I love Community. It’s one of those shows that feels like there is some relationship between you, like you are friends (on some insane cosmic level), mainly because it makes you feel like it is talking to you, like it is laughing with you, like it knows you. This episode reminded me of that, but not for the most obvious reasons.
In fact, For a Few Paintballs More squeezed out fewer laughs from me than usual, and I would not consider it one of the most mind-blowing episodes of Community ever.
That does not mean I did not enjoy it, though. I did, but not in the way that one enjoys watching a movie or having a new experience – I enjoyed it in the way one enjoys hearing a friend talk about a movie, or recount their new experiences. I felt as if Community was talking to me about something they love, and because of that, because of their enthusiasm and daring in telling the story they wanted to tell, I cannot help but appreciate all of it, and be pulled in just the same.
So, the great culprit for this madness of a paintball game is none other than City College, Greendale’s archenemy, head by the delightfully evil Dean Spreck. I really like seeing the two deans play off against each other, since they’re completely insane in drastically different ways. I would really love to see a flashback episode on their rivalry – it would be a great excuse to bring back the chemistry between Dean Spreck and Dean Pelton. And, yes – that last sentence was meant to be ambiguous.
Apparently, City College’s evil plan is to demolish Greendale from the inside out, and basically sponsor the competition that would destroy the Greendale campus in its course. By this point the school has already been trashed, so the main objective now for the Human Beings is to win the paintball game, and donate the $100,000 they had been promised to Greendale so that the damage to the school could be repaired.
General greatness ensues, as they plan to defeat City College by drawing the Troopers from the paintball gatling gun and into the library. This would allow Troy (heading Operation: Troy’s Awesome Plan) to rig the sprinkler system so that it would douse paint on anyone in the library, Jeff (heading Operation: Actual Operation) to storm the Pistol Patty’s van, and allow everyone to look awesome doing so.
Of course, things do not go as planned – Jeff’s team is no match for the numbers against them, while Troy’s escape route is blocked by Gareth (literally). Troy decides to sacrifice all the men in the library – but Shirley has other plans, and escapes through the front door after pulling the fire alarm. After rescuing Britta from a tight spot using a Greendale golf cart (they have those?), they practically do a drive-by on every Storm Trooper in sight. Britta is shot, but Shirley survives – until she is hit by two remaining Troopers, or three, as one more joins the high-fiving duo. But wait – it’s Pierce! He shoots the two dumbstruck goons, gives the prize money to Greendale, and Dean Pelton faints.
That’s basically it, but the charm of Community, as I have said, is how they manage to fit in the characters’ stories into the context of the episode. Take Jeff and Troy for example – when they butt heads in taking the leadership of the Greendale counter-assault, I feel echoes in their dynamic from Mixology Certification. At the end, when Jeff asks Troy to make his suggestion on the class the group should take together, you can see the two men respecting each other – all because of the day’s events.
Even Abed and Annie get their share, as their story takes the pretty surprising form of a little flirtation throughout the episode. Although it is pretty funny seeing Abed-as-Han-Solo making passes at Annie, the whole thing is strikingly similar to the Abed-as-Don-Draper scene in Physical Education, and even recalls the Abed-as-elf-maiden and Annie-as-Hector-the-Well-Endowed fantasy sex scene in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. It makes you wonder at how these characters tick. Why is Annie attracted to the guys that seem unavailable (also known as All the Guys in the Study Group That is Not Pierce, at varying points in time)? If Abed can only interact with others when he is playing a role, does that mean that, if this condition were stripped away, he would pursue Annie? It sets up a new pairing for sure, and allows Alison Brie and Danny Pudi to play on their inherent chemistry, but it also lets our characters have more dimensions to them, and that is ALWAYS a good thing.
Most importantly, Pierce, the character in most need of revival from the stock types we have seen from him this season, gets his voice heard and his side explained. We learn that he has been a Greendale student for twelve years, and that he views the school as the only place that has accepted him (thus explaining the completely non-dickish move of giving Greendale the hundred thousand dollars). We also learn that he has the tendency to push people away, and although this falls slightly into the exposition category, the fact that he mentions his wives makes the statement more of a self-awareness kind of thing. These bits of information make his eventual decision to leave the group clearer – in my opinion, he feels like he is going to be left behind a lot, so he has a greater tendency (some would say ability) to move on. This choice sets up a whole new realm of possibilities for the show’s third season, but I have a feeling that we will not be seeing Pierce any less come fall.
