This review contains spoilers.
6.12 Wedding Videography
“Britta, tonight every one of us is the worst. Take a night off.”
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today for a sitcom wedding. But one week after another paintball episode, Community gives us Wedding Videography, an episode that is way closer to Game Of Thrones than Friends. In short, the kind of episode so ballsy and leftfield, you could only make it on the internet.
In the same style as the previous Documentary Filmmaking episodes of seasons two, three and four, Abed is strictly behind the camera this week. Fellow student and oft-mocked “human spillage” Garrett (Eric Charles Nielsen) wants Abed to film his marriage proposal to Stacy, (Harmontown‘s Erin McGathy.) his Law classmate and girlfriend of the past 16 months, four weeks and two days.
Abed keeps filming through the happy day, (even though he reveals that he never shows these documentaries to anyone) so he captures a lot of the main characters’ selfish disregard for Garrett. They seem to find the whole thing hilarious and when they nearly ruin the ceremony, Garrett’s mother (O-Lan Jones) calls them on it. As usual, their attempts to make things better by making it all about them could lead to an even bigger catastrophe.
But we’ll get to that. The first act of the episode plays with the documentary format as we know it by skewing more towards what the characters are like in private. They’ve been called the “mean clique” before, and that comes back with a vengeance here as they play games like Celebrity Garrett Marriage, doing impressions of Garrett and real life famous figures (Gillian Jacobs’s Britta nails both Garrett and Aubrey Plaza in this game, to cruel and hilarious effect.)
Speaking of their mean clique days, Todd officiates the wedding and reminds us of how dickish the lead characters can be from an objective point of view. It’s a great opportunity to give the supporting characters centre-stage and Nielsen has gone from strength to strength in an increased role all season, apparently in the run-up to this showcase, both as Garrett and his hitherto unseen older brother, Bones.
Although they’ll tell off Abed for making their lives out to be a sitcom, the main group has an almost pathological tendency to view everyone else as supporting characters in their own lives and this episode seizes on that while also giving the ensemble some room to shine in individual running gags.
There’s Britta’s first resort to Godwin’s law, Frankie’s social awkwardness, Annie’s listing of cool names for internal dragons for when she slays her co-dependence and Elroy’s addiction to encouraging white people – the latter of which sees Keith David on season-best form for a hysterical extended set-piece that subverts a long-standing stereotype of wise black characters who serve no other purpose than to give pep talks.
Of course, it falls to Jeff to really mess things up, with a substitute best man’s speech that aims to please everyone and instead connects the dots between the bride and groom as cousins through a shared great-aunt. The scene is teed up by an earlier throwaway exchange between Annie and Frankie, but when the other shoe drops, it’s hilariously mortifying.
The problem most networks would probably have with this is that the show is generally OK with this development and the couple decide to stay together. While most of the group decides that this just means they’re toxic together and should focus on being individuals instead, the sweet speech that Chang gives to the couple to save their marriage almost comes out of nowhere.
That’s partly because Chang hasn’t been around much lately, (though his earlier “home alone” panic is another highlight in this one) but this is one of the better uses they’ve found for him this season, because it works both as a resolution and for this character. Given everything we know about him, it’s not the biggest stretch to imagine that he’s not fussy about incest.
The cherry on top comes with the end tag, which goes more meta than ever before by having writer Briggs Hatton (played by Matt Gourley) address a PSA about reforming incest laws to the audience. It’s clearly played for laughs, especially with the fake Dan Harmon (reminiscent of The Simpsons‘ in-show representation of Matt Groening) and the possible clues for next week’s finale on the whiteboard, but it’s the kind of thing you’d only get away with on Yahoo!
Wedding Videography ups the cringe factor in accordance with the by-laws of all wedding videos, but also stands as perhaps the best example of what the show can be in the Yahoo! Screen era. It’s definitely as near the knuckle as the show has ever been and for better or worse, for richer or poorer, it may be the most consistently funny episode of the whole season.
Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.