Review of Community’s “Paradigms of the Human Memory”

This season, NBC’s Community has consistently raised the bar and last night’s “Paradigms of Human Memory” was no exception. In fact, they may have solidified their Emmy nomination with “Paradigms.” From an out-of-the-gate Glee parody to revisiting this season’s Christmas adventure (both in live-action and in stop-motion claymation formats), Community brought it.With over 70 scenes reportedly filmed, fans expected the familiar meta-humor, non-stop jokes, and pop-culture references to be bumped into a new stratosphere. Not only did this episode of Community deliver, but those expectations were greatly exceeded. To sum it up in tweet form, I posted on my Twitter account shortly after the episode ended, that “Kind of ridiculous, but this episode was so great that, 22-minutes later, I’m still riding an adrenaline wave of incredulity.” Substitute 22-minutes to 24 hours later, and you get how I feel today.

In true Community fashion, the group’s journey through memory lane was, in itself, a plot device that served as the catalyst that got the study group through their 20th diorama project of the year. That, or the diorama project served as the catalyst to their reminiscing. Regardless, by having the gang look back on their second year at Greendale, it offered a glimpse into the types of adventures they’ve been on and allowed for great incite into just how dysfunctional this family or friends is. We were offered reveals that have been implied throughout the season, such as Jeff and Britta’s secret tryst and the ever-present connection between Abed and Pierce (OK, so maybe that hasn’t been implied as much this season). However, the most shocking reveal did involve Abed. In what became a running gag, appearing in nearly every one of the episode’s montages while simultaneously mocking NBC’s recent lack of success with the pilots they pick up, we learned that Abed had become enamored by NBC’s The Cape – to the point that he would don a cape and run around the school’s campus during the month-long existence.

During the flashbacks, and especially in the flashback montages, it was evident that the humor was coming from every direction and hitting on all cylinders. Whether it was Pierce injecting himself with a fourth flu shot, as if to become some sort of super human, or Shirley manipulating Abed, Annie, and Britta into purchasing $50 “start-up packages” of a catalog product she was selling, each flaw revealed was in-line with what we’ve learned throughout the series is a part of that character’s make-up.

Dean Pelton, and his fascination with dressing up in provocative costume, was targeted as well, with the payoff ultimately coming in this week’s end tag. The psychology behind this was almost breathtaking, with the Dean retreating from the study room and extracting revenge in the form of creating an animated story where the Dean falls victim to toxic waste exposure that results in him becoming a mix between The Toxic Avenger and The Terminator. Scorned, he eliminates the study group and, staying true to himself, ends his cartoon with the idea that Jeff having long repressed his affection for the Dean.

Finally, the montage over Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity,” which Dan Harmon, via his twitter account, mentioned as a homage to a particular fan who had created a fan video to that same song as a tool to expose the repressed love between Jeff and Annie. In fact, the use of “Gravity” to imply that Abed and Pierce had some unspoken connection, and later to reveal how Chang came out of the school’s vent bloodied and battered, was indeed a parody of the relationship fan-videos that Harmon and Alison Brie have each voiced appreciation and flattery of:
Notable Quotes:

“The show’s gonna last three weeks.”
“Six seasons and a movie!”“You can yell at me all you want, but I’ve seen enough movies to know that popping the back of a raft makes it go faster!”

“Can’t we stop fighting? We’re starting to hurt innocent perverts.”

“Let’s give them some examples. Troy, drop a beat.”


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