Community: Sailing the Seas of Cheese


Beginner’s Pottery
Season 1 Episode 19

Nineteen episodes already! Our little Community is growing up fast. And since the show was recently granted a sophomore season (barely beating out the NBC’s other options for a coveted slot on its airwaves, including The Biggest Loser: SVU and the game-show Guess What’s On My Head? hosted by Paula Deen’s husband) it seems downright uncharitable to harp on the little imperfections to be found in “Beginner Pottery” — the spiderweb cracks of unnecessary pop-cultural references (“Goldblum-ing”?); the rough-edges of the great Tony Hale (Buster on Arrested Development) playing Dean Pelton 2.0; Shirley. No, none of that particularly bothered us this week, and it’s not because we live in perpetual fear of Paula Deen’s husband. So no harping ahead!

We were totally fine with “Beginner Pottery” because while it didn’t hit the zany zeniths of the past few weeks, it certainly gave us a lot of what we’ve come to enjoy most about Community: the weekly jigsaw rearranging of characters that often results in unexpected comedy; Chevy Chase crashing into things; Joel McHale singing the Righteous Brothers. But most of all it brought us sweet, sweet Troy: his one-liners alone this episode had us rolling:

• “A black person on a sailboat? I gotta see this. I’m in.”
• “Look at him christen! If that were me I would have broken the bottle.”
• “I can swim, racist.”

And, best of all, to the sight of Pierce flailing about on the mainsail: “Damn! He’s ghost-riding the jib!”

Yes, Donald Glover killed it this week, and we were grateful. Because plot-wise this was a mixed bag. The A-story was less interesting than the B: Jeff becomes frustrated (and then kind of over-the-top nutty) when a handsome, aryan doctor in his supposedly easy pottery class is actually some sort of potting-prodigy. We’d say more but we were distracted by the sight of Annie crafting an enormous phallus out of clay. We had a lot more fun with the B-plot, as Captain Shirley attempted to rally her boating crew in the parking lot (!) aboard the SS Nose Candy (!!) recently purchased in a government auction. Sometimes we’re suckers for elaborately constructed nonsense, like the hard-nosed Perfect Storm-esque decision to leave Pierce to drown in the ocean Señor Chang’s parking space. And the ex-ed out poster of Leo DiCaprio “king of the world”-ing was an inspired touch, particularly as pay-off to all of the anti-Ghost rhetoric of the pottery studio.

Did we learn much this week? Well, Troy can, indeed, swim (and gets lonely in long showers). Nobody gets out of Santa Fe without learning how to make a pot. And when in doubt, nothing — nothing! — kills like a good seamen joke (or several). A solid “pass” this week, Community. A gentleman’s “B.” Now if you’ll excuse us, there’s some hilarious guy-on-guy we have to tend to.

More Recaps:
Alan Sepinwall considered this an “off” episode.
At the AV Club, Todd VanDerWerff points out that this was originally meant to be the 14th episode. Conspiracy!

Community: Sailing the Seas of Cheese