After two weeks of emotional concept episodes , Community is finally back to normal. Very normal. And it's clear that this is so very far from Season 4 normal (which is more or less, "Hey, it's still pretty funny, so let's hope for the best"). Because the best part of the episode was the worst part of last season: Chang.
But aside from the absence of Piece and Troy, this was a pretty straightforward, early Community episode: one plot and two subplots, some laughs, and even a little character development. This won't be a terribly memorable episode of Community in the long run, but that's not to say it wasn't a good episode. So let's see what the gang was up to this week, shall we?
Annie and Hickey
Annie and Hickey were tonight's main event, having jumpstarted a quest to re-instate the bulletin board. The biggest joke here was the ridiculousness of the story itself, but it was still a fun, Sorkin-y plot. There were a ton of top-notch guest stars (Nathan Fillion! Kumail Nanjiani!), but their appearances were too short to make any kind of impact.
It was also a story that brought out Annie's complexity. Sure, she can be a wide-eyed Disney character, but she can also be ruthlessly ambitious. Hickey, the stubborn old coot, got the job done and made sure Annie didn't lose sight of her idealism (although really, he could've just said "easy peasy, lemon squeezy" in the first place).
Jeff, Shirley, Duncan, and Chang
This story meant absolutely nothing, but it was by far the most hilarious. Jeff, Shirley, Duncan, and Chang were in charge of decorations for the midterm party. But after Chang's emotional breakdown (something about him repeating "Bear down for midterms?" got me every time), the group bends to Chang's wishes. And Chang's theme ends up being a representation of a violent bear attack seen on the news, because of course it is. So without questioning it, everyone just tries to make "fat dog" happen, make that the theme and hope for the best. Which then goes horribly wrong when Garrett screams "It's a bear dance!" But we get to Chang's fat dog dance which he "definitely did not just make up," so really it's a win for everyone.
Britta and Abed
This story ended up being incredibly dull, especially compared to last week's interaction between Britta and Abed. It revolved around spoilers for a show that was basically just Game of Thrones, and that was pretty much it. No statements made, no interesting personal developments with Britta and Abed, and not a lot of jokes. The deaf girl from Switched at Birth came on as sort of a love interest for Abed, but it turned out she was just being paid by Britta to feed him spoilers. But the show turned it around in the third act by having Coat Check Girl (aka Brie Larson) make a return! And Abed asked her out! On an actual date! That, my friends, is what we in the watching-television-and-writing-about-it-on-the-Internet business like to call character progression.