Friday, April 4, 2014

Community - G.I. JEFF

That was awesome! Unapologetically pulling the nostalgic strings of everyone who grew up watching G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero, and guaranteeing I will buy this season on DVD, the only question anyone needs to ask about G.I. Jeff is: Is it a great episode of Community or the greatest episode of Community?

Presented almost entirely in the animation of the 80s cartoon, Jeff (Joel McHale) and the rest of the Study Group are cast as members of G.I. JOE, such as Annie (Alison Brie) as "Tight Ship" and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) as "Three Kids," who all face serious charges when Wingman does the one thing neither the JOEs nor their terrorist nemesis Cobra has ever managed to do. After Jeff kills Destro the JOEs lock up the entire group of "Mutineers" whose escape and further killing spree creates yet another first as Cobra and G.I. JOE decide to work together to take the group down. And that's how G.I. JOBRA is born!

Featuring marvelous animated recreations of several of the show's most memorable characters and vehicles, and more than a few ridiculous recreations of their own (such as "Cold Shoulder" and the Submachopter), the episode is inter-cut with kids commercials of G.I. JOE toys featuring figures of the Study Group (which I must have!) that Jeff only sees when Abed's (Danny Pudi) character "Fourth Wall" mentions Greendale. Traveling to the odd location while Cobra Commander struggles to eulogize the fallen Destro, Wingman discovers the truth that the entire animated reality is nothing more than a hallucination brought on by scotch and questionable pharmaceuticals (which itself was brought on by his 40th birthday).

Although it takes some convincing, and the discovery that boobies and whiskey aren't part of his animated reality, Wingman struggles to break free, through the toy world, and finally wakes in the hospital to his gathered friends. But the episode doesn't end without offering a PSA by Fourth Wall and Britta's (Gillian Jacobs) "Buzzkill" about teaching kids a valuable lesson about vandalism. Far better than a simple parody, Dan Harmon and his staff craft a loving tribute with a host of inside jokes (such as twins inspired by Tomax and Xamot), inspired narration and voice-acting of the JOE/Cobra regulars, and a perfect Community spin.

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