Picspam: Community 5.07 “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality”

Did you know that Jeff and Duncan have known each other a long time? You probably forgot, because as it turns out, even Britta forgot that Jeff and Duncan have a long and sordid history that predates these hallowed halls of Greendale Community College. But never fear! Often times, Community is a case study in subtlety, but there is a time for that, and that time was before Scary Movie.

But wait! Did you also know that Jeff and Britta used to be lovers in the night time? (And in the middle of the daytime, or in the middle of paintball, they weren’t very discerning about locations.) You probably forgot that, too, because even though this whole study group started with Jeff trying to lie his way into Britta’s good graces, their last rendezvous was, good grief, three years ago. The way Duncan and Jeff talk about it, you’d think it was Britta and Jeff who tried and failed to have a relationship during the gas leak year, instead of Britta and… oh man… what was that kid’s name again? Roy? Man, I always forget these huge plot points and character names, good thing this opening scene is here to set me straight.

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Lest ye forget, booze flows freely in the teacher’s lounge. Good luck, recovering alcoholics who teach at Greendale! Every day is an uphill battle for you: Even the Dean serves liquor in his office.

We’re walloped with four seasons of backstory in fifteen seconds flat. Brace yourselves.

Duncan: “Jeff, we’ve known each other a long time, right? You’ve come to respect me.”
Jeff: “Sure.”
Duncan: “Get ready to stop. Please help me seduce Britta now that you’ve finished doing it with her. Please please please!”

Jeff wonders aloud if Duncan really likes Britta, or if he just likes the idea of Britta because Britta doesn’t like him. That sounds familiar…

Duncan: “Have you met the women that do like me, Jeff? Neither have I, but trust me, they’re bad people.”

John Oliver has exactly a million awesome lines like that in this episode, and they will all be directly quoted here. Jeff knows exactly how to seduce Britta, and it’s just as gross as it was in 1.02 when he pretended to care about Guatemala (and it didn’t even work so he must want Duncan to fail) but he cuts himself off halfway through as he frustratedly asks, “Are you writing this down?” Jarring cut to the study room, yep, that was precisely 31 seconds of Jeff and Duncan in the teacher’s booze lounge.

The thing is, on any other show, this scene is inoffensive. It lays the groundwork for what happens in the episode, and it informs any new viewers of the intricate histories between these three characters. The offensive part is that this is Community, and I’m racking my brain here as I try to remember the last time this show was so anvil-like with its scene-setting. Chances are, new viewers aren’t tuning in to the seventh episode of the fifth season of your show, so why are you trying to cater to them? On the off chance that there was a handful of brand-new viewers that night, couldn’t they have relied on context clues in the rest of the episode to set the stage?

[Spoiler alert: That’s the gist of my complaining about this episode. I pretty much loved everything apart from that odd opening scene.]

I still can’t get over that gorgeous study table. Annie recaps their meeting notes (?) saying that all the bones have been removed from the football field (so many questions that I don’t want the answers to) and that the teachers should get a ten minute head start at the job fair (so many answers I don’t want the questions to) before asking if anyone has anything else to add. Duncan points at Jeff, and Jeff uses his best monotone to ask what everyone’s plans are for this evening.

Duncan’s pretty great as he talks about going to a benefit for starving children with cleft palates. He even traces the table with his fingers in a would-be innocent way, it’s just a really nice touch. Part of me wanted Britta to call him on his blatant BS, as if Jeff’s weird setup wasn’t enough of a red flag, but I also really like to see Humanitarian Britta, so I didn’t mind this.

Abed stands up and says that his plans for tonight are to dress up like classic Kickpuncher and crash the premiere of the Kickpuncher Reboot. Everyone’s pretty much like “Okay Abed” and I was too, even though the trending hashtag was #AbedsLesson and I should’ve suspected that he’d have a big storyline. That’s on me, that’s my bad. He takes off to get costume supplies as Britta asks Duncan what time to be at the theater, because she wants to go, too.

Jeff gives Duncan a smug/triumphant smile that is short-lived.

