Thursday, January 9, 2014

REVIEW: 'Community' - Jeff & Annie Investigate and Find Prof. Duncan & Star-Burns in 'Basic Intergluteal Numismatics'

NBC's Community - Episode 5.03 Basic Intergluteal Numismatics

Everyone is up in arms when an anonymous bandit starts dropping coins down people's pants. While Dean Pelton mobilizes the school to investigate, Jeff and Annie pursue their own theories - methodically interrogating staff members. When someone eventually confesses, the school heaves a sigh of relief, but Jeff thinks there is more to the story than meets the eye.

"Basic Intergluteal Numismatics" is Community's take on the tropes of modern-day investigative procedurals. It is a high-concept idea that Community has done before - the Law & Order tribute episode from the third season comes to mind. And yet, a lot of this episode does work simply because of how detailed this world is. The atmospheric tone would make or break this kind of episode. Everything here just works because of how often you see those things on actual broadcast and cable procedurals - the constant rain, the press conferences, the frequent red herrings, the surprising return appearances, the use of music and montages, the chase sequences, one character coming face-to-face with the culprit, the call with the scrambled voice and, most importantly, the sexual tension between the lead investigators.

This episode was a lot of fun to watch - even though there was a clear lack of resolution. The story kinda just abruptly ends when the show runs out of time. The true "Ass Crack Bandit" is not revealed - not even to the audience. So I'm left feeling that this story isn't complete and that it may pop up again later in the season. If this is truly all this story set out to be, then it does feel incomplete.

Also while everything was going on with the "Ass Crack Bandit," Shirley had to give some devastating news: Pierce has died! That is a big emotional moment for all of these characters. It's just a small moment here - the show deals with it much more profoundly in the next episode. And yet, I also think it's a great way to write Chevy Chase off without forgetting the importance Pierce had in this universe.

Some more thoughts:
  • That opening title sequence was pretty great. It really did help fully realize the atmosphere of the piece.
  • Oh hey, Ben Folds. That was a fun cameo.
  • I love that Shirley used this entire story as a way to earn extra money.
  • Another episode that really didn't have a lot of Britta. There's been a reenergized depth into most of the characters this year. And yet, I don't think they have done a lot with that character this year.
  • Also didn't care for Chang and his physical comedy bit at all.
  • But then Professor Duncan returned and thought Buzz was Pierce.
  • How can Abed justifiably get rid of Hannibal on his DVR? I can understand deleting The Bridge. But Hannibal? Come on!