Overall, even though I may not have enjoyed the second part of the finale as much as I did the first, it was still fantastic and very interesting. I’ll surely be back for more of this come September.
- I guess Dean Pelton was really hard to find, as For a Few Paintballs More starts a few hours after A Fistful of Paintballs ends.
- Is Red-haired Guy the dude that snapped a picture of Slater’s ass back in Season 1?
- I got a newfound appreciation for Dean Pelton this episode – he’s panicking, he got hit by a LOT of paintballs (at least, that’s what they’re making it seem like), and his first words are “Hi, Pistol Patty… Did they take you hostage?” It’s crazy.
- The Pistol Patty costume must have a voice-changer thingamajig somewhere – I just can’t imagine Dean Spreck making the voice we heard in A Fistful of Paintballs.
- Jim Rash is consistently stealing the show with the slightest of things – in this episode, it is a sigh.
- Abed’s got a point – Jeff would obviously be Han Solo by default.
- Magnitude’s dive to shield everybody from the paint bomb is really cool.
- There’s some kind of sight gag with the flags. That’s all I can say.
- Damn, Alison Brie is hot AND awesome. That’s pretty rare, folks.
- When Abed goes into a role, he really goes into a role doesn’t he? He even gets Han Solo’s affectations and shooting stance – props to the brilliant Danny Pudi.
- Nice callback to Troy’s super plumbing skills.
- I knew somebody would do the shoot-bullets-to-get-everyone’s-attention thing.
- Dean Pelton looks pretty happy when he learns (falsely from Pierce) that Jeff wants to be a ballerina.
- Quendra with a “Qu” is here? WOW.
- No war scene is ever complete without an inspirational speech from a character about to die.
- Or a really awesome quip from someone about to become riddled with bullet holes/paint splats.
- Donald Glover’s shaking while getting shot was really unbelievably funny.
- Pierce’s faking a heart attack thing is really effective, wouldn’t you agree? Plus, the City College people (or at least the guys Dean Spreck brought along) have a similar reaction to it: “Hey, buddy, are you okay?”
- Can it be possible to look hot when you’re covered in orange paint? Apparently yes – it is when you’re Alison Brie.
- Shirley says “Aw, we win!” in the same manner as when she says “Aw, that’s nice!”
- Laurie and Travis are Human Beings, too!
- Aren’t there crystals that act as deodorants?
- The awesome janitor is back, just in time to witness Abed’s lack of sarcasm-detection skills.
- “That doesn’t make sense – why would someone who gets paid to do things be at Greendale?”
- “Hello, Craig.”
- “But if you need to explain it to your men, I would understand.”
- “How could a dean be so mean?”
- “Oh, you haven’t seen how mean this dean can be… ean.”
- “You’re the worst!” “Okay, she is just saying that to fit in.”
- “First off, POP POP!”
- “Give me the vest, Laser Breath – before our conversation gets nasty.”
- “Dammit, Shirley! Forget about your newborn child and think about the people that need you!”
- “Pop…” “Pop? Pop what? Pop what?! WHAT IS HE TRYING TO SAY – POP WHAT?!?”
- “Those guys are ballers, yo. I hope you like getting balled.”
- “‘For Greendale’ on three. One… Two…” “Jeff, every second counts. ‘For Greendale’ on two.”
- “Our sperm counts are higher – EVEN IN OUR WOMEN.”
- “Welcome to Greendale.” “You’re already dead.”
- “You like me because I’m immature. There’s not enough immaturity in your life.”
- “I hope I don’t get shot out here. I’d hate to go home to my babies.”
- “I do happen, Jeff. I happen VERY MUCH.”
- “I don’t take orders from girls – because they don’t talk to me!”
- “Everyone look alive – Leonard, good enough.”
- “One… Two…” “VICKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!”
- “Can we move this along? I’m missing CSI.”
- “CHAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!” <gets shot> “Well, I’m out. We lost.”
- “Britta, I’ve been in a few real wars, but this one is actually the most terrifying.”
- “I had a dream it would end this way.”
- “Will you still be Han Solo after we die?” “‘Fraid not, doll – once I’m gone, I’m gone.”
- “Who are you?” “Your mother’s lover!”
- “Too risky – sequels are almost always disappointing.”
- “I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I’ve decided we should sleep on it.”
- “I’ve seen this behavior before. In cats. My cats.”
- “Doing anything fun for this summer?” “No plans.”