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They underestimated the humanitarian sides to Annie and Shirley, and I swear, this has all happened before. Let me take you back to Spanish 101, when Britta made everyone feel guilty about Guatemala, and it was so effective that Annie and Shirley ended up mobilizing the student body more than Britta could’ve imagined. Sure, Jeff wasn’t really in that storyline, but he definitely noticed that Shirley and Annie were integral to the silent protest in the courtyard. I would believe that Jeff did this on purpose just to sabotage Duncan, but he looks genuinely surprised when the girls join in and he’s downright flummoxed when Chang joins, too.

Jeff: “I… have… dinner plans.”

It could be legit! What if he had dinner plans with a bureaucrat for the sake of Saving Greendale? Don’t crap on Jeff Winger’s dinner plans! Jeff beseeches Duncan to help him out, but Duncan’s not really into that racket. Annie sarcastically asks, “Should we write a check to the Jeff Foundation?” The Jeff Foundation IS accepting donations.

Jeff decides to join the group, grinding out backhanded insults to Duncan who volleys them back. Alison Brie is fantastic at the end of the scene when she asks, “Cool, so… seven-thirty?”

Later, after the benefit show, Annie and Shirley discuss what they just saw. Neither of them understood it, but it makes both of them crave McDonalds. Bye, ladies! See you at the end of the episode.

Chang, meanwhile, takes a phone call from Sandra, his ex-wife, I think? He ducks into a room for some privacy, but…

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It turns out he walked right onto a stage in a small theater. He screams at Sandra about their problems and then hangs up on her, and that’s when he hears the applause. Thanks to his innate Chang-ness, he decides to just go with it. “My mother used to tell a story about how she killed a chicken. Hong Kong, 1964.” The audience, who are probably not ghosts, are enraptured.

Jeff looks so bored and I think that’s hilarious. Britta and Duncan chat about being theater fans (Duncan: “I spent half my days at university in wigs and tights, you don’t do that without befriending a few actors.”) and then Britta spots a friend from her anarchist days. His name is Michael, but in your head, make sure you pronounce it as pretentiously as possible: Mike-hale. The joke might’ve landed better if it didn’t sound like his name was Mike Hale, or an odd take on McHale. It was actually odd to me that Jeff instinctively knew his name was just Michael.

Britta’s kind of great in this bit, because she’s not thrilled to see Mike Hale, “He’s going to smell the sellout on me,” but it doesn’t even occur to her to run and hide. She walks right over and greets him. That’s so Britta.

Duncan, predictably, doesn’t like this Mike Hale fellow, but he’s really digging Britta right now. “She’s everything I love about America: bold, opinionated, just past her peak, and starting to realize she has to settle for less.” Not thrilled about Duncan’s perception of America or Britta, but he gets better, I promise. He whips out a handkerchief in preparation for the moment Britta is crushed and needs a shoulder to cry on. If that sounds gross and predatory, it’s because it is gross and predatory, but we’ve never pretended Duncan was a nice guy or even a Nice Guy.

Jeff grins at Duncan’s foolproof plan (he looks dazzling) and prepares to gracefully bow out. “Have fun circling my former lover, waiting for her to… cry.” Jeff admits that he tried to make that sound better, but it’s exactly what Duncan’s doing, so he pretty much just gave up halfway through.

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Things get downright magical: Mike Hale toasts to everyone supporting the starving kids with cleft palates, then says they’re all basically garbage people compared to Britta Perry, Anarchist Cat Owner.

“I’m not a hero, I’m a high school dropout and a bartender, so don’t listen to me. Or anyone. Just listen to yourself. And make sure you tell yourself the truth.”

And really, in that moment, didn’t you fall in love with Britta all over again too? Jeff certainly did.

Duncan: “Well, it was great seeing you, so…”
Jeff: “I might stay for one drink.”
Duncan: “Why?”
Jeff: “I like to drink.”
Duncan: “Oh really?”
Jeff: “Yeah, I have a serious problem.”
Duncan: “That had better be true!”

How did we survive so long without him?

Abed has brought all of his costume-making supplies all the way back to campus, where he works alone in the study room before casting a tragic and longing look at Troy’s empty chair. He walks the halls of Greendale doing robot noises and quoting classic Kickpuncher, but it’s without his usual zest. His face falls and I swear, I really hate when people arbitrarily claim “This man deserves an Emmy!” of anyone just because of one or two emotional scenes, but the more Danny Pudi leans into this post-Troy world, the more I feel that he’s been dealt a grave injustice. I think it has to do with the way Community used to be up its own ass before Dan got fired, and then it was just a hollow shell of vague Harmon-like gestures and one-liners for a season, and now, finally, its found its footing in the balance between the characters and the storytelling, but it’s short a few cast members and no one wants to give it a second shot… and even some of the fans are waiting for the other shoe to drop. In the end, it’s a shame that he (and the rest of them) don’t get the recognition they deserve, but it’s not altogether surprising, either.

