Community season 6 episode 5 “Laws of Robotics and Party Rights”
Sometimes we’re only made aware of our own shitty behavior when we see others behaving in the same, shitty way.
For example, I love ‘Settlers of Catan’. For those of you unfamiliar with the board game there’s a moment about three-quarters of the way in when you know, almost certainly, if you have a chance to win or not. If you don’t, you have a choice: bow out gracefully and assist the remaining players reach endgame, OR be an absolute dick, sabotage everything, and draw the game out until all your friends hate each other. I usually do the latter.
Recently, I was winning one particularly spirited match when, in one fell swoop, my friend who was basically eliminated robbed me of two points (you need ten to win) thereby securing the victory for my adversary across the dinner table. Our confrontation afterwards went thusly:
“Why did you do that?! What a dick move!”
To which he replied:
“Because YOU do that. Doesn’t feel so good, does it?”
It did not.
I recalled this exchange after watching “Laws of Robotics and Party Rights” because in it Jeff has a similar moment where he recognizes his own questionable behavior reflected back at him from another character. That character is Willy (Brian Van Holt), a felon attending classes at Greendale remotely, who Jeff believes is manipulating the Dean into giving him Jeff’s job. That’s when Britta pipes up with: “Isn’t that what you usually do?”
BAM – Jeff realizes he treats the Dean no better than Willie and uses that new knowledge to grow and stop taking the Dean’s kindness for granted. After all, he’s directly responsible for the few good things in Jeff’s life – his job and his friends – but sometimes it takes a mirror (or an IPad) to help us recognize our faults.
This storyline works because, strange as it sounds, the “love story” of Jeff and the Dean has officially become one of Community’s comedic pillars. And rightfully so. Joel McHale and Jim Rash have a well-documented chemistry (watch any press interview they’ve done together) and any TV writer worth their salt can recognize pairing them together as a sure path to laughs. As for their on-screen relationship, there’s something very familiar/sweet in the small, nerdy guy pining for someone clearly out his league. It’s the formula that floated the teen movie craze of the late nineties, and it works just as well here.
The writers appear to be aware they have something special with Rash and McHale, as each season of the show seems to find new and creative ways to up their shared screen time. And now that they work together, we can look forward to many scenes just as funny/bizarre as the Dean whisking IPad/broom Jeff away lovingly after a virtual prison brawl in the study room.
I can’t fathom what’s next for Greendale’s power-couple, but I’m on board to find out.
Justin Rawana will be recapping Community season 6 in a week-by-week format here. He has also recently reviewed Harmontown.
Community is airing new episodes every Tuesday on Yahoo Screen.