‘Community’: Son of a grift!

“Community” Season 6 Episode 9 Review

Jacob Judd, Staff member

The thing about reviewing a mediocre product is that it’s ultimately a struggle to find something meaningful about it. This week’s “Community” is neither triumphant success nor fascinating train wreck. It feels like wheel spinning. No one really grows substantially, and the concept for the episode feels like a backup idea from seasons ago that they dusted off when they needed a show.

This week, our heroes are browsing their new course catalogs and elect to take “Grifting 101” on a lark. Evidently enrollment at Greendale is significantly more relaxed than here at DVC. Jeff, the group’s only experienced con man, cautions them against this, citing his worry that they’ll find themselves the victims of a grift.

Of course he’s right, and soon enough finds himself in a professional rivalry with the grifting professor. Can the Greendale Seven out-grift the grifter? What follows is a series of twists, turns, allegiances and betrayals ultimately culminating in … an ending that’s fairly predictable.

This episode borrows stylistically from the classic film “The Sting.” The hand drawn title cards, old saloon piano music, and slow pacing are all here. Unfortunately, the spectacle and period aren’t. It’s pointed out at one point that the resolution of the movie is an absurdly expensive and impractical solution. It feels like the writers just throwing up their hands and settling for a lackluster commitment to the concept.

Would the show be any funnier if the cast was in silly costumes? Maybe not, but at least it’d be more visually dynamic. And when will we see the return of the basement bar from the first episode of the season? It’d seem perfect for this concept.

MVP for this week goes to guest star Matt Berry as the shameless grifting teacher. His unique take on a schlubby, pathetic, less than stellar grifter helped make this pretty forgettable episode, slightly more memorable.

Best line of the week goes to Annie: “You can’t expel Britta! She’s been here six years … three more and she’ll have her two-year degree!”

Whether it’s for better or worse, here’s hoping next week brings us something worth actually talking about!