Community Review: Herstory of Dance (4.08)

Summary:

Overall Herstory of Dance feels like it fits right in the comfort zone of this season. Once again there’s an imbalance of comedy and tender moments. The episode does end on a heartwarming note but having one week to week begins to take away from the effect. The episode further delves into the study group’s romantic relationships, more so with Abed and new girl Rachel. Brie Larson brings a wonderful personality to Rachael that serves as a great on screen counterpart to Abed. The chemistry is great and it’s nice to see the writers create a romantic interest for Abed that’s not just a female version of him. With only a handful of episodes left Herstory of Dance seems like a weak foot to start on in this final stretch. 

Community returned last night from its one-week break with the airing of Herstory of Dance (4.08)! We’re down to the final stretch of episodes and there’s still a lot of ground to cover between now and then. Unfortunately last night’s episode didn’t feel like a step in the right direction.

Community Logo

The episode opens up with the group in the study room as Pierce is discussing his new love for the American version of Inspector Spacetime. The Dean interrupts the gang announcing that there will be a Sadie Hawkins Dance where the women will be the ones to invite the men. Offended by the sexist undertones Britta vows to throw her own gender equality dance to upstage the Dean. Meanwhile, Annie and Shirley decide to set Abed up with dates for the dance but Abed has plans of his own in mind.

This is the first episode of the season that really didn’t do anything for me. I was more forgiving in the earlier part of the season when the episode weren’t able to provide a steady stream of laughs but after eight episodes it’s concerning that episodes are still having a balancing issue. The episode does end on a heartwarming note but after so many of those tender moments week to week it begins to feel so formulaic. There are chuckles here and there but overall I didn’t find myself bursting out laughing. It’s still enjoyable given the wonderful talent and my interest in these characters after so many seasons.

I feel like the B plot with Annie and Shirley was a rehash of an earlier episode in season one when the gang tries to set up Abed with a mystery girl despite Abed’s reluctance. It seems redundant that the gang would try and do this again especially when Abed clearly stated he has no problem hooking up with girls, he just prefers when they approach him instead.

Community - Season 4

Strangely enough this plot line was the strongest aspect of the episode and I actually liked the pairing of Abed and Rachael, played by Brie Larson. The chemistry between the two worked really well and it was cool to see them create a character that shared enough interests without just making a girl version of Abed. I wouldn’t mind seeing Brie Larson becoming a regular for a while to flesh out this relationship a bit further, especially since after this season the group will be minus one due to the departure of Chevy Chase. More on that later.

One of my biggest worries after watching the first few episodes of season four was that Community would return to romantic driven relationships that dominated season one and it seems as though my prediction may have come true. Although the relationship between Troy and Britta may be on the back burner it seems as though the writers are trying to heat things back up again with Jeff and Britta. These two have way more chemistry than Troy and Britta but it’s a bit uneasy to watch the two flirt with each other without a mention of Troy. I like the idea that this group is a family and undercutting each other like this ruins that dynamic. They did it once in season two and it was quickly resolved. The relationships within the study group are messy and personally don’t do much for me but if this is the route the writers are going I hope that they can clear some confusion relatively soon.

A few positives this episode. Pierce returns to his wise old man status that has been dearly missed since season one. Going out of his way to help Britta with advice and support is a great change of pace for him and watching him put Jeff in his place was refreshing. It’s such a bummer to watch these last few episodes with Pierce knowing he’ll be gone after this season but I’m glad they’re giving us a great Pierce to remember before he leaves.

Britta

Pairing Shirley and Annie is always a fun experience though it does seem that the two didn’t reach their full potential this episode. Watching Britta’s struggle through the dance preparations was an easy way to connect with her this episode and the eventual payoff was rewarding. It was also nice to finally see her taking action against using her name as a verb to indicate something bad happening. It always felt like that slipped in uncontested from Britta. The episode also felt like it didn’t know what to do with Troy but the small gags he was in were chuckle worthy.

Overall Herstory of Dance feels like it fits right in the comfort zone of this season. Once again there’s an imbalance of comedy and tender moments. The episode does end on a heartwarming note but having one week to week begins to take away from the effect. The episode further delves into the study group’s romantic relationships, more so with Abed and new girl Rachel. Brie Larson brings a wonderful personality to Rachael that serves as a great on screen counterpart to Abed. The chemistry is great and it’s nice to see the writers create a romantic interest for Abed that’s not just a female version of him. With only a handful of episodes left Herstory of Dance seems like a weak foot to start on in this final stretch.

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Connect with me at:
Twitter: @Treyrs20o9
Twitter: @Think_Cinematic
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2 responses to “Community Review: Herstory of Dance (4.08)

  1. Wow, I think we’re on total opposite fronts with this one. I was ecstatic to see the whole group finally back at Greendale, Greendale-ing it up.

    The only thing that kept this episode from feeling like a Season 1 episode to me was Changnesia… and , I mean, that’s the route they’ve chosen for him this season, so there’s not much else they could have done with that.

    I’ve actually enjoyed this season about as much as I did Season 3, so far. Then, and now, there’s been too much of a focus on every last episode being “A Very Special Episode”, which is fine… but not as good as Season 1 & 2, when they used the special episodes sparingly enough that they felt special.

    • I seem to be the odd ball out on this one seeing as how the episode has received a bunch of praise all over the various social networks. I just felt like none of the jokes really hit for me. I’m still a fan of this season so far and would really love to see a season 5. So far the new crew has proved that they are capable of reaching Harmon Era status they just need to calm down a bit. Granted there has been a ton of pressure on them lately. If they can get a season 5 and a cool head I think we are in for a real treat if we make it to six seasons and a movie.

      As far as Changnesia goes I was on board with the idea and I thought they did a wonderful job making the audience believe that it was real and then wham they undid everything in that tag. Personally I would have liked to have seen that plot spread out a little more but with only 13 episodes I can see why they rushed it.

      Yeah the feel good moments are great when they’re spread apart but this season has gone back to that well way too many times to feel genuine.

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