COMMUNITY 3.19 ‘Curriculum Unavailable’

"The Dean has been kidnapped! He's out there somewhere cold, alone, most likely trying to cobble together a sexy Patty Hearst costume."

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Curriculum Unavailable"

Writer: Adam Countee

Director: Adam Davidson

This week's episode of "Community" jumps ahead two months after the former Greendale 7 were kicked out of their beloved community college. As such, they are all completely unaware of "Operation Doppel-Deaner," as Chang (Ken Jeong) calls it.

That is everyone except Abed (Danny Pudi), who has become convinced that the Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) who helped kick them out of school was an impostor. So Abed donned his Inspector Spacetime costume and went off to rummage through Greendale's garbage to find the proof. Although the police officer returning Abed to his apartment is relatively tolerant of Abed's Spacetime persona, he passes on a note from the Dean insisting that Abed get some psychological help in exchange for staying out of jail.

Since Abed would never go to therapy himself, the entire group accompanies him to see the Dean's recommended therapist, Dr. Heidi (John Hodgman). Almost immediately, Britta (Gillian Jacobs) seems to thing that her two and a half years of Psychology studies make her a colleague of Dr. Heidi's instead of Abed's support system. And every time the group tries to demonstrate that Abed isn't crazy, it only makes him look worse. Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) relates Abed's sudden outburst towards her for daring to praise Brett Ratner as the next Spielberg, Pierce (Chevy Chase) reveals that Abed began narrating his life and more disturbingly, Annie (Alison Brie) shares the story about Abed filming her while she sleeps.

Even Troy (Donald Glover) has something damaging to add when he describes Abed's freak-out over Daylight Savings Time. Nor is the former study group any better at making themselves appear to be sane, with an amusing Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) moment of chivalry followed by narcissism, Britta's wild peyote experience and Troy's mistaken belief that a karate trophy gave him martial arts skills.  

As Dr. Heidi seems to be on the verge of having them all locked up, the study group reaches some surprising conclusions in their memories from episodes that were never before seen on the show itself. The Dean was a common denominator in all of the flashbacks as he disguised himself as a janitor to save them the last slices of pizza, alerted them to a fire before anyone else and shooed away a female student for wearing the same outfit as Annie. Weird as it sounds, the Dean loves the entire study group… although he never passes up a chance to touch Jeff.

This moment of clarity causes the study group to realize that the Dean would never have kicked them out and that Abed was right all along. But that's when Dr. Heidi drops a bombshell: there is no Greendale. Or rather, there is a Greendale, but it's a mental institution and not a college. The experiences of the last two and a half seasons of television has been nothing but a shared delusion between them.

The mental institution flashbacks were some of the most hilarious moments of the entire season. Although the callbacks to previous episodes probably weren't effective for anyone who hasn't been watching "Community" regularly, I died laughing at the "real" magic trampoline and the fake Garrett's decision to confiscate one of the group's pens, as seen in one of last season's episodes. Another comedic highlight of the episode was the look at some of Greendale's other classes, including topics such as ladders, frying, holding your breath and baby talk. Also, live chess between Greendale and City College for parking spaces at a job fair.

Despite the rather flimsy nature of Dr. Heidi's tale, the group nearly buys into it… until they realize that they have more than enough proof that Greendale is real in their cell phone pictures. The fake Dr. Heidi's attempt to recast himself as the Devil in their afterlives was amusing before he admitted to working for Chang. And while they let Heidi get away while sharing another group flashback, they now have a mission: retake Greendale from Chang and his child arm. Oh and rescue the Dean, who as Britta suggests may be enjoying his captivity a little bit too much.

The arc for this story has been good so far, but it's hard to see how they'll be able to keep Chang on the show and out of jail by the end of it. I know that these characters live in a ridiculous comedy world, but I'm reasonably sure that what Chang did is still against the law… and pretty unforgivable. Although, I loved it when Heidi pointed out that most Community colleges end after two years, while Greendale apparently has a four year program.

Paintball also briefly made a comeback in gangster-noir style, which someone later referred to in a metatextual statement by saying that they don't need to do paintball again. Yes, you do, Dan Harmon! Yes, you do…

The ending scene of the episode was also hysterical as Troy and Abed branched out their morning show into "Troy and Abed in the Morning… Nights!" Trobed also had an amusingly angry reaction to Annie's earlier attempt to rebrand their fake show into "Troy and Abed and Annie in the Morning!" Although to be honest, I would totally watch "Troy and Abed and Annie in the Morning!"  or "Troy and Abed in the Morning… Nights!".