‘Community’ Breakdown: ‘Bondage and Male Sexuality’

SPOILERS AHEAD, so study up cautiously, Community buffs…

Season Five, Episode Seven: “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality”

Written by Dan Guterman; Directed by Tristram Shapeero

Community returns for their second half of the season with a real snoozer of an episode. This one pertains to the boy characters all bonding, which means extensive times with characters we barely know or care about (or is that the point?). And why does the (alleged) Ass Crack Bandit get so much screen time? Plus not a single joke about the Olympics! How disappointing.

Quick Breakdown

This week, Duncan asks Jeff to help him score with Britta (now that Jeff’s done banging her). To get her attention, Jeff advises him to pick out a really sad cause. At the next council meeting, Duncan brings up that he’ll be attending the benefit show at the Forefront Theatre in Riverside for starving children…with cleft palates. Britta is taken by the event and invites herself along. Duncan is pleased, until Annie, Shirley, Chang, and a begrudging Jeff invite themselves along as well. Abed can’t go because he’s attending a movie premiere, and Buzz is too much of a curmudgeon to care.

After the event, Britta runs into some of her old protest friends. One of her friends makes a speech, calling her the greatest activist he knows. Jeff sees everyone liking her, and suddenly wants to get back together with her. Feeling inferior, Duncan convinces Jeff to give him a head start on trying to win Britta’s affections.

Abed’s plan is to attend the Kickpuncher premiere in a costume that resembles the original outfit from the original film (his stance on remakes, I presume). Dressed up in some RoboCop garb, he bursts into Buzz’s office and finds the professor scrambling to hide the papers that are strewn about his desk. Abed childishly flaunts his costume’s abilities and sprays foam all over Buzz’s desk. He unleashes his rage at Abed by handcuffing him to his filing cabinet, thereby preventing him from attending his precious premiere.

While everyone else is having their own adventures, Chang wanders into a dark, quiet room to take a phone call. When he finishes, he is met with applause. There is an entire audience in front of him, awaiting his next move — so he delves into some one-man showmanship. When he leaves the theatre, though, an old janitor tells him that theatre he was just in has been closed since 24 people died in the 1997 fire. Freaked out, Chang returns inside and yells at the ghosts. They respond by telling him that the janitor is the ghost, not them. Confused and scared, Chang runs out screaming.

Britta catches up with her friends who have sold out just like her, only better (They work in real estate). They start mocking a perfume billboard, and Britta tries to rally them to spraypaint it and take a risk. She is immediately shot down because they’ve all moved on and have bigger responsibilities to worry about (“So the person with the least wealth has the least valid argument? That’s convenient.”) Feeling rejected and small, she jumps at Duncan’s offer for a ride home (just as Jeff’s timer ends).

Buzz’s lesson in consequences becomes heavy-handed as he and Abed discuss crime and punishment. Buzz doesn’t like Abed’s spoiled life attitude, with everyone placating Abed because he’s special. He wants to hammer in some “life is hard” truths. But as they discuss why Buzz is so angry, Abed learns about Buzz’s duck cartoons. When Abed reads them, he is amused; and soon the two guys predictably bond.

In his car, Duncan tries to flirt with Britta. But Britta is too caught up in her existential crisis– she feels like she doesn’t have any friends. Duncan calls Jeff his friend, and Britta says she forgets that because they never really act like friends. Feeling like a bad person (for the first time in his life) Duncan decides to drive Britta home and return to the theatre bar to bond with his friend Jeff.

The newly formed bond is severed as Abed and Buzz argue about creativity. Abed accuses Buzz of being jealous of his, Abed’s, creativity, since Buzz seems unable to put any of his emotions into his cartoons. After a yelling match, Buzz lets Abed leave. But Abed doesn’t leave for his movie; he shows Buzz his script about a cop. He wants to combine Buzz’s “substance” with his filmmaking know-how. Their bond is reforged, stronger than ever.

In their next council meeting, the guys are all best friends now (how swell!). And Britta had a “monumental evening by herself.” (“I almost feel left out,” Shirley intones. “Well, we’ve had our share of focus lately,” Annie replies. “Speak for yourself,” Shirley adds under her breath.) Chang shows up looking haggard, speaking nonsense about ghosts. Britta tells him to take a candlelit bath to cope. The camera pans to an old-looking photograph on the wall with Chang in the midst of a group of people posing for the “Old Timey Photo Club 2014.” (As if that answers any questions we had about the whole thing.)

Rating

C

This was a mostly dull episode. (Is that because Annie was almost nonexistent?) Abed’s Abed-ness felt exceptionally childish and annoying when thrown next to Buzz’s grumpus of an attitude and highfalutin morals. Jeff basically sat on the sideline of his story with Duncan, who, admittedly, had some of the best lines (see below) and wasn’t a completely obnoxious character (like he usually is). Chang actually had the only interesting and amusing story, and it was tiny and poorly resolved. Basically, the whole episode was a disappointing return after an Olympic-imposed break. Hopefully next week proves far superior.

Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…

Duncan: “Have you met the women who do like me? Neither have I. But trust me; they’re bad people.”

Abed: “If you were a post-apocalyptic survivor…?” Buzz, answering without hesitation: “I would raise goats, hoard cinema, and only travel at night.”

Duncan’s angry monologue to Jeff about his sudden need to hook up with Britta: “Now you’re going to go pull a Dane Cook in one of those three movies about Dane Cook getting laid by accident. Only it’s not a Dane Cook movie, Jeff, because this time, someone’s watching. Me, your friend, British Jason Biggs.”

Duncan to Britta in his car: “Do you like music? Everyone likes music! What are you, a fish?”

Annie: “Chang, you cannot be on the committee if you’re going to be actively insane.”

This episode had a tag with Duncan and the Dean that was so needless I shouldn’t even be talking about it right now.

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