Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Community - Ladders

The first episode of the show's Sixth Season introduces Paget Brewster as Francesca "Frankie" Dart, a consultant brought in to join the Save Greendale Committee following the latest Greendale fiasco when the cafeteria roof collapses under the weight of one too many Frisbees. Starting out its first online season without half the original cast leaves the show feeling early on like a shadow of its former self but a ludicruous underground speakeasy later and its clear that the show is in good hands with Dan Harmon back behind the helm.

Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) earns a cameo in the post credit sequence, related to the ridiculous spin-off the former Greendale student now finds herself starring in, while Britta (Gillian Jacobs) steps in to take over her friend's struggling sandwich shop. The decreasing ethnic make-up of the core group doesn't go unnoticed, as Harmon pokes fun at the loss of his two African-American stars, but the situation (while heartily lampooned) isn't successfully rectified by the end of the episode.

The loss of Pierce, Troy, and now Shirley is certainly felt throughout the episode although Frankie's introduction as a new type of friend for Abed (Danny Pudi) opens new possibilities to explore. "Ladders" isn't one the show's best episodes but there are moments of wacky insanity (such as the class which the episode takes its name, the drunken riot near the end, and the secret meetings of what remains of the Greendale Seven) that still hearken back to those episodes reminding us, somewhat sadly, of how good the show was in its prime.

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