Film and TV

Community: "Curriculum Unavailable"

When last we left the study group, the "Greendale Seven" had just been unceremoniously expelled from college by the board of regents following a failed attempt to oust Chang. My personal hope for this episode was either: The Seven's ascendance to mythic revolutionary status, à la the Seattle Seven, culminating with protests followed by death or jail.

Or: They'd return to school as if nothing happened, because that would have the greatest potential to piss people off.

As it turns out, neither of those came to pass. What did happen? Lots of clips, some misdirection and more questions about Abed's sanity.

Some two months have passed since the expulsion, and some of the study group are adjusting better than others. Jeff, for example, seems just as flippant and obnoxious as usual, while Abed has reverted to portraying Inspector Spacetime, full-time. The "Dean," via local PD, offers to send him to a psychiatrist, even though Abed is the only one aware Dean Pelton has been replaced.

Still? That's probably going to be messy.

The compromise is thus: The entire group goes to visit Dr. Heidi (John Hodgman) and inform the therapist Abed's behavior has been ramping up for a while (though including his anger at Shirley comparing Brett Ratner to Spielberg doesn't make a lot of sense). Unwise as that is, it's probably even worse when they start offering examples of their own unstable actions from the past year (Troy driving an ATV into the study lounge, Shirley giving away her sons' belongings).

Dr. Heidi's conclusion -- that Abed should be committed -- sort of caps off the suspicions a lot of us have had for a while, that the guy has actual problems. Even the clips shown from pre-expulsion days paint kind of a...disturbing picture.

The study group is understandably horrified. Their counter-evidence, of course in the form of more clips, is that Greendale itself causes abnormal behavior. But also of the times the school (actually Dean Pelton) supported them, bolstering Abed's claim that it's not the real Dean. And the group decides to go back and set things right.

And boom goes the dynamite. Dr. Heidi finally tells them there is no Greendale. It was merely a "mentally compatible alternative to their grim reality." A shared delusion (like the '90s swing dance craze) that they have nonetheless been freed of. Of course it's horseshit. And under duress, Heidi (if that's his real name) spills the beans. There's nothing for it but to free Dean Pelton and end Chang's reign of terror.

Thus is the issue of Abed's instability skirted once again. Now it appears the season finale will be a power struggle between the study group and Chang, with the possibility of an open-ended season finale, now that NBC has renewed the series for another 13 episodes.

Random Unsurprising Observation: I kind of enjoyed Britta's "peyote" look. What can I say? Nina Blackwood was always my favorite VJ.

Random Out-of-Context Quotes:

"I need to eat natural, organic foods or I'm never gonna get rid of this hangover."

"If this were Comic-Con, I'd take a bullet for that kid."

"I don't deal in crazy, I deal in help. Now how long has Abed needed a crazy amount of help?"

"How long does peyote last? Just asking for a friend."

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar