'Community' season premiere recap: A musical, a monkey & 'Inspector Spacetime'
"Community" creator Dan Harmon and his cast launched the comedy's third season promising a happier, more normal semester at Greendale Community College.
"We're going to have more fun and be less weird/Than the first two years combined," cast members sang in the opening number Thursday.
Jeff flew to school. Chang (Ken Jeong) wore a money suit. An acrobat hung from the cafeteria ceiling. Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) had on the same sparkly purple gown.
"Community" is definitely not "going to seem like a mainstream dream" this season. The song was only Jeff Winger's (Joel McHale) daydream. (That explains why he and Annie (Alison Brie) embraced and sang, "We're finally going to sleep together.")
So what other wonderfully weird things happened?
- Abed (Danny Pudi) freaked out because "Cougar Town" will not air until mid-season, which allowed Harmon to hilariously reference not only that ABC comedy, but also the PBS drama "Downtown Abbey." Troy (Donald Glover) found Abed another show to obsess over--a (fake) British series called "Cougarton Abbey." Brilliant.
- After that show ended rather darkly, the study buddies stumbled upon a show about a time-traveling cop called "Inspector Spacetime." "This is the best show I've ever seen in my entire life," Abed said. A "Doctor Who" shout-out? Doubly brilliant.
- John Goodman and Michael Kenneth Williams were introduced as Greendale faculty. And while Goodman's Vice Dean Laybourne made the bigger impact in his feud with Dean Pelton, Williams' Professor Kane did get to proclaim, "I know who Sean Penn is! I've seen "Milk!"
- The set-up to Troy and Abed making their "big announcement," and the rest of the character's reactions, showed cast members' perfect sense of comic timing. Troy and Abed moved in together, but not because they are dating (as it at first seemed). They even said they'd accept gifts from Linen 'N Things: "We have plenty of linens. We mainly want the things."
- Troy gave the monkey living in the air vents a name: "I named him Annie's Boobs. After Annie's boobs."
- Pierce (Chevy Chase) spent an "enlightful" summer evolving at the Laser-Lotus Soul Re-zoning Center (or something like that), and he now believes the study table has magical powers. And he wants back into the study group.
- Troy still hates Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and loves to diss her: "You are human tennis elbow. You are a pizza burn on the roof of the world's mouth. You are the opposite of Batman."
- What else? Starburns has a new lizard; Leonard wears prescription socks; Jeff was knocked out by monkey gas; Chang is now a security officer at the college.
By episode's end (and after a bizarre new dream that set up a Jeff-Pierce conflict), Jeff came to the study group to say, "I just came by to tell everyone that this year won't be any different."
Hooray for that. I don't want it to change. But I want viewers to realize how incredibly interesting and funny it is, and start watching every week! (It airs at 7 p.m. CT Thursdays on NBC!)