He hears Hickey voicing some frustration from his shared office with Jeff, and he goes to investigate without even knocking.

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“Annie banned glue guns from the apartment after an incident so hilarious that even describing it would narratively eclipse what’s happening here.”

I’d love to know what caused Annie to ban glue guns. Hickey asks what exactly is happening here and Abed says they’re bonding, duh, and then he makes some robot noises.

Abed: “Tell me the truth, if you were a post-apocalyptic survivor –”
Hickey: “I would raise goats, hoard cinnamon, and travel only at night.”

Do all men have post-apocalyptic scenarios planned out, or is it just since The Walking Dead came on the air? Hickey tells Abed to scram, but Abed is possessed by… loneliness? I don’t know, but something possesses him to show Hickey the super cool ballistic foam feature on his costume, and it goes… poorly.

Then Abed says, “Oops” the way my little brother always did whenever he did something completely on purpose and wasn’t sorry at all for what he’d just done. Abed watches as Hickey agonizes over the five hours of work Abed has just destroyed, then says, “I know this is bad timing, but I should go if I’m going to make the movie, so.”

Hickey keeps handcuffs in his desk drawer, because that’s totally normal. He grabs Abed, drags him over to the filing cabinets, and handcuffs him Chandler Bing-style to one of the handles.

Abed: “What are you doing?”
Hickey: “Something nobody ever does: Teaching you consequences.”
Abed: “But I have to go!”
Hickey: “But you can’t! Huh, isn’t that crazy? You haven’t been grounded, you haven’t been punished, do you have any idea what it feels like to be refused something?”

Abed’s voice gets dangerous here, the way it usually does when things don’t go his way.

Abed: “I know what it feels like when people try to control me. You should know, it never goes their way.”

He’s attempting to upend Hickey’s intentions by making this about control and free will, but that’s not what it is. This isn’t the same as the time Troy wanted Abed to stop doing character impersonations, or the time Annie messed with the inner workings of the Dreamatorium. Those things were about them trying to make Abed alter his lifestyle, for the group, for a perfect Dreamatorium, but that’s not what Hickey is doing here. Abed might be different, but that doesn’t exempt him from real world consequences. He had no remorse, not even a spare thought, for the work he just ruined. His actions affect other lives, but he only ever seems to think of himself. With Troy gone, he’s lost his direct connection to real world consequences — and it’s not like he’s ever really learned that lesson, anyway.

Hickey: “Ooooh. And what kicky-punch movie is that from? The ones you’ve seen, or the one I’m gonna watch you miss?”

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After the break, Hickey’s mopping up the mess of his desk as Abed reiterates that he said he was sorry. Not that he was actually sorry. He said it. So it counts.

Hickey: “I’m sorry I punched my landlord, but I’m not getting my deposit back.”
Abed: “That’s an example of you being punished for choosing to hurt someone. I wrecked your papers by accident.”
Hickey: “You chose to spray this crap on purpose, because you didn’t care what happened.”

And the look on Abed’s face (first screencap above) says it all.

Hickey: “Let me tell you something, for five years, I have watched people walk around on your eggshells, ‘Oh, Abed, he’s so imaginative, so magical, everybody hide their hamburgers, if Abed sees a hamburger, we’ll all travel in time! Let’s eat cookies and ice cream and dress in pajamas in the middle of the day!’ I watched my third wife die!”

Okay. That’s a lot to dissect for one monologue, but let’s dive in (and ignore the part about his wife dying, because it’s sad and I’m still raw from HIMYM) starting with five years. It’s nice for continuity and world-building sake that Hickey has been affected by the study group’s antics, and has noticed Abed in particular. We got the inkling in Lava World but this confirmation is reassuring, as a viewer. It’s also interesting that Hickey’s paid close enough attention to deduce that Abed is kind of spoiled. Opinion was split as the episode aired; some people thought Hickey was unfair to Abed (“Troy JUST left!”) and others said Abed was being a real jerk. I think it’s actually a combination of the two: Hickey is a teacher at his core, his instinct is to teach lessons, and post-Troy Abed is pretty much defaulting back to Pilot-Abed.

