Community – Episode 3-11 Review – “Welcome Back, Friend”

Let’s take a moment before beginning this review to collectively squee about the return of Community, shall we?

*high pitched noise*

OK, good. Community returned last night, y’all! If you didn’t watch, consider yourself on my list of enemies. Right above people who walk slowly and take up the entire sidewalk, right below people who don’t like cheese.

I was glad to see Community return with an episode centered around Shirley, because she was an often underused character before the hiatus (shudder – let’s pretend the show never went away) sucked all the joy out of my life. In “Urban Matrimony and Sandwich Arts”, Andre proposed to Shirley for a second time and their Wedding, The Sequel threatened to undermine all that Shirley’s been working towards since she came to Greendale.

Andre wanted Shirley to go back to the kitchen so he could focus on his failing stereo business (gee, I wonder why it’s failing?) instead of pursuing her sandwich shop with Pierce. This was also a fantastic episode for Pierce, who’d reinvented himself as a wealthy murdered after Hawthorne Wipes sacked him. He was financing Shirley’s sandwich shop in the Greendale cafeteria, and I liked seeing him in a less evil light.

Speaking of unlikable characters, Britta was hilarious this week. The Queen of Anti turns out to be an amazing wedding planner? Fantastic. 

Then, of course, we had the dewhimsification (F— you, spellcheck, I’m making that a word!) of Troy and Abed. That was amazing enough on its own, but the fact that Andre interpreted every single one of their attempts to be “normal” as cruel mockery was amazing. They can’t help but be weird! If there was any meta commentary in the episode, it was this. Troy and Abed try to be normal people but are still wacky. Community airs a normal sitcom episode, but is still wacky.

It’s interesting that Community chose to return with this epsiode, which was quite normal. It wasn’t high concept and didn’t feature a big, meta storyline about how long it’s been since we’ve seen them. But if this episode was an attempt to score new viewers, then well done – I feel like anyone could see this episode and “get” it, whereas a higher concept installment might have alienated anyone new.

If there was one misstep in the whole thing, it’s that Andre was a little too sexist with the “Woman!” and the “Get back in the kitchen!” before hitting reverse and realizing that he can adapt to the new Shirley. He’s a likable character, and it just felt jarring to hear him talk to Shirley like that.

I didn’t want to ruin the experience of watching the show by taking tons of notes — and really, there’s no way to list every funny moment anyway — so here’s a few of my favorites and I encourage you to share more in the comments!

  • “Baby girl, I’ve loved you ever since there was a Soviet Union and only one Damon Wayans.” – Andre
  • “I know what an analogy is. It’s like a thought…with another thought’s hat on.” – Britta
  • Steppenwolf Wives.
  • “‘Webster’s Dictionary defines’? That’s the Jim Belushi of speech openings. It accomplishes nothing, but everyone keeps using it and nobody knows why.” – Annie
  • “It’s almost too conceptual to follow. But I love it!” – Abed (meta alert!)
  • The Lindbergh Lean!


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