Community 5.09 Review: “VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing”

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Hola Communies! This weeks Community episode may have been the best of the season yet (okay, at LEAST since Troy left) and they’re only getting better from here (or so it would seem). This week we follow Annie and Abed as they search for a new roommate, and the rest of the gang breaks bad. Let’s jump in shall we?! DRAW!

We are once again at the end of a “Save Greendale” committee meeting, and Annie is assigning duties. Jeff hops on with “clean out a storage room” because she always assigns the easy ones first. So after Hickey and Shirley join up, Annie decides to assign nothing further. She’s unpredictable! Graham cracker! We also get a visit from Abed’s girlfriend, Rachel (the beautiful Brie Larson). Their relationship is evolving efficiently, Rachel just got Abed a gift (The VCR game “Pile of Bullets”) AND they are the new “Aww couple”. They even share a (Jeff’s) Netflix password. AWW!

Then we hop into the two major plots, but not before we see the Dean rap an apology about payday being pushed back a week dressed as a Baby Ruth…er….a Pay Day. (Who knew Jim Rash was such a gangsta?!) After he scares himself and runs from the room crying, the group splits off.

First, we meet Annie’s brother, Anthony, who looks like he’s straight out of Duck Dynasty. Anthony is a man of few words, but putting someone like him in scenes with Abed worked well and was hysterical! Abed is a little worried about him, because he looks like a viking and they’re dangerous. Annie, on the other hand, wants to replace Troy with Anthony, while Abed would prefer that Rachel move in with them. More on that later.

Meanwhile, Jeff, Hickey and Shirley are cleaning out a storage room when they stumble upon some brand new, mint condition Chemistry textbooks. They are worth quite a bit on the black market, so (since their paychecks have been delayed) Jeff and Hickey would like to discuss some options, and Shirley is coerced. After Shirley is in, however, she quickly turns into the Walter White of the group. Mild mannered Christian mother turned black market textbook dealer just like that. Who would’ve guessed? As this story progresses, they recruit Britta (she knows somebody that knows people), Chang walks in on their dealings, and he’s forced to record a false confession in order to keep quiet (again, Breaking Bad much?! Poor Hank….er….Chang). One by one, the group becomes uncooperative and Shirley ends up with them all tied up. Then, they find out that the books are….wait for it…. worthless! No page numbers! Oh well, they came out better for it, but they learned that “sometimes there’s no lesson”.

At Abed and Annie’s, Abed and Annie are busy selling their roommate choices to each other. Eventually, they decide the only fair way to decide who wins is to play “Pile of Bullets” to determine who their new roommate should be, even though both candidates are completely unaware. One day, they’ll explain. So they put in the video and the game master (Breaking Bad’s  Vince Gilligan) begins the game. They struggle with the game, and Rachel and Anthony are hesitant. Abed and Annie then become super intense and battle to the death over the game while Anthony and Rachel look on, horrified and disinterested all at once. Once they find out about the “wager” of sorts, Rachel leaves (also, she’s glad the VCR is a dead medium), and Anthony clues Annie in to Abed’s issues with Troy’s departure. Abed and Annie are okay (they realized Troy was the peacekeeper), but Abed has someone else to make things right with.

What may be the best thing that happened in this entire episode happened next. Abed makes a “third act” apology to Rachel with someone pouring water from a watering can on his head (like a scene from a movie?! Get it?!? SO Abed, so perfect). After Rachel and Abed make up, a kid slips on the floor from the water, which may have been the most hilarious thing that happened all night. And it was NOT a stunt person.

To round out the episode, we see a flashback to 1993 to Vince Gilligan’s pre-game master days when his wife (was that Gina Gershon?!) convinces him to leave his job at Apple to take the “Pile of Bullets” gig. Those VCR games ARE the way of the future, after all! Poor guy…maybe he should manufacture and sell textbooks or meth or something.

This was a hilarious episode. Community is getting better and better every week, and there’s no slowing it down. I mean, if Donald Glover’s departure won’t slow it down, what will? I’ve laughed more and more at every episode this season, and this one was no exception. It might get tired to read how hilarious I think every episode is, so in the words of famed sailing companion LeVar Burton “you don’t have to take my word for it”. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the episode:

“I’m sweating like a Catholic on judgement day”- Shirley

“Is this a real conversation or are we being bugged by the feds?”- Rachel

Anthony: “Can I poop?” 

Annie: “No Anthony just cut the carrots. You’ve been dating Rachel for a month”

Abed: “I don’t think you heard his question. The answer is yes.”

“Are we sure that this is a game and not some art film?”- Rachel

“Just because it’s adorable doesn’t mean it’s not important”- Abed

“Why is there hot sauce in the bathroom? Because it’s Greendale”- Jeff

“Coins create parallel timelines”- Abed

Well I hope you guys enjoyed this week’s episode (and subsequently my thoughts and musings on said episode). It’s renewal/cancellation season, so here’s hoping NBC knows what’s good for them and gives Community another go-round! #SixSeasonsAndAMovie, right? Anyway, that’s it for now, so I’ll see you next week for some Dungeons and Dragons! Adios, partner! BANG!

[Photo via Justin Lubin/NBC]

Nick Hogan is a TV and movie fanatic. He loves writing reviews, TV discussion, and is always looking for new things to watch. Follow him on Twitter @nickyahogan
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