Published on April 23rd, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart0
Community Season 6 Episode 7 “Advanced Safety Techniques” Review
Okay, don’t freak out. Someone just told me that Honda has released some kinda super vehicle called the Honda Fit. They also told me that this weeks Community has a plot about guerrilla marketing and the Dean is a Level Seven Susceptible when it comes to advertising. Quick Frankie, freeze the college’s assets before it’s too late!
Britta’s ex-boyfriend “Subway” (Travis Schuldt – Passions, Scrubs, last seen in “Digital Exploration of Interior Design” season 3 episode 13) is back at Greendale Community College, only now he’s known as Rick, he has a beard, an identity and he works as a guerrilla marketer for Honda. After demonstrating the ample space in the back of the car, and accidentally getting the Dean to buy two cars and a lawn mower, Rick declares that he won his freedom from the sandwich giant for Britta, but he can’t be seen to be in a relationship in public.
Meanwhile the rest of the committee is wondering why Elroy isn’t interested in hanging out with them after a disastrous meeting featuring a presentation entitled “Chang & PowerPoint: A Journey to Disappointment”. Abed suggests that it might be due to the lack of fun in the group since Troy departed as the whole group has been rather boring recently. Frankie asks “what was so special about this Troy person, did he own a rainbow?” to which Jeff replies that his appeal was due to his talent at steel drums, a lie that he predicts will pay off later. When Abed and Annie pursue a plan to win him over with a game night featuring “The Ears Have It” (which involves guessing what ears you’re wearing), Jeff mocks them for trying to hard and advises them to play it cool. The game is a riotous success, but when Jeff arrives to investigate the noise Elroy leaves immediately, leading Jeff to conclude that Elroy was bored, whilst everyone assumes that he just doesn’t like Jeff. This is further reinforced when Jeff finds the group at dinner, exchanging in-jokes and bonding over the band Natalie Is Freezing (see season 6 episode 2), but Elroy immediately vacates the table, like Jeff is a human fart to him. Jeff decides to hatch a plan to win him over and wanders off repeating the band name.
Unwilling to let Britta go, Rick persuades the Honda talent scout (a bearded Billy Zane – Twin Peaks, Phantom) to test her selling skills at her bar-tending job. Impressed with her talent he declares that together they are a highly influential couple, sanctions their relationship and attempts an ineffective vanishing act. Britta is overjoyed at being able to have a real relationship with Rick, despite them spending much of their time advertising the benefits of the companies cars to unsuspecting students. When she introduces him to her parents everything seems to be going well, until Rick unnecessarily mentions features of the newest Honda vehicle and she realises with horror that there is no end to the job of guerrilla marketing. Unable to deal with always being on and still not being with the real Rick, Britta ends the relationship. Things also take a turn for the worst back on campus when Frankie enters the Deans office to find it filled to the brim with Honda merchandising, including several lawnmowers and huge motorcycle. Paget Brewster really gets her teeth into the role of Frankie as she delivers a wonderful tirade on the subject of exactly how stupid the Dean really is – “You’re so stupid. You have no idea. And you’re the only one who has no idea, because guess why? Don’t answer that, you’ll get it wrong. So dumb.” Despite repeatedly apologising she can’t seem to stop berating him.
As the committee sets up for the Alumni Dance Jeff announces that he has replaced the DJ with the band Natalie Is Freezing in a blatent attempt to curry favour with Elroy. Everyone is shocked when Elroy instead flys into a rage, calling Jeff a “weird, hair-gelled, CPR dummy” and storms out of the dance. In trying to find somewhere to hide from the group Elroy finds himself in Britta’s bar and ends up explaining that he’s messed up after a previous relationship with the lead singer Julie. At this point Rick returns, declaring that he has left the world of advertising and wants a normal life with Britta. Unsure how one leads a normal life he accepts her invitation to see her favourite band leaving Elroy talking to himself. He realises that he should reach out to people rather than lashing out at those he loves, since Julie made him afraid to love 20 years before. Confronting Julie about their history, he announces himself to be over it, hugs Jeff, tells him he loves him and goes to watch the band. Sadly things end less successfully for Britta when Rick is inevitably drawn back into the world of selling when he sees an opportunity to take advantage of the Deans susceptibility one last time. After another peculiar encounter with Billy Zane Britta decides to leave Rick behind and returns to the concert, which features Frankie on the steel drums, just as Jeff predicted.
With this episode season 6 of Community, with all its new characters and commitment to less zany antics, finally felt properly integrated with the previous seasons, with both call backs to past episodes and development of the new characters feeling much more confident than the previous six episodes. The development of Elroy that I hoped for last week was swiftly delivered and it was nice to see an older character getting a romantic type of storyline without it being an outright joke. I’m glad that they’ve been able to give him depth and keep him distinct from the characters he has replaced. Similarly Frankie has settled in a little more and I hope we see more of both the sensible and silly aspects of the character, perhaps as the voice of reason she might allow the show to get a bit weirder again just so she can shout some sense into it. The use of veteran actors was especially good this week, with the adorably mysterious yet useless Billy Zane (wow, he looks good in a beard! And I’m saying that as a pogonophobe) being a great presence despite his short screen time, whilst Britta’s parents were wonderfully and slightly surreally played once again by Lesley Ann Warren and Martin Mull. The episode ended with a full length version of the “Pillar of Garbage” song from episode 2, which was very satisfying after only hearing the previous snippet, though it’s a shame Gillian Jacobs didn’t end up the Kate Bush-esque dress again. Maybe next week…