Except post-Troy Abed has still grown and changed in his subtle way, so he looks properly ashamed when Hickey mentions all the ways people have oriented their lives around Abed’s demands.

Abed: “You think I’m spoiled. And you think I’m spoiled because it’s never occurred to anyone to do this? You’re not the Marco Polo of bullying me, you’re just another tourist, taking pictures of a great big wall.”

He’s doing it again, making this about bullying instead of consequences. Sure, Hickey’s methods are rather blunt and artless, but so is Hickey. This isn’t bullying any more than Annie or Troy’s situations were bullying — these are just disagreements, and Hickey was forced to meet Abed’s strong willpower (leaving for the movie) with actual strength (handcuffing him to office furniture in order to make him stay).

Hickey: “Oh, you’re gonna make me cry.”

Abed asks when someone last “physically limited” Hickey, and Hickey says, you know… just now, when Abed physically limited his drawings. It’s not the same thing, but it works for Abed, who suddenly realizes that these really were important to Hickey.

Abed: “Drawings of what? You’re an artist? I destroyed something valuable? It looked like you were doodling chickens.”
Hickey: “He is a duck!”
Abed: “Uh ooooh.”

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A wizened janitor tells Chang that no one’s been allowed in that theater since the fire of 1997, where 24 people died. Chang, who believes he just finished a successful one-man show, looks freaked out.

Meanwhile, Britta and her friends are comparing notes on how badly they’ve sold out (for what it’s worth, Britta’s sold out the least) as Jeff and Duncan watch her from the end of the bar. Jeff looks like he’s ready to claw his skin off before he finally pops up and announces that he should introduce himself to Britta’s friends. Duncan is not amused.

Duncan: “I knew it! You don’t have a drinking problem! You have feelings for Britta, you disgusting monster!”

I know Jeff, how dare you not have a drinking problem?! And to top that off, you have feelings for someone who is not yourself?! You pig!

Jeff: “Fine! Yes! Something about everyone liking her turns me on, it’s a problem I have, I hated Reeses Pieces before E.T. ate them, sorry!”

… Okay Jeff, that was kind of disgusting, actually.

Duncan: “You’re a bad friend!”
Jeff: “That’s not fair! … Wait, that’s really not fair! You’re a terrible friend! She was mine first, and it’s not like she belongs to anybody –”

Gross, Jeff, c’mon son.

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Duncan: “Oh, here we go, ‘Love isn’t a game!’ say the guys who always win, and now you’re gonna go pull a Dane Cook in one of those three movies he was in about Dane Cook getting laid by accident, only it’s not a Dane Cook movie, Jeff, because this time, someone’s watching. Me. Your friend. British Jason Biggs.”

There’s nothing I don’t love about that monologue.

Jeff: “If you never call me Dane Cook again, I’ll stand down — for an hour.”

That’s Jeff giving Duncan only an hour to make his move. Theories abound about Jeff sabotaging or expecting Britta to fail, but honestly… I think he was simply trying to make the point to Duncan (and to himself) that his life is not a Dane Cook movie. I don’t even think it really had a lot to do with Britta.

Objectively, I hate this kind of reflexive characterization, especially in men. “I don’t want that toy, oh no you picked up my toy, I want that toy!” But if you think about the way Annie’s been characterized to be automatically attracted to any alpha males (even Abed as Han Solo, or the Dean body-switching with Jeff during the Gas Leak Year) or Britta’s been characterized to gravitate toward damaged men (when she thought Troy was molested as a child, Blade) it’s actually good that the characterizations are this consistent across the study group. If this is going to be Jeff’s thing, then fine, just so long as we don’t dress it up and pretend it’s fancy.

Abed’s still stuck on the drawings, asking if they’re a secret since Hickey only works on them when no one’s around. Hickey explains that he’s a cartoonist and that the duck is the subject of his comic strip, but he refuses to pitch it to Abed.

