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'Community' recap: Mean girl Hilary Duff

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Abed, Abed, Abed, you make such a good mean girl. Remind me to always have you on my side. Come to think of it, Señor Chang (Ken Jeong) too. The evil Chang, that is.

In a story sadly all too similar these days to real life, there's a mean-girl problem at Greendale -– namely a trio led by Meghan (very special guest star Hilary Duff). Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Annie (Alison Brie) and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) cross paths with them in a women's studies class, Feminist Representation in Media (personally, I can't imagine Meghan and Co. signing up for a course like that, unless it is required, but ...). Oh, and Abed (Danny Pudi) has tagged along to get to know his female friends better. Good thing. Turns out he's quite adept at seeing people’s flaws and weaknesses and not shy about sharing. Before you know it, Britta, Annie and Shirley have turned him loose on the campus' mean girls, much to Chang's delight. Oh, snap!

Meanwhile, Troy (Donald Glover) and Jeff (Joel McHale) are learning a thing or two about Zen and the art of tranquility maintenance. You see, they've discovered a secret garden with a magical trampoline at its center, cared for by a very hippie-like gardener named Joshua (Matt Walsh). Shhh, don’t tell anybody. After a few bounces, they're one with the universe and Jeff is sporting a pair of Uggs. In public. "It’s like wearing a pair of dreams," he tells a knowing Troy. It's all too much for Pierce (Chevy Chase), who demands to know their relaxation secrets. They refuse and sneak off to the garden for a bounce before lunch. They're too blissed out to notice that Pierce's little "DraganFlyer" -– complete with spy cam -– is following them. Soon, Pierce crashes into their Zen garden -– and the dumpster -– and the secret is out. So long, trampoline; farewell, Joshua (who, it turns out, was no hippie, but a racist). Troy and Jeff come to the conclusion that "purity that demands exclusion isn't real purity. Maybe paradise is just a lie."

That lesson could also be applied to the girls, who, in true Greendale fashion, go overboard and become the kind of women they hate. Abed too (C'mon, dissing your juice box? What'd it ever do to you?). He wises up and decides to restore the natural order, giving Meghan the tools of their downfall -– a pack of "destruct codes," as he puts it.  Soon, Meghan is dissing him publicly, again much to Chang's enjoyment, and things have pretty much settled back into their Greendale-ness. Here's hoping, though, that the mean girls learned a thing or two about themselves and will be nicer in the future. 

Extra credit: It's another edition of "Troy and Abed in the Morning." This one with "Greendale’s resident animal expert," Star-Burns (Dino Stamatopoulos), and his pet turtle. It was great to see the actors branching out from their usual groupings this week, but you can never have too much of Glover and Pudi, in this recapper's opinion. They have a fantastic chemistry, never more so than in these clever vignettes. This week’s expanded on their morning show, complete with bow tie, coffee mugs, a weather guy and even "fans" with their faces -– and signs -– pressed to the "window."  "Today" has never looked this fun.

-- Alison Dingeldein

Photo: Meghan (Hilary Duff), left, and fellow mean girl Jen (Jess Adams) on "Community." Credit: Harper Smith / NBC

 
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