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"Community" Advanced Criminal Law (2009)

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In honor of "Community"- a review of every episode. (S1;E05- "Advanced Criminal Law")

Author: MaximumMadness from United States
21 June 2014

(This is the fifth part in an ongoing series, in which I am writing brief reviews of each and every episode of Dan Harmon's beloved cult- comedy "Community.")

"Advanced Criminal Law" is one of those necessary episodes that comes early during the run of many shows. One of those episodes that has a lot of laughs, but unfortunately almost feels "paint-by-numbers." By that, I mean it's an episode that is created more-or-less to just "shake up" the situations so we can further understand and establish characters and motivations. It's something that needs to be done, but it can run the risk of feeling ho-hum or too "basic."

Thankfully, the fantastic writing and fun performances are able to keep the episode afloat, and stop if from feeling stale.

When Britta (Gillian Jacobs) is caught cheating on one of Professor Chang's (Ken Jeong) exams, she is forced into a courtroom-like situation that will determine the discipline and consequences she must face. Jeff (Joel McHale) steps in to act as her "lawyer" during the hearing. Meanwhile, Annie (Alison Brie) enlists Pierce (Chevy Chase) to write a new anthem for Greendale Community College. However, Pierce soon realizes that he's incapable of writing an original song, causing him much distress.

In a "B-storyline", Abed (Danny Pudi) attempts to "mess with" Troy (Donald Glover). However, this leads to awkward and even somewhat eerie results, due to Abed's over-exaggerated and over-elaborate attempts at "messing with" Troy.

The acting is solid all around. While it is relegated to the B-story, I particularly admired Abed and Troy's role in the episode, as they do a good job at hammering-home how disconnected Abed is from what could be considered "the normal." Gillian Jacobs also shines in her story, and further establishes herself as my favorite character in the series.

The humor is also quite tight (save for a few awkward jokes), the pacing is good... and we even get the first (quite humorous) appearance of Leonard (Richard Erdman), an elderly troublemaker who will go on to become one of the best supporting characters of the series.

While it's not perfect, this is still a fairly strong episode. And for what it is, it easily earns a very good 8 out of 10.

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