Abed: “You’re afraid I won’t like it.”
Hickey: “Sure. I’ve been a cab driver, a soldier, a cop, but what terrifies me the most is the opinion of a man-child in cardboard pants.”
Abed: “Kickpuncher was a cop before he was a cyborg. So you were a cop before you became… this.”
Hickey: “And what were you before ‘this’? Were you normal? Or do you act like this because someone stuffed you in a locker, is that the idea?”
Abed: “Other way around. What else do you want to know about me?”
Hickey: “What makes you stop talking?”
Abed: “Letting me go.”

All of this is pretty rapid-fire in a way that doesn’t really compare to anyone else Abed talks to. I keep going back to Pierce because he was the resident Old Man for four seasons, but he was only ever confused by Abed. As much as it might feel over the top and boorish for Hickey to attempt to teach Abed this lesson, I think it’s funny that it’s taken us five seasons to finally land on a character that is willing to hold Abed accountable as an adult.

Hickey says Abed can’t go until after he’s missed his movie, and Abed says it’s because Hickey wants him to suffer. “For destroying your duck cartoons? The ones you’re ashamed of?”

Hickey angrily grabs his keys, unlocks his filing cabinet, and shoves a notebook of his comics into Abed’s chest. Abed opens and reads the first (super lame) comic and chuckles. Hickey grudgingly asks, “Which one were you laughing at?”

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Chang confronts his spooooooky audience, who deny being spectres, and then Chang confronts the janitor, who can’t believe Chang bought the story a bunch of ghosts tried to tell him. He runs screaming through a crowd that doesn’t notice him. I don’t get this storyline as part of the episode, but that happens a lot with Chang, and at least Jeong never phones it in.

After talking about a billboard for a perfume that does animal testing, Britta is trying to convince her friends to “Banksy that motha” with her, and Mike Hale makes a real Mikehole of himself by saying, “That’s convenient for the one with nothing to lose.”

Britta: “Oh, so the person with the least wealth has the least valid argument? That’s convenient.”

But it’s not about wealth, it’s about responsibilities, as Janet points out: “How many people have you fed this year besides yourself?”

And how many people was she supposed to have fed, JANET? Just because Britta hasn’t chosen to marry or purchase real estate or have a baby doesn’t make her any less of a person, and having chosen that path, JANET, doesn’t actually make your argument more valid than hers. Britta might still live her life like that kid that dropped out of high school to follow Radiohead, but that doesn’t mean she has less to lose by Banksying the whole town.

But Janet gives it away when she snaps to Unnamed Former Anarchist Guy, “I’ve spent enough time feeling bad!” THAT is selling out. Not the real estate or the family planning or the car payments — the conscious decision to put down someone who still wants to fight the good fight just because you feel guilty that you’re not still out there. Shame on you, Janet, and shame on you, Mike Hale, and shame on you, Britta, for letting these jerks get to you. (I’m just kidding, Britta, don’t be ashamed! Don’t make that face!)

Enter Duncan, without context, offering her a handkerchief. Smooth move, Metamucil, but having witnessed what Britta just went through, it feels more predatory than it should.

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She hugs Duncan, who looks thrilled. He asks if she wants to get out of there, and she agrees just as Jeff’s hour runs out. Like a good guy, he turns around to the bar and orders another drink, left alone with his thoughts.

Jim the Duck is really boring, you guys.

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Abed lies right to Hickey’s face, saying the comics are good wondering if he ruined anything as good as what he’s just read. Hickey admits that Abed only ruined practice drawings. “I have to practice drawing the duck from different angles, it’s hard when his back’s turned three-quarters because of the beak.” Maybe it’s because you keep calling it a beak. Ducks have bills, dude.

Abed: “I’m a real jerk for wrecking it.”
Hickey: “You didn’t do it on purpose.”
Abed: “That doesn’t excuse my behavior.”
Hickey: “I appreciate that. It’s a good apology. You’re a good kid.”

Abed’s smile at that will melt your heart… but Hickey’s still not gonna let him go. It’ll undermine the lesson, you see. Hickey has follow-through.

Abed gives this sudden jerk on the handcuffs that makes Hickey jump, and then Abed fixes him with a furious glare.

Hickey: “You need this!”
Abed: “Let me go.”
Hickey: “This is you learning!”

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Abed gives another frightening tug on the handcuffs.

