Community, Season 3, Episode 4: “Remedial Chaos Theory″
Airs Thursdays, 8pm ET on NBC
Now this is more like the Community I came to know and love. I’m not going to lie, I have been a little disappointed with the first three episodes of season three and thought that it might be heading in a direction that I didn’t like. Luckily that all changed in episode four and we were right back to the meta humour and crazy plotlines.
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The episode begins with Annie and Britta arriving at Troy and Abed’s new apartment. They are there for a housewarming party. Shirley has been there baking since 3pm. “Time flies when I’m baking” she announces to which Troy grins and mutters “No, it doesn’t.” But they are trying to be good hosts. They even read a book on how to do so in which they were told how to deal with the “Negro problem” Troy informs them before saying that the book was written in the 1950’s. Jeff and Pierce arrive and are shown the apartment. Pierce is not impressed but only because he is jealous of Troy moving in with somebody else. Jeff has to leave early for a party at “Single malt, platinum boobs and billiards club.” Of course, it’s not real; Abed designed it in photoshop so that Jeff couldn’t come up with an excuse to leave. They bring out Yahtzee and the craziness begins.
The pizza guy buzzes and because they can’t let him upstairs due to a broken front door, someone has to go down and pay for it. As nobody wants to, Jeff devises a plan by which he will roll a dice and going from left to right, 1-6, it will decide who goes. Abed warns him that by doing this he is effectively creating 6 different timelines. Jeff ignores him and throws the dice in the air. We see it fly through a map in which all the numbers are in a circle and land on two. It’s a multiple timeline episode and it’s a bottle episode but this is what the show excels in. Just think back to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, possibly one of the best episodes of the show. What these allow the show to do is bring out the eccentricities of the group as a whole.
The best things about this episode are the constant callbacks each time somebody else has to go and get the pizza. There was Jeff hitting his head on the fan, Britta playing Roxanne on the iPod only to be told to stop by Jeff once she starts singing, Shirley needing to get her pies from the oven and Pierce trying to give Troy a Norwegian Troll Doll that used to terrify him when they lived together. Each story happens again and again in each timeline, but something changes every time. My favourite being the way in which Pierce finds a way to slip in a story of how he once had sex with Eartha Kitt in an airplane bathroom.
Perhaps the best timeline is the one in which Troy has to go and get the pizza. He runs downstairs because he doesn’t want to miss anything. In the time that he is gone Annie slips over on Abed’s Indiana Jones boulder, smashes the table, the gun in her bag gets set off and shoots Pierce in the leg, Britta rushes out of the bathroom with a joint in her hand and accidentally drops it on to Pierce’s smashed alcohol bottle, causing a huge fire. Troy comes back in, sees the Troll staring at him and screams in his classic way. There are many more ridiculous stories and also a few that would make some people very happy for a while, such as Jeff and Annie actually kissing, or Troy and Britta seemingly having a connection.
In the end, Abed decides that throwing the dice is wrong because the universe is already random enough and that they need to keep predictability at times. Also because Jeff devised the plan to get out of getting the pizza himself. Once this is said, he is made to go and get the pizza. While gone, everything happens again, only this time something has changed. Britta plays her song and has nobody to stop her singing. The rest join in and it turns into a dance. They are all enjoying themselves. I wonder if this is to show that Jeff’s selfishness is holding them back as a group. After all, most of the problems seemed to come from his decisions.
The beauty of this episode is the callbacks to little things that were left in early on. It must have been so complicated to write because there are so many little details and yet taking one out might throw off the story completely. As is, the episode flows great and is hilarious. It is one of the best episodes of the entire show for me. Oh, and as a final note, show-runner Dan Harmon suggested that something that happened in this episode will blow our minds come mid season. I can’t wait to find out what he means.