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Published on April 8th, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart

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Community Season 6 Episode 5 “Laws of Robotics and Party Rights” Review

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Prisoners remote-learning at Greendale Community College, in exchange for a hefty paycheque from the Colorado prison system? What’s the catch? Well. Have you ever seen a telepresence robot? It’s basically an iPad on a stick attached to a tiny Segway, that allows the user to teleconference and have a mobile physical presence through the video screens. The grand idea is to allow a group of felons to attend classes via these machines, including a charismatic murderer named Willy (Brian Van Holt – Cougar Town, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Whilst Jeff initially champions the idea, he soon becomes uncomfortable when Willy joins his “automatic A” law class and objects to Jeff’s teaching style, which consists entirely of showing nature documentaries on a poorly tuned TV. Things take a turn for the creepy and pathetic when Willy, or rather his telepresence robot, follows Jeff to the parking garage and attempts to murder him by lightly nudging against his back at the top of some stairs. Jeff confronts the Dean about the prisoners behaviour only to find that Willy has ratted him out and told the Dean the exact details of his syllabus. Surprisingly the Dean disbelieves the murder story, abandons his Jeffery worship and orders him to actually teach something.

Meanwhile Britta is excited about the end of exams and wants to host a party in the apartment she shares with Annie and Abed. Annie insists that any party must be smaller than eight people and that since Britta is the newest occupant, and only sleeping on the couch, she can’t go against Annie rules. Abed agrees, pointing out that partying is Britta’s thing, rules are Annie’s thing and his is making movies. Rules cancel out partying but he can still fill the apartment with lizards to film “Reverse Godzilla” since movies aren’t against the rules. This inevitably leads to Britta convincing Abed that she doesn’t want a party, she wants to make a movie about a party, based on a true story. Annie seems to give in but warns Britta that there will be consequences. Cue the party sequence! Jeff attempts to get sympathy from Britta over his prisoner situation but finds no comfort, and discovers that she has a really interesting definition of ‘petard’. The Dean and Frankie then crash the party to announce that the telepresence robot scheme is a success and the school will be receiving $300,000 to continue the program. To celebrate the Dean declares a ‘prison break’ can scatters the prisoners iPads around the party, before propping up Willy’s screen in a corner and dancing with him.

Community_LawsofRoboticsandPartyRights

The provocation continues the next day when Jeff attempts to run his class seriously by matching Willy’s dramatic rhetoric, only to be mocked by the prisoner and the rest of the students for no longer being funny. Jeff becomes increasingly concerned that Willy is taking emotional advantage of the Dean, rather than just the financial advantage that Jeff takes. When he is once again followed into the parking garage Jeff finally snaps and throws Willy’s robot down the staircase, smashing the screen. The Dean rushes to the robot’s side, behaving as if it has been murdered and sobbingly declares that Jeffery is banned from campus and on paid sabbatical from teaching. Britta also discovers that things aren’t over when she wakes to discover that the party is still going. Abed is unhappy with the performances of the guests from the previous evening, as none of them was truly able to “dance like there’s no tomorrow”, so he has replaced them with actors and will continue to shoot until he gets the footage he needs.

Jeffery realises he needs to make amends with the Dean when it is announced that Willy will be becoming a professor in a rather bridal style ceremony. With the help of Elroy (“Nobody’s Fourth Ghostbuster”) and an iPad taped to a broom, Jeff interrupts the ceremony to tell the Dean that he doesn’t mind his job, tries not to steal too much (pens, coffee filters, toilet paper, once a projector and a roll of carpet) and he won’t ever lead him on. He’s “not just a pretty face that murders people and tells you what you want to hear. [He’s] less than that. [He’s] a gorgeous face that works for [The Dean] and considers [him] a friend.” Matters are truly settled when the prison warden reveals that Willy isn’t actually a murderer and that with new DNA evidence his appeal will go through soon, removing his badboy charm in the eyes of the Dean. After a robotic fight in which Jeff still somehow looses his shirt; the prisoner is defeated and The Dean carries Jeff’s protesting robot out of the room Officer and A Gentleman style. The reconciliation between Britta, Annie and Abed is less sweet when Britta finally admits her deception to a disappointed Abed. Annie predicts that she will be “punished in ways you won’t understand for longer than you think is rational or possible” but it’ll all be alright in the end. Probably in time for next week.

After last weeks emotional roller-coaster this episode seemed a little bit flat and predictable. Too many elements were similar to previous episodes this season. The pre-title sequence included some more of the meta discussion on the racial dynamic of the group, with Elroy once again taking masterly control of the situation and Chang sadly returned to his role of making occasional inflammatory comment. Whilst the telepresence robots were amusing but I’m not sure the concept was enough to carry the whole episode and the party side plot could have probably been 50-75% more outrageous in terms of Abed trying to get people to dance like the world is ending. Buffy did it much better in Once More With Feeling, and whilst I understand that the writers are trying to move away from the fantastical plots of series five, we could have at least had some dream sequences or something. Especially after the ping back for “Reverse Godzilla” never bore any lizardy fruit. There’s a definite trend for the last five minutes of the show to include the most appealing element of each episode (such as Portuguese Gremlins or The Butcher and The Baker) and this week I would have very much liked to have seen more of Abed taking control of all the robots. ERADICATE. ERADICATE.

Vyctoria Hart

Vyctoria Hart

Steampunk illustrator, disabled cosplayer, cat wrangler, maker of terrible puns. I draw under the name of Phantoms Siren.
Vyctoria Hart

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