Community season six, episode four recap/ review
Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing
This week’s “Community” installment welcomed the second episode directed by Academy Award-winning duo Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who plays the Dean for the series as well. At over a half hour run time, the episode proves just how comfortably the series transitioned over to Yahoo! Screen. This longer run also had a negative effect—dragging out the Dean’s conundrum completely overpowered the pacing for the other two subplots involving Chang/ Annie and Abed/ Elroy. Unfortunately, the fourth episode this season is so far the weakest due to the uneven storytelling (that’s still pretty solid).
“Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing” opens on Chang and Annie reading lines. Chang, between forgetting all of his lines, explains that he’s about to audition for the role of “Daniel” in a stage production of “The Karate Kid” Specifically, he points out to Abed that he isn’t trying out for Miyagi, as the stereotype would suggest. It’s nice to see Ken Jeong get some time to act as Chang in an episode this season as opposed to disappearing, reappearing, and saying an unstable comment of no consequence. The rest of the crew wanders into the study room individually as the group complains to Frankie about a lack of Wi-Fi. It was nice to hear Frankie describe the scary IT lady as Paget Brewster herself also played the IT lady last season on “Community” when the show was still over at NBC. The Dean strolls in and they begin screaming “Wi-Fi!” at him. In true Dean protocol, he quickly delegates the responsibility back at Frankie to hire an IT lady. He suggests she hire Elroy as the new “IT lady” and just like that, Elroy is both student and staff at Greendale. It turns out the Dean only interrupted to see if his tie was too short.
The two morons from the school board from seasons past roll up and ambush in the Dean in his office. He promises to put out the bonfire when the weather breaks. (I gotta see this.) They explain to him that they’re impressed by his good work and want to promote him to join them on the board. However, they list one caveat: Dean Pelton must come out as a gay man in order for the school board to save face on cancelling a pride parade in favor of a school board parade. He explains to the two board members that he’s so much more than gay when it comes to the spectrum of his sexuality and will have to get back to them with an answer. It could be a big step up for him, but at what cost? As they leave, the idiot board members contemplate homosexuality for themselves and sing “Gay Dean” to the tune of “Jolene.” Across campus, Abed and Elroy fall upon the source of the Wi-Fi problem—a nest of bird eggs inside a fuse box. Elroy suggests moving the eggs to make room for working on the problem, however, Abed states that moving the nest will prevent the mother from returning. They decide to follow the example of “The IT Crowd” and wait around doing nothing until the birds to leave.
Downtown in Greendale, Colorado, Chang appears for his audition in “The Karate Kid.” Special guest Jason Mantzoukas (The Dictator, Neighbors) plays the community theatre director who eagerly casts Annie as Daniel and Chang, to his own dismay, as Miyagi. Chang clearly feels down in the dumps about the seemingly stereotype casting. The camera focuses on a reconvened group where Elroy tells the Dean he’ll need more time to fix the Wi-Fi. The Dean then summons Jeff and Frankie to his office for advice. He explains his conundrum to Jeff and Frankie. Jeff unfortunately suggests that any kind of sexuality that isn’t traditionally straight should be “gay enough” for the school board to hire the Dean. Frankie, however, asks the Dean if he’s ready to use his “coming out” as a platform for leadership, suggesting that she, personally, is not ready for such a task so she will keep her sexuality private. Jeff and the Dean humorously try a short-hand behind her back to determine her sexuality. Then we jump back to the theater where Annie watches the director rip Chang to verbal shreds.
Jeff and Frankie fall upon a press conference the school throws to celebrate the “Gay Dean” joining the school board. Also present at the event is the actor the board hires to stand-in as the Dean’s fake partner, “Domingo.” As they leave the press conference, an off-put Dean spells it all out for his faux-interest, “I make gayness look like Mormonism.” A student approaches the Dean and thanks him for coming out because it helps him come to terms with his self-esteem. The “Jolene/ Gay Dean” parody plays over a montage of the Dean hitting several magazine covers after coming out of the closet, including the “Latino Colorado” periodical with Domingo. Across town, the director keeps bullying Chang to the point where Annie questions her involvement over a drink at a bar that Britta tends. Britta (the odd one out for this episode) suggests Annie stand up for Chang at the next rehearsal. Back at Greendale, Abed and Elroy talk about the time it takes for eggs to hatch among different birds. The Dean shows up to take an easy shot at an IT joke, but agrees with Abed that the mother wouldn’t find her birds. With the Dean’s encouragement, Abed and Elroy keep their watch.
Annie finally quits the play when the director rips into Chang yet again. However, she learns that the director never believed she had any talent and subsequently, no room for improvement. He believed Chang to be a talented thespian all along, and pressed him to get the best possible performance. Jumping back to Greendale, the annoying board morons ambush the Dean again about the baby birds and Wi-Fi, instructing him to fix the problem. This leads into the next scene where the camera follows the Dean in a showdown with Elroy over the protection of the birds. Ultimately, Elroy and Abed are forced to transplant the birds to the basement over another montage of “Gay Dean.” As they tend the birds, a couple of them die and the two buddies bury the birds outside Elroy’s Winnebago. The montage closes on a pensive Dean ordering a drink from Britta. The next day sees the Dean calling another press conference to set the record straight (no pun intended). He explains that the term “gay” doesn’t begin to define him, and instead, “comes out” as political. The school board sends the Dean back to his normal duties as the group meets in the study room and makes poignant comparisons to sexuality and politics. Abed suggests they all catch Chang’s performance, the Dean invites himself, and they all head for the theatre. Once there, Chang’s moving performance surprises them all, but it’s not as big of a surprise to see Annie Kim or “Asian Annie” replacing Annie Edison in the role of Daniel.