Abed: “You’re a bad person, and a bad cartoonist!”
Hickey: “You go ahead, hurt my feelings.”
Abed: “Oh, you have feelings, huh? Have you considered putting them into your work? Your cartoons are monuments to joylessness, nervously-assembled jokes based on nothing from your life, or anyone’s life! You’re furious at me for being creative, and you want to be able to create. You have all this rage and shame and loneliness, which I don’t even know how to feel, much less understand, and you decide to put what on paper? A duck. Jim the Duck! You think I’m crazy? You think there’s something wrong with me? Jim the Duck!”
Hickey: “Publishers are interested!”
Abed: “Yeah, well publishers are stupid! Either that or you’re probably misinterpreting what was probably a form letter!”

I can’t decide whether Abed’s rant was from Dan Harmon or to Dan Harmon. You know what I mean? Is this Dan standing at the head of the writers table at the start of season 5, ranting against the machine that fired him and the “monument to joylessness” that was the fourth season? Or is this any number of unknown people who have encountered Dan in their lives, who feel all of this self-righteous anger because he’s so hard to work with, and it’s so unfair that he’s so creative and capable of great things if he would just get out of his own way. I don’t know, I keep hopping back and forth, but it’s definitely clear that at some point, Abed stopped and Harmon began.

But Abed definitely knows loneliness. That defined his life before he met Troy. And now what?

Hickey unlocks him silently. Abed, still reeling in pain from the past month, from this disruption, from missing an important movie in his life (you know, somewhere, on some calendar, he and Troy had inked out this premiere with plans to work on this costume together) and suffering the indignity of being taught a lesson, pauses at the door. “In the words of your hackey duck: What the hell?”

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Duncan’s trying to fill the silence with small talk (“Do you like music? Everyone likes music, what are you, a fish?”) and some fictitious British comedy duo before Britta interrupts him.

Britta: “Do you have any friends?”
Duncan: “Sorry?”
Britta: “I’ve been defining myself with reactions to and from other people my whole life. Now I feel worthless, just because I’m worthless in relation to my friends, which means they’re not my friends — who are your friends?”

It’s weird that she’s asking, it’s not like she and Duncan are super close and that she should’ve met more of his friends by now, but the commentary about her self-worth hits pretty close to home, personally. I wanted to hug her through my TV screen and say “At least you have the study group!” but they don’t treat her much better, do they? Her closest ally, Troy, is gone, Shirley constantly judges her lifestyle, Jeff doesn’t need much persuading to try to get in her pants again, she and Annie are constantly at odds, and then there’s Abed. The only person who ever believed in her never actually told her that while he was alive. And none of them treat her like she’s special, not like they treat Abed or Annie or Jeff. I want Britta to be alone now more than ever because she deserves so much better — she deserves better than Duncan preying on her vulnerability or Jeff randomly deciding she’s worth paying attention to again.

Duncan: “Well, there’s my neighbor, Pat. I try to stay on his good side, I owe him money. There’s Jeff. I call you a friend. Matter of fact, I call you –”
Britta: “Oh, that’s right, you and Jeff have actually known each other longer than anybody, huh? I always forget that, I guess because you guys don’t really act like friends.”

And… who are Jeff’s friends? Everyone at his former law firm proved themselves to be uninterested in staying his friend. He has the study group, who treat him better than they treat Britta, but besides that, there’s just Duncan. Same goes for Duncan! Pat? Britta? That’s it?

Britta asks where they’re going, and Duncan has his big character-defining moment.

Duncan: “Well, I think you should go home, because you’re having an existential crisis. And the best lesson that you can take away from it is that you are someone, even when you’re by yourself.”

Britta’s crying (“Britta Bot, programmed badly”) and thanks Duncan for not hitting on her, “I was just vulnerable enough to do something stupid.” Duncan slams the steering wheel, and when Britta asks what’s wrong, he cries, “Nothing, it’s nothing, the stupid steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car!” That’s so cute, awww. For what it’s worth, I was not on the Duncan/Britta train until the moment he decided to take her home. And I love that he didn’t just do it for her.

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Abed shows up at Hickey’s office some time later, cop script in hand. “Troy thought it was hilarious. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t a comedy.” He explains that he knows all the tropes and archetypes, but he lacks substance, which he thinks Hickey can provide. Hickey bemusedly asks, “You want to be film partners?” He cracks open the script.

Hickey: “‘It’s time for Justice. Police Justice.’ Wait. The character’s name is Police Justice?”
Abed: “Mmhmm.”
Hickey: “Yeah, I think I may be able to help.”

