep showed how shallow and broken they all actually are. It was a funny ep, but it was also pretty sad. At the same time, though, it was great to have Britta dealing with her own self-satisfaction, even if just for a moment, and it was really nice to see Jeff not being the willful jerk. Joel McHale showed that he's got acting skillz as well as comedic timing, and it was wonderfully believable that the deliciously sarcastic Jeff we all know and love is also this really conflicted, traumatized and angry man. He makes more sense now. 

Pierce is still horrible, but they needed to all see that he's been feeling left out. His horribleness really seems harsh in the case of Troy, who has been so harmless for so long that it was especially upsetting for him to be undone like that.

There was enough self-awareness that maybe they can all make that step later, more organically, rather than being forced.

Notes: I really hope LeVar Burton really referrs to himself as Kunta. I don't know how a death could be caused years later by the cancellation of Firefly, but it's a perfectly geeky pact to have made. Will Jeff's dad really show up before the end of this season? Will Pierce finally stop being such an a-hole?

Bottom Line: Still dark, and totally unafraid of that fact.

Watch Community, "Intermediate Documentary Fimmaking" right now!

About the author SamanthaHolloway


Samantha Holloway is a writer, editor, book reviewer and TV reviewer. She's especially fond of the weird, wonderful, clever shows that tend to not last on network channels, and so forms a deep loyalty to them the few times they do. Follow her on twitter at twitter.com/pirategirljack.

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