I thought this was pretty neat -- a meta episode of a Community meta-episode. They set up all these expectations for "Community's Pulp Fiction episode" and then subvert them all ... to do a stealth My Dinner With Andre parody. (They "prefer homages.")
Too clever by half? Maybe by 1/4th. (Maybe by 1 and 1/2.) I know I was excited to see what they'd do with a Tarantino episode, just based on their track record in the gimmick episodes. But it's just as exciting to me that the show would commit to doing something so odd. "Not only is tonight the annual 'Dan tries to get himself fired' episode of Community..." - Dan Harmon, creator.
I know that being structurally impressive is ultimately meaningless if it's not funny, but I thought it was v.funny as well. And by not being the expected parody episode, it did a bunch of the character work heavy lifting that lets those episodes run -- for Abed, who said he can't grow as a person/character, for Jeff, and for the show's worldview and cultural observations in general.
Pudi as Abed as Chad as Abed as Chad's monologue was fucking gripping. Just mesmerizing. I had no idea that James Kalyn and Jeff Hansen of the-w had been bickering about Cougar Town for months just to set up this Community joke. COUGAR TOWN MIDDLE SCHOOL.
Originally posted by JustinShapiroPudi as Abed as Chad as Abed as Chad's monologue was fucking gripping. Just mesmerizing.
No kidding. I'm looking at that actor in a whole new light after last night. Really fantastic character work, and just a totally different acting style.
I also thought it was a great episode, and I suspect that if I'd ever actually seen "My Dinner with Andre," I would have seen it coming a mile away. As it stands, I liked this more than I think I would have liked the "Pulp Fiction" episode we didn't get, just for the all-around character work. Not just Jeff and Abed, but we got some really good stuff from Troy and Britta as well, and while Chang continues not to innovate, it was good, consistent character work from him as well. They've had funnier episodes, and perhaps less funny episodes as well, but overall I really enjoyed their Dinner with Andre dinner with Abed.
When I saw Richard Ayoade's name in the director credit, I watched keenly for any sign of his directing style....which apparently I can't recognise, because I came up empty, but I WILL say Jeff had some great reaction shots cut into Abed's extremely extended monologue. It's harder to do good work when you don't have any lines, but I really liked what both men were doing in that scene.
Now, if it were TARANTINO, he would have found a way to do it without cuts so we all knew it was just a single long take, but we have no way of knowing here....unless somebody fesses up. (Awaits someone else's research in a reply)
Oh sure, Johnny Depp looks and acts like an actual person and it's based on a Hunter S. Thompson novel, but they should have just gone ahead and called it Pirates of the Caribbean 5. It's basically what this was.