Hi, friends! myr_soleil is helping a couple of guys clean brains and blood from the backseat of a car, so you'll have to put up with me this week. I told htbthomas that I'd have it up in the late afternoon, and while it's true that 9:00 CST is considerably after noon, that's not really what I meant. Oh well.
- Just for a change, let's start with the one wholly negative review, that of Matt Richenthal of TV Fanatic, which opens, "Well, that just wasn't funny at all." He also criticized it for its lack of subtlety, and for failing to tell us anything new about the characters.
- Michelle St. James of Daemon's TV, on the other hand, said the episode proved Community "is one of the most intelligent, nuanced, and, yes, funniest shows on television." And she loved Abed's long monologue about visiting the Cougar Town set: "Superficially deep but ridiculous on its face, this is one of the silliest, most surreal and yet incredibly meaningful meandering speeches Community has ever attempted. Amazingly, it works perfectly."
- Todd VanDerWerff of the Onion AV Club also loved Abed's monologue. "I started laughing at Abed’s lengthy speech about visiting the Cougar Town set and becoming a character named Chad simply because I couldn’t believe the show was DOING this, having one character deliver a monologue—completely straight-faced—that was so silly for such a long time." He gave the episode an A, but ma nishtana.
- Maggie Furlong of TV Squad called the twist (unintentional though it may have been on the part of the production staff) of promoting the episode as a Pulp Fiction spoof but spending more time on an homage to My Dinner with Andre "the most genius part" of the episode. She also though dressing Pierce as the Gimp was "pure genius."
- The X-Files Reviews by the TV Obsessed gave the episode a rating of 9.3 out of 10, calling "a touching glimpse of Jeff and Abed."
- Kona Gallagher of CliqueClack calls Abed's Cougar Town story "definitely one of my favorite TV moments of the year. Pudi absolutely nailed it and should get 100 Emmy’s [sic] for his performance."
- Alan Sepinwall of HitFix.com was "kind of troubled" in the interval between Jeff learning that his dinner with Abed had been an homage and Jeff and Abed's later conversation at the diner, wondering if giving Abed's character such a dramatic twist and then yanking it away was too much of a cheat and whether it was a good idea to build such a dark, relatively jokeless episode around someone as emotionally remote as Abed. "But that final Jeff/Abed scene turned me around, I think. ... Abed's emotions are buried, but he has them, just like Data and Spock and so many other characters he listed did ... and can take an extraordinary effort on the part of both his friends and the creative team that controls his adventures, and I think both groups reached the gooey center of Abed this week."
- Drew Stewart of Television Blend wrote, "this is an episode that perfectly exemplifies all the best aspects of Community:" pop culture references aplenty, serious character moments broken up with poop jokes, and "Britta looking way hot with Uma Thurman hair." He didn't mind that it wasn't as funny as it sometimes has been: "I’ll take an episode like this any day – we can always laugh next week."
- Jace Lacob of Televisionary called the episode "brilliant and moving" in a review that is so full of interesting observations and quotable lines that I'm not even going to try to choose from among them. Just go read it.
- Daniel Carlson of Houston Press's Art Attack blog writes, "''Critical Film Studies' crushed it on just about every level last night." This is another one that is difficult to summarize with just a line or two. Makes sense that an episode as complex as this one would result in a large number of thoughtful, hard-to-summarize reviews.
- Alison Dingeldein of Los Angeles Times's ShowTracker Blog praised the show's "clever, clever writers." (Oddly, though, she makes no mention of the credited writer, Sona Panos.) "Who else would even consider weaving two such different films together into one coherent whole?"
- Kelsea Stahler of hollywood.com called last night's episode "a perfect example of why the viewership is so modest," but claimed it as one of her favorite episodes of the show. "What I loved about this was that while it seemed that it was the same old Abed, we still really saw the tender, true friendship between him and Jeff. Even though it was all fake – it was an homage – we still got to see these characters as real people with real emotions."
- Lastly, Andy Greenwald of Vulture calls the episode "in many ways ... the most daring half-hour the show has attempted yet," and admits, "honestly, we’re not sure if we’re scratching our head in delight or despair ... but, good or bad, it must be said: This episode was ballsier than a game of bombardment at a Rocky Mountain oyster festival."
Ratingswise, the episode pulled its usual 1.8/6. I think that's reasonably impressive, given that it was up against the regional semifinals of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.