May 5, 2011

Quick Thoughts: COMMUNITY, "A Fistful of Paintballs"

"Modern Warfare" was the episode of Community that made me a fan, so I was hesitant when I learned that the show would be giving us a sequel this year. After seeing the promo NBC released last week, I was definitely on board with "A Fistful of Paintballs".

After the first few minutes, I had already decided that "Fistful" was going to surpass "Warfare", which I thought was impossible. I still think in the grand scheme of things, "Modern Warfare" will be Community's most iconic episode, but "Fistful" didn't rely as much on the flash and was more interesting from a character standpoint. And having Alison Brie front and center did not hurt either.

One reason why I felt this episode was a smidge better than its predecessor had to do with the fact that it only riffed on Spaghetti Westerns instead of all action movies like "Warfare". Only focusing on one genre allowed for a better flow, and was more engaging because I didn't have to spend as much time trying to place all of the references like I did last year. Since I know almost every Western trope, I could enjoy this episode more without having seen every Sergio Leone movie.

"Fistful" also benefited from being a part of a more interesting season long arc. I've really disliked Pierce all season, which has been the point, so having him be an iconic old-timey crimelord felt right. Last season's Britta/Jeff "will they won't they" ongoing thread lost steam by "Modern Warfare", so having that episode cap off that story didn't have the same punch as Pierce's role tonight.

Like I mentioned earlier, having Annie be one of the main protagonists also helped because Alison Brie was smoking hot, but also funny and all sorts of badass. Her chemistry with both Josh Holloway (as Black Rider) and Joel McHale made for some sexually charged moments which worked better than last year's Jeff and Britta scenes.

Speaking of Holloway, having him on the same screen as Alison Brie should be outlawed for being too damn hot. Not only did he bring the right amount of smolder to his Black Rider character, he just fit in within the Community universe. I doubt he'll be back anytime soon, but his stint was the perfect example of how to use a guest star.

My only gripe had to do with the lack of Troy, especially since he was the first one killed last season, but he's gotten some great moments this year, and it looks like he'll have a bigger role in next week's finale. Donald Glover is just too good to not highlight each and every week, but I digress.

I also know that "A Fistful of Paintballs" cannot be adequately judged without first seeing next week's "For a Few Paintballs More", but I'm confident that it will be just as good. Even if it's not, I'm still comfortable with placing these Season 2 paintball episodes slightly ahead of "Modern Warfare". I know that's sacrilege, but I'm OK with that.


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