Community “VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing” — TV EPISODE REVIEW

He really didn’t know what that was…

Community has really had a reputation for having some really strange episodes. “VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing” was one of those strange ones to me. It was just odd. The study group was split into two different stories; Abed and Annie having their own story while Jeff, Shirley, Hickey, Britta, and even Chang had their own side quest. But did it all work?

This episode had Annie and Abed get into an argument over who they want to move into their apartment. They are broke now that Troy has left the show and that third person is no longer paying rent. Abed, naturally, wants his girlfriend Rachel, played by Brie Larson (LOVE HER!), to move in. Annie wants her strange brother to move in. So they decide to play a VCR board game and the winning team’s member gets to move in. I was wondering how Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan would show up. Turns out, he was the man on the VHS tape with the board game instructions. He was very enthusiastic and funny. Yelling lines like “Yee-haw!” and “BANG!” had me laughing hysterically. That’s probably mostly just because it was Vince Gilligan.

The other story had Jeff, Shirley, and Hickey find a bunch of stolen textbooks in “mint” condition. They treat this like any other heist movie. They find a valuable item, argue over what to do with it, and then drama ensues when other people get invited into the mix. Bringing in Britta as the one with the contacts was especially funny. The music in the background made this piece work rather well, for a little bit. They were paying homage to a movie, I can tell. From what I have read online, people have been saying it was paying homage to A Simple Plan, but I haven’t seen that movie in forever so I couldn’t confirm or deny.

But I couldn’t help but feel like this episode was muddled a bit. Maybe if they focused on one of the two stories and involved everyone, it would have worked better. I don’t think either story got the necessary amount of screen time for me to call either a success. Annie’s brother was funny just because he looked extremely depressed and bored. And Abed’s girlfriend can do no wrong by me because she is Brie Larson. Have I mentioned that I love her? Because I do. Abed and her last scene was kind of cute too. And the random guy falling in front of them really made me laugh.

The episode finally mentioned the lack of Troy and the effect it is having on both roommates. Abed even went with only one “cool” instead of the usual three or four. This episode did have it’s funny moments but some of them did fall flat to me. The funniest moment by far was the opening scene with the Dean in his “Payday” candy bar outfit. His rap was rather epic. I almost cried from laughing so hard. Especially when it gets dark and he screams “I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT WAS!!!” Jim Rash is a comedic genius. Hilarious all of the time. But I am REALLY looking forward to next week’s Dungeons and Dragons sequel episode “Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons”.


+: The background music for the textbook gag

+: BRIE LARSON! She’s adorable

+: Dean Pelton’s freestyle rap…’Nuff said

+: Vince Gilligan’s surprisingly funny cameo

+: Britta’s entire role this episode

+: Abed and Rachel’s last scene


-: Shirley always being the antagonist in these situations

-: Not enough time for either stories

-: Chang constantly gets underused



C (Average)

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