Can Jim Rash write all of the Community episodes? We all know that the man behind Dean Pelton has won an Oscar for his writing on the film The Descendants, so it’s no surprise that his debut Community episode, “Basic Human Anatomy”, would be so damn good. Of course, he has the benefit of being one of the main cast members and thus a true understanding of each character’s voice.
This was the most enjoyable episode of season 4 to date, one that will surely go down inCommunity history as a classic (much like “Remedial Chaos Theory”). The characters were themselves again, not recycled versions of their former characterizations; everyone acted as I would have wanted them to in any given situation: Jeff as a thoughtful egomaniac, Dean Pelton with as many naughty versions of “Jeff was inside of me” as he can muster, Annie and Shirley bickering, Troy and Abed committing to a bit, and even Britta, the way too understanding now-ex-girlfriend of Troy.
While I’m sad to see Pierce being slowly swept away his character seemed to naturally fade into the background of “Basic Human Anatomy” more readily than in former episodes. I felt like he owned every small line he was given.
Most importantly, there is of course the Freaky Friday bit, which was perfectly executed by Danny Pudi and Donald Glover. I never felt that the dynamic duo forced the character’s voices too much or that I was watching any kind of bad acting. I think, to the best of any actor’s ability, each played the other’s character spot on and with relative ease. Of course, I have no idea how many takes were filmed or how difficult the dialogue actually was to master but I saw absolutely no problems with the delivery (I’m especially impressed with Glover).
While I didn’t much care with an aside of the B-plot, Annie being attracted to Dean Pelton as he gallivanted around the school as though Jeff were inside him, Jim Rash’s ability to mimic the Jeff character was also shockingly spot-on.
Finally, the A-plot had real heart and power for me as a long-time viewer. I hadn’t realized until now that it was the heart of Community that I have been missing in season 4. Because everyone feels so recycled, not only has each character lost his or her evolved voice, but also the emotion that each brought to the show. Troy breaking up with Britta, however, was a reminder that the series has a soft and gooey emotional center that used to keep us fans coming back for more.