Community: The Election Episode

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The best parts in last night's "Intro to Political Science" were the details, from the jokes jammed into Troy and Abed's election telecast to the enjoyable connection between Abed and the Secret Service agent. The student government candidates themselves got some great moments, too: I love that Magnitude came back but still doesn't go beyond "Pop-pop!" All of that was enough to lift the episode and make up for the fact that the A-story and Annie and Jeff's rivalry was a bit of a rehash of pretty much every conflict they've had so far. She's naïve, he's got control issues; these are things we know, not things we need to watch them rediscover. Still, despite the vague feeling of déjà vu, the episode was one of the funniest in a few weeks.

It seems like every TV series set in a school will eventually have an episode about someone running for student body president, but Community has the advantage of a large stable of wackos to trot out and make speeches. Just about everything the candidates said in the half-assed debate was great, from Pierce's delirious needling of Vicki to the way Starburns dropped out of the race because he didn't want a political career to besmirch his rep as a drug dealer. The campaign also let us get more of Troy and Abed doing their thing, this time as rapid-fire color commentators for Greendale's CCTV channel. Troy hilariously threw himself into the job, from listing his on-screen name as Troy "Butt Soup" Barnes to acting like a diva as soon as the cameras were off. Every time they get together, whether it's this or "Troy and Abed in the Morning" or a "Kickpuncher" re-enactment, it's golden.

There wasn't much doubt about the way the main story would turn out, so while it was fun to see a younger Jeff vamping like George Michael to try and make The Real World, the impending lesson was a lock: Annie would realize she'd gone too far, Jeff would realize he drove her there, and they'd make up. Maybe it was all just a set-up to get them back on actively friendly terms in hopes of doing another romance-inspired cliffhanger come season's end, but then, that'd really be repetitive, so here's hoping it goes another direction. And whatever happened with Jeff's decision to be a better person under the tutelage of Rich? Did it just not stick?

At the end of the night, though, it was a strong episode, especially when it relied on the Troy-Abed energy and its growing roster of supporting players. Definitely a step up from the past few weeks.

Scattered thoughts:

• The dean's Uncle Sam outfit was beyond glorious.

• The on-screen summaries of the candidates were so packed with written gags it was like mainlining a decade's worth of The Simpsons in one go. From listing Annie's ethnicity as "hot" to having Leonard's motto state "I remember all wars," the whole run was amazing. Plus it listed as Pierce's trivia fact "Followed BNL for summer," a nice nod to the show's earlier mention of the group.

• Loved the table joke in the cold open: Abed carves notches in the wood for Jeff's "Classic Wingers" and ab mentions, while Troy just carves them under the heading "Notches." Brilliant sight gag.

• "Do you just constantly have your own little side adventures?"

• "I just had a dream that I was a regular president." Oh, Joe Biden. You rascal you.

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