Despite the (continued!) grumbling from the gnomes down in the
tavern comments section, we are not evilly inclined against Community. (We’d consider our alignment more Chaotic Neutral, thanks for asking!) And last night’s impressive “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” provides an excellent opportunity to once again shout from the backs of our pegasuses (pegasii?) to all corners of the land, from the “Imaginary Coast” to the swamp of despair and back to the dorms again, that when it comes to conceptual ballsiness no comedy comes close to Community. (We’d shout it in Gnomish but we kinda let it slip away after high school. We blame the exchange student.) For the sheer commitment of this episode — technical, comedic, geekish — Dan Harmon and Co. deserve all the treasures of Draconis, not to mention our admiration.
As with the episodes devoted to paintball, zombies, and Claymation that came before, “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” went for it with a capital “WENT FOR IT”: There was a veddy British narrator, weaving the fable of a misunderstood Paladin named Fat Neil and Ye Olde Study Groupe (including, of course, “Jeff the Liar,” “Shirley the Cloying,” and, our favorite, “Britta the Needlessly Defiant”) who invited him to an AD&D match in order to save him from sadness, mockery, or an even worse fate (picking up Warhammer, we imagine). There was an appropriately lute-filled soundtrack Lord of the Ring–ing in our ears. There was even an entirely new title sequence! (It’s the little things.) Abed, in the role he was born to play, was the Dungeon Master, leading the ragtag band of valiant swordsmen and, uh, well-endowed “swords”men through an adventure expressly designed to cheer up Neil. And all was merry and well for a time! Despite the lack of anything to Jenga, Bing-Bong the Archer (Abed admits he’s bad at names) attempts to fight goblins using his additional notes while Britta’s bleeding-heart liberalism bleeds right into the completely fictional fantasy world (Britta: “I want to know why these goblins are attacking us! Maybe these woods are their rightful land!” Troy: “You’re like the AT&T of people!”). Chang shows up as a Jolson-esque dark elf, done up in full blackface. We laughed! (We also cheered when he was the first to die.)
But then trouble rained down like twenty-sided die on a waxy tabletop: The group had unwisely banished Pierce the Dickish (a.k.a. Grandpa the Flatulent) from the game. And he was not pleased. In fact, he was pissed. And mean! Pierce was extremely mean! First he kicks Fat Neil out of his chair (angry that he was “stretching” it), then he humiliates Neil’s beloved avatar, “Duquesne of Duquesne” (!), by taking his charitably given Elven cloak of wind-walking and his special sword and running into the woods. Poor Neil. It took him 50 campaigns to get that sword, but Pierce, bitter as ever, rolls well and successfully wipes his balls with it. Then humps it. While we liked Pierce’s villainy transforming the game into something a lot more interesting — with a lot more elvish sex — and we laughed out loud at his Sauron-esque lair, replete with goblets of wine and orange traffic cones in place of torches (+10 humor!), we did think his extreme douchiness was a little over the top. Community’s been walking a fine line with Chevy Chase recently — either marginalizing him completely or attempting to perfect the character’s balance between redeemable and Chaotic Evil. It’s a process, but we don’t think they’ve rolled enough Dexterity points to get it right as of yet.
But really, this was about the adventure, and it was a doozy: we loved Britta’s ACLU-esque relationship with the poor Gnome waiter (+100) and we may need another fortnight (British!) to recover from Annie’s Enya-esque seduction of Abed’s delicate Pegasus-shepherdess in the stable with the bedding of heather. (Was she mouthing “I pull out my huge member”? And then Troy was taking notes? +1,000!) Anyway, the villainous Pierce — who is at this point still nude yet managing to use the powers of the captured Draconis to freeze time and inflate the weight of poor Duquesne (“baste your chubby cheeks in tears of gravy!”) — is ultimately defeated when everyone pulls a Very Special Episode and uses their final turns to pity him. (Oh, Neil also rolls an impressive nineteen and throws his magic sword into the amulet. But you knew that.) At the end, Neil — recognizing a fellow unhappy outcast when he sees one — invites Pierce to play again next week. +10 for common decency. +20 for the lovingly accurate nerd humor (most of D&D really is people describing walking from place to place!). To sum up, in the words of Troy — er, Bing-Bong — Huzzah! (Is that right?)