2.10 Mixology Certification
Class is back on at Greendale with another important life lesson: drinking is bad. But not for the reasons you think…
Back with a new episode after the Thanksgiving break, Community turned its pop culture beacon on the coming of age drama, in its own unique way, as Troy turns becomes a man.
Having accidentally discovered on Troy’s twentieth birthday, that he is, in fact, 21 (apparently repeating fifth grade means you stay 10 for years), the gang (read Daddy Jeff and Mommy Britta) decide that, as Troy is now legal, the only way to celebrate is with copious amounts of alcohol.
After procuring a stolen ID for Annie, the only non-legal member of the group, the gang is ready to party. Well, sort of. In Community‘s world, when a group of friends go out drinking, they might arrive together, but they’ll spend the evening drinking alone. There are a couple of exceptions: two of them don’t drink at all.
Shirley, it turns out, had something of a bar habit back in the day, and spends her evening hiding the evidence of her drunken exploits before storming out, and, despite it being the reason for the field trip, Troy never gets that first legal drink. In the Community-verse, coming of age is nothing but a dawning realisation that nothing is fun.
Instead of the drunken, debauched shenanigans generally associated with a football player turning 21, poor Troy gets to play Daddy for the night, shepherding home the wasted remnants of his beloved study group: Annie suffering a personality crisis, Abed lost after a sci-fi conversation led to a drink in the face, and Jeff and Britta at their combative and annoying best.
Frankly, it’s the worst twenty-first ever, and they should all be ashamed. No wonder Troy now considers alcohol to be the Lifetime Movies of beverages. Having said that, by concentrating on the downbeat, (and for a comedy, this is definitely downbeat), we’re given a few more hints at who these people really are.
Shirley, in particular ,is proving very interesting, indeed. Divorce, drunken past, Chang-love, pregnancy scare, so far, she’s the only character with anything approaching a life. Even Pierce’s role in the episode was downbeat. Stuck in the doorway to the club, in an electric wheelchair with a dead battery, he’s forced to finally ask for some of that help he’s been refusing for weeks. He didn’t even get into the bar. However, it also meant that he wasn’t really in the episode, which can only be a good thing. Even with all the drugs, somehow Pierce is worse than ever.
Despite the coming of age depression, the episode did find time for some excellent sci-fi references: a particularly in-depth Farscape discussion and a fantastic throwaway line involving Stargate, proof, if any were still needed, of where this show’s heart really lies.
Life lessons are all very well, but what it really wants to tell you is how good Farscape is, and that’s a large part of what makes Community is so good.
It’s also nice to see a Troy-centric episode. It’s about time we got to know Troy outside of his bromance with Abed. As part of the nerdy duo, we’ve really only seen him in a comedy light, and Mixology Certification gave us a chance to see him as more than just Abed’s soul mate.
While this week’s Greendale visit might have been a little more downbeat than usual, what it lacked in out and out laughs, it more than made up for with its warmth. Clearly, the writing and acting teams are really starting to gel, and it definitely shows. No flashy guest stars, no TV-land stunts,just great writing. Troy learns that his parents are human, and forgives them. Who says TV is dumb?
Read our review of episode 9, Conspiracy Theories And Interior Design, here.
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