Community season 2 episode 5 review: Messianic Myths And Ancient People

Back in class for another lesson in the art of funny, Emma checks out the latest episode of Community...

2.5 Messianic Myths And Ancient People

After last week’s space-themed shenanigans, the superb Community was back this week with perhaps its strangest episode ever. Messianic Myths And Ancient People, does exactly what is says on the tin. Yup, it’s the religious episode.

Thanks to the Anthropology lecturer’s heavy reliance on YouTube as a mirror on humanity, the devout Shirley decides that all Christianity needs to be relevant to today’s youth is a cool viral. Having given it some thought, and despite his Islamic leanings, Shirley settles on Abed as the filmmaker of choice, and unwittingly unleashes his inner messiah.

Initially reluctant, a quick skim through the New Testament is enough to convince the movie geek that what the world needs is a religious movie for the post post-modern generation. Cue an immediate transformation into the new messiah, complete with leather trousers and fright wig.

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What follows is the Passion of Abed, and the meta episode to end all meta episodes. With the entire college enraptured by his filmmaking prowess and consider the lily attitude, everyone is in agreement with Britta: they don’t believe in God, but they loves them some Abed. And it’s left to Shirley to literally crash the messianic party. If only they’d had baseball bats 2000 years ago. With more film references than ever before, and a we hate Charlie Kauffman motif, Messianic Myths is clearly not your typical Community episode.

Essentially a two-hander between Abed and Shirley, or Christianity and Islam, the main arc has lots to say about humanity’s sheep-like tendencies, godlessness, and our willingness to embrace anyone who wears leather trousers (surely the only reason Criss Angel has a career). But mostly, it’s an excuse for as much Abed as you can handle.

From the handy costume change to the almost profound spoutings of an egomaniac, the many faces of Abed are all present and correct and, as always, it’s a joy. Also, he looks surprisingly good in the wig.

When Abed realises that his meta-messiah movie is the biggest piece of crap ever produced (take note, Mel Gibson), Shirley has no choice but to go Judas on his ass. But not just out of a desire to protect her religion. Movies are Abed’s life and the messiah mess would put an end to any future movie making on his part (again, Gibson, take note).  The mother and the Christian in her just can’t let that happen. Despite the fact that the entire college now hates her, Abed’s movie-god status remains intact, and thankfully, he loses the leather.

Yes, it’s all neatly wrapped up and sidesteps anything too controversial, but it is a comedy, after all. It’s enough that they’ve even attempted to comment on the socio-religious aspect of a successful multi-cultural… Just kidding. It’s always about the jokes and, like it or not, religion can be hilarious. Ok, so the handholding and ‘you humble me’ ending is a little twee, but somehow, it works.

All the messianic action means the rest of the group is a little quieter this week, all except for Pierce, who appears to be going through something of a three quarter life crisis. With the study group set up as a quasi-family, the eldest member of the group is generally treated as a whining, inappropriate brat, which, to be fair, he kind of is. But this week, Pierce finds the perfect way to piss off Mommy Britta and Daddy Jeff:  Rebellion!

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Watching Pierce hanging out with a bunch of elderly hoodlums who use their age as a get out of jail free card to the loud disproval of his Greendale family has to leave you wondering why more elderly people don’t follow that example. Seriously, let’s hope they never work it out.

So, an unusually philosophical episode from the Community team this week. Philosophical, but not patronising, and just funny enough not to be offensive. Shame. Let’s hope they get back to the offensive humour next week.

Read our review of episode 4, Basic Rocket Science, here.