Saturday, March 13, 2010

Community 1.17: "Physical Education"

“Yes, Abed. You need to be someone else. Someone who eventually gets a girlfriend. Because I can’t think of anything more frightening than a half-Polish, half-Arab virgin in his 30’s. One way or the other, that story ends with an explosion.”


“Physical Education” was all about the characters learning to be comfortable in their own skin, and some of the plots in this episode took that concept more literally than others. It was a fairly entertaining episode, although I wouldn’t count it among my favorites. I think, surprisingly, my favorite part of the episode was, again, Abed. Danny Pudi’s performance was both hilarious and sweet at the same time. Okay, and naked Jeff playing pool certainly didn’t hurt this episode, either, but seriously, Abed was awesome.

At study group one day, the gang makes two important observations. First, Britta pronounces “bagel” in a really strange way, but she’s convinced that because she lived in New York for a while, she is absolutely pronouncing it correctly. The rest of the group finds this hilarious, and they rag on her about it for the rest of the episode. Second, Troy’s Spanish textbook contains what looks like a drawing of Abed surrounded by tiny hearts. After it’s established that Troy isn’t responsible for the drawing (he bought the book used), the group’s interest turns to figuring out who is responsible. All of them but Jeff are really, really enthusiastic about the prospect of finding a girlfriend for Abed.

Jeff is more concerned with his new class that is starting that day- Billiards. He thinks pool is the coolest game there is, and he has chosen a suitably cool outfit in which to play, complete with leather jacket. Jeff’s having fun shooting some pool with his classmates when the professor just has to come in and ruin everything. A heavy-set older gentleman, the professor insists that everyone in the class wear Greendale gym uniforms, including the short shorts (like 80’s NBA style short shorts). Jeff gives it a brief try, comes to the conclusion that it’s not at all a good look for him, and quickly changes back into the cool outfit he originally picked out.

This escalates into a huge argument between Jeff and the professor. Jeff challenges the professor to a game of pool, but the professor says he only plays guys who wear shorts. This makes Jeff act even more juvenile. He storms out of the classroom saying that everything is stupid, including pool and the professor. Usually Jeff is more eloquent, even when pissed off. It’s interesting that an attack on his vanity is what makes him completely lose it.

Annie and Shirley ask Senor Chang if he knows who had Troy’s book last semester. Chang makes a big show of trying to psychically divine the answer, but all he really did was look in the front of the book and find a name written there. The group doesn’t especially appreciate Chang’s theatrics, but they’re glad to have another clue in their investigation. Some members of the group think Abed is going to have to change pretty significantly to get this mystery girl to go out with him, but Jeff finds that concept pretty revolting. Britta agrees.

To the horror of the group, the “version” of Abed’s self that would approach the mystery girl is pretty darn odd. The motions Danny Pudi makes look very insect-like to me. Abed, however, thinks that this version of himself might possibly be a vampire. Which had me laughing hysterically. The group yanks Abed away from approaching the mystery girl and saves him a whole lot of humiliation. Although, come to think of it, Abed probably wouldn’t have been all that humiliated. He is, as he says later in the episode, very comfortable with who he is.

At Pierce’s prompting, Abed agrees to try acting like someone else. The group (minus Jeff) holds a little practice session before Abed tries anything on the mystery girl. In what I assume is a shout-out to Allison Brie’s other role as Trudy Campbell on Mad Men, Abed tries hitting on Annie by doing his best Don Draper impression. Surprising everyone, it….kind of works. Shirley doesn’t think that’s the right tactic to actually use on mystery girl. Don Draper’s a kind of despicable guy who cheats on his wife, after all. The answer arrives in the form of Jeff bursting into the room to chide the rest of the group for not letting Abed be himself (and to vent about the gym teacher wanting him to wear shorts). It turns out that Abed can do a pretty decent Jeff impersonation, so the group thinks he should go with that.

Abed’s Jeff impression seems to be working when he’s interrupted by Joey- a guy who looks sort of like a Caucasian version of Abed and who happens to be the mystery girl’s boyfriend. She hadn’t been drawing Abed in her Spanish textbook. She had been drawing Joey. The rest of the group is just devastated for Abed. They don’t even expect him to come to their meeting the next day because they figure he’ll be crushed. Actually, quite the opposite happens. Abed arrives to study group perfectly happy. Apparently girls regularly pay attention to him because he’s “adorable,” so it’s not like this was his only shot at love. He tells the group that he’s pretty comfortable with who he is, so changing a bit to make them happy wasn’t that big a deal. Wise words, Abed.

Jeff is inspired by Abed’s self esteem to finally take on the gym teacher in a game of pool while wearing shorts. Even when Jeff shows up in regulation Greendale shorts, the gym teacher keeps taunting Jeff that he cares more about how he looks than about the game. This escalates into both men continuing to take off articles of clothing as they play the game, just to prove to each other that they really care nothing about clothes. This is pretty hilarious except for the fact that the Dean predictably takes an inappropriate interest in what’s going on. Mostly, he’s trying to take pictures with his cell phone of Jeff naked. I am really getting kind of tired of that running gag.

Jeff is victorious in the pool game, and he finally has the gym teacher’s respect. Jeff is now allowed to play pool dressed however he wants. Jeff says he chooses shorts, and that makes the gym teacher a bit inappropriately emotional. A girl from Jeff’s class approaches him, and we’re supposed to believe that she’s about to hit on Jeff. It turns out that she really wants to know if Jeff will introduce her to Abed. Jeff suggests Abed would respond better if she introduced herself, and the takes his advice. The two hit it off, although knowing Abed, it probably won’t go anywhere. But that’s okay, because Abed is awesome just as he is.

No comments:

Post a Comment