By Justin Rawana
Control. We want it. We all strive to be masters of our own destiny, answerable to no one but ourselves. The only problem is that most of us live in SOCIETY and there are plenty of people we’re answerable to – parents, friends, bosses, partners, the dang ol’ gov’ment, and the list goes on.
So how much control do we really have?
Dean Pelton has none. Time and time again the school he’s charged with “deaning” strings him up by his own oversized necktie and all he can do is kick and shriek at Jeff Winger and the gang to save him. So it stands to reason that if plugged into a world that grants him TOTAL control over everything, the Dean might have issues with giving it up…
“Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care” is Community’s foray in virtual-reality – make-believe worlds literally pulled over your eyes that grant you dominion over what you see. It’s an illusion, yes, but to the Dean, and to a lesser extent, Britta, a world of lies is sometimes preferable to the real one.
Britta has always lived under the assumption that she’s her own independent woman making her way in the world. It’s a point of pride (which are few in her life) she’s always cherished which makes the truth all the more devastating:
It, too, is an illusion.
Turns out, the parents Britta thought she’d left behind have been sneaking around in her peripheries padding her rent, buying her couches, and doing all they can to secretly funnel money to the daughter who long ago rejected them. To Britta, it’s an injustice of the highest order that only grows in severity after she learns her friends are in on the charade.
First off, this episode excels because Britta and Dean Pelton’s storylines allow for two of the cast’s most underutilized physical actors to show their comedy chops. Whether it’s Gillian Jacobs stealing a kid’s Big Wheel or Jim Rash climbing a mountain-high filing cabinet only he can see, this episode is packed with Community moments sure to make even the most die hard fan’s highlight reel.
But even more impressive is how the episode circles back, as they always do, to one very simple idea: friends matter. Both stories feature a character unable to recognize they’re in trouble, and anyone who has had a friend in need knows it’s extra difficult to help if that friend doesn’t even think there’s a problem. But that’s exactly why friends matter – having that person on the outside looking in at you grants a perspective we otherwise wouldn’t utilize. In other words, being answerable to someone is a GOOD thing because it helps keep our own natural craziness in check.
Getting caught up in our own worlds carries the threat of losing touch, and when that happens, it helps to have friends and family around to yank us out.