Community 5.05 Review: “Geothermal Escapism”

Anthony Nowicke January 24, 2014 0

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This might have been the saddest episode in the series so far, as the study group waved goodbye to Troy on his last day as a Greendale Human Being

In “Geothermal Escapism,” Abed prompts a game of “the ground is lava,” which, in proper Community fashion, quickly transforms into another parody episode, this one poking at post-apocalyptic movies like Mad Max. Greendale itself becomes part of the fallout, and everyone is after Abed’s prize: his most cherished comic book.

First off, the episode delivers in terms of hijinks. Community is well known for its high-concept, paintball-smattered episodes, and “Geothermal Escapism” falls right in line. From Chang and his Locker Gang to Hickey’s monstrous floor-waxing vehicle, we have here both wild imagination and clever stabs at the post-apocalypse genre. Look for references to Alien and The Warriors as well. Such references and stabs, in my opinion, define Community’s place in modern television. It is the funhouse mirror that distorts and warps the popular culture it sees in front of it. No show does this the way Community does, and they really upped the bar with their latest episode.

Which makes sense. Of course, they would want to do something special and memorable for the farewell episode of one of their most beloved characters. Troy became known as the lovable yet ditzy meathead, the former football star with the heart (and maturity level) of a perverted child. For me, he provided some of the series’ most memorable laughs – remember his mispronunciation of Asperger’s in the first season? I was sold. But what really defined his character was his relationship with his best friend, Abed.

The two formed a duo as memorable as Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon. Their secret handshake…how many best friends out there now regularly use the same? I’ve done so here and there. Their jokes tagged at the end of episodes…I’ve now tried to get out of many debacles by just pretending like I was asleep.

And it is the heart of that duo that was the heart of this episode. Britta calls Abed out on it: the hot lava game amounts to little more than a distraction for Abed. He is understandably reluctant to say goodbye to his best friend.

The past two episodes of Community have seen quite a bit of that. Last week, we closed the casket on Pierce, so to speak, and now Troy is off to sail the world.

It was sad for Abed, and it was sad for us. Fortunately however, it was funny as could be.

 [Photo via Justin Lubin/NBC]