Published on April 15th, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart0
Community Season 6 Episode 6 “Basic Email Security” Review
“You have been owned by Elite Fleet 69. Our hacks are all up in your systems. I’m not bothering to pronounce them, but there are a lot of z’s being used.” This week, in what is starting to feel like Community: The I.T. Years, politically motivated hackers have infiltrated the Greendale Community College computer system with the aim of forcing them to cancel a performance by racist comedian Gupta Gupty Gupta (played by director Jay Chandrasekhar). They have leaked the entire email history of one of the college’s lunch ladies, which soon becomes the favourite topic for gossip with the whole campus population. The hackers then reveal that if the event’s committee doesn’t submit to their demands, they will release all of their emails in turn. Local law enforcement, in the form of recurring character Officer Cackowski (Craig Cackowski – Drunk History, Thrilling Adventure Hour) and the new Cyber Crimes Taskforce – literally a child in an adult sized uniform – are unable to assist and recommend that the college cancels the comedy show. Britta, who freely admits that she intended to protest against the comedian, insists that to give into the hackers would be unpatriotic and after a rousing rant on the topic she volunteers to be hacked in the name of free speech. The rest of the committee grudgingly agree, with Jeff volunteering last after reasoning that he hardly uses campus email anyway, all though Elroy points out that the hackers could potentially have access to any account viewed on a campus computer. After holding a press conference announcing their intentions, Abed suggests that they all agree “no peeking at the leaking” and the group breaks up for the evening.
It’s a quiet and frosty group that reconvenes the next day to set up for the comedy show, with long awkward silences and the occasional thrown chair, until a calm Abed arrives and realises that everyone else has read the leaked emails, which weren’t the innocuous work related messages Jeff had hoped for but instead a series of increasingly embarrassing secrets. From unkind opinions on individuals clothing (Elroy) to betting pools on others sexuality (Frankie), from sneaky drugs testing (Annie) to nude 3D renders of the ladies (Elroy) and fanboy letters to astronauts (Jeff), each unfortunate topic is dragged out in a painful series of accusations and recrimination. Britta repeatedly calls for calm, since this is giving the hackers what the want, but each time the situation seems to be under control someone brings up something else, like Frankie telling HR that Jeff is a ‘functional alcoholic’ or Chang criticising Frankie for sending long emails to a sister that never responds (because she’s dead). Things finally begin to calm down when Frankie and Elroy are shocked to discover that the committee used to be a study group with Chang as their teacher “and frankly haven’t been well utilised since!” At this point the comedian arrives and thanks the group for everything they’ve done for him, as Greendale is the first college in six months that hasn’t cancelled. With everyone starting to feel like they’ve done the right thing they open the auditorium doors to admit an audience of one lone student. The Dean then receives a new message from the hackers, stating that since the committee have stood their ground they will be release the email data of the entire student populous. Once again insisting that free speech must win in the face of censorship Britta has Abed and Frankie barricade the doors whilst Jeff and Elroy force the audience member to sit through a pretty terrible comedy routine.
The hackers make good on their threats. Greendale lies in ruins. Whilst Garrett and Leonard fight in the corridors the committee reconvene to have a meta discuss the ‘lesson’ at the heart of this weeks episode and how it all relates to the two earlier episodes centring around revealed secrets. However, as another row begins to brew the identity of the hacker is revealed and Elroy learns a lesson about password security.
Whilst this was yet another technology episode, it hung together much better than last weeks “Laws of Robotics and Party Rights”, possibly because it didn’t try to focus on two plot lines at the same time and thus didn’t separate out the cast. It was nice to see the committee interacting as a whole, something that has been missing from some of the earlier episodes this season as it has tried to find the right balance between the student and faculty divide. The long argument scene gave a great opportunity for character development across the board and gave all the characters a chance to interact outside the committee room. Although Frankie and Elroy really stood out as the newest (and fast becoming the weirdest) members of the group it was good to know there were new aspects to the established characters. Keith David continues to show off some great comic timing- we’ve found out some really odd things about Elroy this week and it’d be nice to explore those now that he’s firmly established as the IT Lady. Whilst I enjoyed the in jokes and self aware commentary on the show itself, I’d really like them to make more use of Chang rather than just pointing out the lack of it every week!