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'Community' recap: Happy birthday, Troy!

Well, well, well -- it’s Troy’s 20th birthday. Make that the 20th anniversary of his expulsion from a uterus. Troy (Donald Glover) is a Jehovah’s Witness, you see, and doesn’t celebrate his birthday. Still, there’s presents, a bit of “Happy Birthday” and even a cake, which Pierce (Chevy Chase) proceeds to destroy while claiming that it was his birthday last week and that nobody made a big deal about it. They convince him he had a wild party, and he goes along with it. Ha.

Annie (Alison Brie) starts reading facts about Troy’s birthday, that he was born on Dec. 4, that he shares it with Tyra Banks, Marisa Tomei and French cinematographer Claude Renoir, and that he, like Annie, is a horse. Troy corrects her to say, nope, he’s a snake, born in 1989. Which means he’s 21. Which can mean only one thing. Party!

Troy’s down with a trip to a bar for his first legal alcoholic beverage -- “I want to bathe in manhood” --  while Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and the underage Annie are not, but they go along anyway. Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) bicker about which bar to take Troy to (These two are particularly bickersome tonight … must be something in the air), a fake ID is acquired for Annie (Caroline Decker from Corpus Christi, Texas) and they’re off. One closed bar, telephone argument and Jeff pep talk (“Troy, you’re entering the next chapter of your life. Sadly, it’s the final chapter, but it’s also the longest. And if you play it right, the best. You and I, we’re just two guys now. Peers. Equals.) later, they arrive at the Ballroom. Much to Shirley’s chagrin. Turns out she knows it well.

Annie doesn’t just pretend to be Caroline Decker from Corpus Christi, Texas; she becomes Caroline Decker from Corpus Christi, Texas, fake accent and all. And rolls with it. Growing up on a trout farm (What? Not a catfish farm?), punching out her probation officer,  following Phish around. Just call her Capricious Caroline. “Plans just fall off me like chicken crap off an armadillo.”  Hot damn!

While Troy ponders what to order -- beer? a Seven and Seven like his favorite uncle favored? -- Shirley cruises the bar, looking for incriminating photos of herself from her drinking days, and Abed (Danny Pudi) goes off to play Asteroids. Where he’s hit on by a geeky guy. Abed ignores the signs -- he’s way more interested in discussing his favorite sci-fi show in great detail (“I really, really like talking about ‘Farscape’ ”). And gets a drink in the face for his efforts.
Shirley comes face to face with her past -- a poster Britta’s plucked from the bathroom featuring a very drunk Shirley and the legend, “If you look like this, call a cab.” Muttering, “I had some bad years, with a chaser,” she stalks out, where she finds Pierce stuck in the bar’s entrance, with a dead battery on his wheelchair. She takes pity on him, and takes him home.

Back at the bar, it’s nearly midnight. Troy looks around, sees a sad Abed and Annie and a still bickering Britta and Jeff, and decides to call it a night. Next thing you know, Troy’s behind the wheel of Jeff’s hot car (Now, that’s a much better birthday present!). Jeff and Britta start bickering again -- this time over the name of a bar. Turns out they've been talking about the same bar, just calling it different names, which sets Troy off: “I just spent the last two years thinking that you guys knew more than me about life, and I just found out that you guys are just as dumb as me.” Da doy! Welcome to adulthood, Troy.

And with adulthood come some extra smarts too, apparently -- Troy gets all philosophical and wise when he walks Annie to her apartment door. Annie too. Sweet.

Sweetness, meanwhile, is not what’s going on in the back seat of the car, where Jeff and Britta are playing tonsil hockey. If you can’t fight ’em, make out with ’em, I guess.  Unwilling witness Abed rats them out, and is chastised by Troy. Turns out Troy may be the most grown up of them all.

Or maybe not. This week’s extra credit finds Troy and Abed setting a T-shirt record  -- just because they can. By the time Troy’s squeezed into No. 157 -– an XXXL Uncle Rusty’s burger shirt, he can barely breathe, much less move around. And that’s when his phone starts ringing. “Hurry, I think it’s a girl,” he urges the rooting Abed. Kids.

Overall, a pretty good episode. A few secrets were revealed, especially where Shirley was concerned. Now, is she pregnant or not? As to Annie … a complete 180 from the gun-wielding Annie of a few weeks ago when her pens went missing (or was that just the root beer talking?). And who knew Troy had such surprisingly deep thoughts? And then there’s Jeff and Britta, the 21st century's Bickering Bickersons.  

Be sure to catch next week's episode -- an early Christmas present for "Community" fans.

-- Alison Dingeldein

Photo: Britta (Gillian Jacobs) shows off a bit of incriminating evidence. Jeff (Joel McHale), center, and Troy (Donald Glover) are equally amused. Credit: Jordin Althaus / NBC

Comments () | Archives (3)

I really enjoyed last night's show...Nice to see an episode that furthered the characters, instead of lampooning the very genre in which they exist.

One small complaint: Alison Brie's "Texan" accent made her voice more unbearable than usual to take. Very attractive girl, but something in the general tone of her speech is very hard to listen to. Maybe it's just me....I thought it was a put-on affect when I first saw her on "Mad Men." Guess not....

I was surprised at Jeff and Britta making out in the car, especially since so much of this season seems to foreshadow Jeff and Annie becoming a pair. The bed sheets falling on them in last week's chapter seemed particularly telling.

Good episode, but not the best. I am super excited for next week's claymation episode though! Only Community would be willing to do this, and only they will be able to pull it off

I agree -- not one of their best eps this season, but still pretty good. One of the things I liked about it was that there was only one story line, involving the entire cast.

Annie's fake Texas accent was VERY grating! My God, could it have been pitched any higher? None of my relatives in Texas talk that high. They twang, but in normal pitches ... but I guess that was the point ... still, I kept hoping there'd be a Texan in the bar who'd call her out on it. I guess that would have been too obvious, esp. for "Community."

However, in the obvious department, with all that bickering between Jeff and Britta, you just knew they were going to end up in a lip lock. Alcohol and a love-hate relationship are a lethal combination. Poor Abed! It kind of surprised me, since I too thought the writers have been leading up to a Jeff and Annie relationship (esp. after the two J& A bits in the blanket/conspiracy ep. Perhaps they're just toying with shippers? Or is Jeff still working Britta out of his system, and then it's on to Annie?

About Pierce ... I'm not a big fan of his character, but does anybody else think Chevy Chase is not being used to his fullest abilities?

Next week's episode looks like it's going to be a keeper!


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