Warning: This review features a pretty major plot spoiler, please watch the episode before reading the full review otherwise don’t read past the summary.
Overall Advanced Documentary Filmmaking is another solid episode coming off last week’s extremely strong episode. Although this episode isn’t a comedy powerhouse it still featured some great bits, especially with Troy and Annie, and Shirley and Britta. Ken Jeong featured a very strong performance this episode and produced an awesome scene between Kevin and Jeff. It almost feels like a step back for Jeff this episode with the way he perceived the group but his plot resolution works well enough to redeem him.
Changnesia has been the teasing point for all of the promotional trailers for the fourth season of Community. The first episode left us with a nice little cliffhanger and then the plot line disappeared for two episodes. It was teased one more time before we finally got to the episode dedicated to it. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while, mainly because I was curious to see how it was all going to be pulled off. After last season’s appearance of Chang as a mad dictator I just couldn’t see the gang or Greendale buying into this strange illness. However, Advanced Documentary Filmmaking (4.06) may have just made me a believer of Changnesia.
The episode opens up with the definition of Changnesia and a few testimonials from various people including Chang and Dean Pelton. The entire episode is a documentary homage, shot by Abed, which follows the study group as they try to convince the MacGuffin Institute to award the school grant money for the aide in Kevin’s (formerly Chang) recovery. Jeff is the only one who doesn’t buy into the ‘sickness’ and aims to prove Chang a fraud and everyone else wrong.
Last night’s episode featured a lot of great visual humor such as “rent memento” on Kevin’s arm as well as the name tags in front of each character’s testimonial. The highlight of the episode was the pairing of Troy and Annie as they did some investigation work on the cause of Kevin’s Changnesia. Although it felt like Annie’s new interest in forensics seemed to have come out of left field I am enjoying her new interest and it seems to fit her personality well. Shirley and Britta’s bit at Shirley’s Sandwiches was also another great moment and featured a fantastic exchange between the two actresses. Almost carrying over from last week’s episode Pierce felt great for the first 10 minutes of the episode but quickly devolved back to his racist butt of the joke humor. It’s getting almost uncomfortable to see how much disgust Chevy Chase is emitting on screen and I fear it’ll only get worse from here. Advanced Documentary Filmmaking may not have been a powerhouse of comedy but it still managed to be an incredibly interesting episode.
I have been going back and forth on whether or not I believed Changnesia was real or just another ploy by Chang to be accepted into the study group. I could see him faking for nefarious purposes, and I could also see him being honest only to regain his memory again down the road. The episode worked extremely hard to disprove the skeptics and it does a fantastic job of it. This episode featured some strong performances from Ken Jeong and an fantastic exchange between Kevin and Jeff. The scene alone sold me on the fact that his Changnesia is in fact real and I was excited to see Kevin integrated back into Greendale. I miss the early days of Chang before he was used as a completely insane evil villain and just a mildly insane jerk of a Spanish teacher. If Changnesia is the way to bring a saner Kevin/Chang back into Greendale I’m ready to welcome it with open arms.
Only, there’s one minor problem. Last night’s tag pretty much undid everything the episode worked hard to accomplish by revealing to the audience that nothing has changed. Chang is still evil and he finally has all of Greendale convinced that he has lost his memory. Although I’m still interested in the direction this season is going I can’t help but feel a little cheated that this reveal was done so quickly. They spent so much timing hyping up this plot line, doing a fantastic job of convincing us that it’s real, only to feature it and do away with it in one episode. I understand the short episode order is largely to blame but I would have like to have seen the reveal written a little later down the road. My only hope is that they don’t go completely off the rails with Chang, like they did in season three, and somehow Chang will find some redemption.
Overall Advanced Documentary Filmmaking is another solid episode coming off last week’s extremely strong episode. Although this episode isn’t a comedy powerhouse it still featured some great bits, especially with Troy and Annie, and Shirley and Britta. Ken Jeong featured a very strong performance this episode and produced an awesome scene between Kevin and Jeff. It almost feels like a step back for Jeff this episode with the way he perceived the group but his plot resolution works well enough to redeem him. If I had to place my finger on what’s going wrong in the eyes of most critics this season, I’d have to say it’s the fact that there’s an imbalance of comedy within the episodes. As a fan of the show I’ve grown extremely attached to these character and being able to see them interact is enough to satisfy me, but as I take a step back I can see how imbalanced the humor has been this season. Hopefully this new revelation with Chang will provide more avenues for jokes in the remaining episodes.
Community airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC! Check out last night’s episode here on Hulu!
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