Abed then apologizes, sincerely, for what he said to Hickey, and Hickey apologizes back. He instructs Abed to sit down and asks if he drinks scotch, which Abed does not. “You will.”

I, for one, can’t wait to see where this storyline goes.

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He looks so lonely in that first shot, and then he looks so happy in that second shot after Duncan says, “Hey, handsome.” Jeff assumes he struck out, but Duncan (truthfully) says that he simply realized he was “getting to third base with the wrong person.” Jeff looks a little dubious, probably because he doesn’t believe Duncan would willingly turn down Britta, but it doesn’t matter because this is a new side of Duncan for all of us. Even Duncan. And both of these guys need friendship more than romance at this point in their lives.

Duncan: “You’re a good friend. And I don’t say that often enough.”
Jeff: “That’s really nice. But you can’t have sex with me.”
Duncan: “How about we have these drinks, and then we not have sex with anyone together?”
Jeff: “Sounds good.”

They clink glasses, and I’m so happy with this development. If this really was an episode about this show finally finding its emotional substance (death of a major character, departure of another major character, growth and maturity after failing in the real world) instead of relying on trick and tropes (Jeff running through the rain only to end up at Rich’s door, all of the high-concept homage episodes) then the decision to subvert all of the romances in order to focus on the friendships is the best thing this show could’ve done.

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The next day, Abed and Hickey stroll in discussing bullet calibers. “Millimeter don’t make no difference, bullets just kinda kill ya.” Jeff and Duncan stroll in next, Jeff returning Duncan’s handkerchief he’d left at his place, and they explain that they shared a bottle of booze, argued about stuff, and failed at whittling.

Britta had a “monumental night… by myself!” and Shirley says she almost feels left out. They should’ve left it at that.

Annie: “Well, we’ve had our share of focus lately.”
Shirley: “Speak for yourself.”

Note to the writers: If it’s not Abed being meta, it’s not cute. First of all, Annie’s line doesn’t totally make sense as a response to what Shirley said. Secondly, Shirley has had a severe lack of storylines this season, and I was content, as a Shirley fan, to wait my turn since this is an ensemble show and I’ve enjoyed the balance so far, but don’t lampshade it. If you know an area on your show is lacking, fix it or don’t point it out.

Chang walks in looking utterly destroyed, and Abed audibly says, “Uh oh.”

017

“Do you guys believe in ghosts? And if you do, do you believe what those ghosts tell you about other ghosts?” God, that’s so funny to me. Annie tells him, “You cannot be on the committee if you’re going to be actively insane.” Passive-aggressive insanity is acceptable, though. He swears he’s not insane, he just had a bad experience, and they all express surprise that he was even at the show last night, because they hadn’t seen him. Chang has a bit of an existential crisis then, but Britta’s there to help: “Go home, light some candles, and take a bath.” Coolzies. Then we pan to a framed photo in Old Timey color with the date of 2014, because this show is weird and toxic.

018

For the first time that I’ve ever noticed, the tag appears to take place on the same day as the end of the episode; Duncan’s wearing the same outfit he wore in the last scene. He pops in to the Dean’s office (I’m glad we got to see him in this episode!) and says he was thinking of going off-campus for lunch and asks which Tex-Mex place it is that Dean likes, but the Dean mistakes it for an invite.

Dean: “Salsa von Tacos? Read my mind!”
Duncan: “Oh.”
Dean: “Oh!”

And it goes from there, with each of them awkwardly trying to rectify this misunderstanding.

Dean: “I just don’t like being left behind!”
Duncan: “My father got drunk in pubs and left me in my room with nothing!”
Dean: “So did mine!”
Duncan: “Why would he do that?!”
Dean: “Why do they do that?!”
Duncan: “I won’t go to that Tex-Mex place.”
Dean: “Oh, that’s all I wanted you to say.”
Duncan: “Hmm?”
Dean: “Hmm?”

Does the Dean know that Duncan went on a date with Jeff Winger last night? Hmm?

Hmm?

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2 thoughts on “Picspam: Community 5.07 “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality”

  1. […] Picspam: Community 5.07 “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality” […]

  2. Thank you for providing that transcript of the last scene. I couldn’t make out what Duncan was saying at all.

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