The second half of the 2011 Community paintball episode feels like a completely different episode from the one it continues. While the first was laden with emotion, hilarity, and the same exuberance for a theme that last year’s “Modern Warfare” excelled at, the conclusion was more of a general romp. It was, in essence, another great Community episode. Not a bad thing at all, but after last week’s build-up I expected a bit more than what was delivered in “For a Few Paintballs More.”
”No thanks, I’m done with you guys. I love this school, but I’m done with whatever you call this.”
Honestly I believe that the Pierce farewell tonight was meant to be a cliffhanger, although nothing as bombastic as a hatch being blown open. All season long they’ve relished the idea of Pierce as a goofy bad guy who gets in the way, and ruins everything. But he’s still part of the gang. Recently it’s come to a head and the group is forcing him out. If you remember, Annie was the only one still defending him when the vote went down. Pierce’s priceless trickery to win the paintball war, and subsequent speech to the group about how he loves Greendale but wants no part of the study group any more made me truly love the guy for the first time ever. But it was tainted by the group’s reaction as they all sat and waited, as Jeff instructed them to do, until Pierce came crawling back. This never happened as the second season came to a close.
The final section of the season 2 finale was Community at its most brilliant. I simply question the wisdom of having the entire study group stare at the door and do absolutely nothing. After all that they’ve done together you’d think someone in the group would recognize that the issue may not lie solely with the old man who just delivered the best sitcom “bite me, bitches” speech ever.
But enough picking of the nits, let’s get to the greatness. The war zone theme mixed with a little A New Hope was too muddled to be effective, but it did give us the best kiss of the season. Abed, fully engaged in a Han Solo personality, and Annie, covered in orange paint as it rained from the sprinkler system (thank you, great idea having Troy), was the sweetest, silliest, and even sexiest kiss of the season. Especially Annie’s reaction after it was over.
Shirley just gave birth, but she’s there to kick ass. Her escape from the library, while setting off the paint sprinkler system, was fantastic. It’s great that even while doing so much other stuff, this show takes the time to ensure each character (even background characters like Leonard and Star Burns) gets a moment to shine.
My two favorite little moments were Britta looking around at the slow motion carnage of the battle, and Troy’s Platoon death. Not lagging too far behind were the “Leeroy Jenkins” reference as Vicki screamed her own name and ran straight at the Gatling gun, Dean Pelton getting to scream and whimper one last time this season, and Troy and Abed’s handshake as they commenced Operation Troy’s Awesome Leadership Is Never In Doubt.
I do kind of wish this episode were better, and perhaps when watched with “A Fistful of Paintballs” it will be. But there’s a bit of brilliance in that ending as we’re reminded of touchstones throughout the season. Jeff giving up a little of the leadership to Troy, and acknowledging his good ideas, was surprisingly touching. In fact, one thing that I take away from season 2 of Community is that even the silliest and most cartoonish of sitcoms has the power to take its audience to deeply emotional places. The TV landscape is better for Community’s existence and I can’t wait to find out what happens next at Greendale Community College.
“Now your whole evil plan is clear as day. But if you need to explain it to your men, I understand.”
“In their balls? Just below their balls? I think it’s called a ‘taint.’”
“I’m calling dibs on the Han Solo role before Jeff slouches into it by default.”
“Pop what? What is he trying to say!? Pop what, Magnitude!?”
“I hope I don’t get shot waiting out here. I’d hate to go home to my babies.”
“Where one of us will pull the fire alarm, activating the sprinklers, which I will have rigged with my super plumbing skills, to shower everything in the building with paint.”
“Operation Troy’s Awesome Plan is living up to its name.”
“Let’s kick some taint.”
“Too risky, sequels are almost always disappointing.”
“He uses some kind of crystals instead of deodorant.”