TV in Review: Community, “Basic Lupine Urology”
April 27, 2012 4 Comments
Sometimes Community adopts a genre without connecting to a specific work, but this week it’s clear from the start. We’re not doing just any old police procedural show. We’re doing Law & Order, baby.
Greendale Community College is represented by two separate yet equally important types of people: the goofballs that run around stirring up trouble, and the eggheads that make a big deal out of it. These are their stories.
(Spoilers to follow.)
“Basic Lupine Urology” opens with a couple of janitors coming upon a scene of the crime.
CRAZY SCHMIDT: She was perfect. Warm, smart, beautiful — I’m never gonna find another dental hygienist like that.
JERRY: Well, you should stop hitting on her.
CRAZY SCHMIDT: Hey, she’s the one putting her hands in my mouth.
From the gavel sound effect that precedes this discovery to the reworked title sequence that will come later, Community does an excellent job referencing and reworking Law & Order because they parody it with affection, and use the Law & Order gimmicks to further their central story. And the story, as it happens, is the murder of a yam.
ANNIE: Our yam was murdered.
JEFF: If it’s any consolation, she got me here on a very misleading text message.
ANNIE: Jeff, technically you are about to be screwed in the biology room, because our final project has been destroyed.
Troy and Abed, of course, take to playing detectives without missing a beat. They’re as happy as adults who like to play dress-up getting to play dress-up.
First stop? Shaking down Pierce.
Second stop? Questioning Todd.
ABED: What happened, Todd? Cut yourself on an extra-sharp Oscar Wilde play?
The next witness was Magnitude. We all know what he’s going to say, and this time it’s humorous because it’s grown to mean much more than can be captured in a mere two syllables.
MAGNITUDE: Pop pop!
And then, we have Star-Burns.
STAR BURNS: Alright. Alright, look, I swiped some beakers for the meth lab that I’m building in the trunk of my car, but that’s it! I didn’t kill any yam.
The clarity of the Law & Order formula allowed for the episode to move at this quick pace pretty much throughout.
The formula also allowed for some pretty good one and two-liners. I liked what Troy said to Todd in the library. All sorts of meaninglessness wrapped up in something that sounds like meaning.
TROY: You can dance all day, Todd, but sooner or later the music’s gonna change.
There were Troy and Abed’s unorthodox methods…
JANITOR: I really shouldn’t be doing this. You sure you heard a kitten meowing in here?
ABED: Not anymore, so hurry up.
And Jeff’s non-buying of the hot dog…
JEFF: Keep the change, Garrett. [Pause.] You know what, keep the hot dog.
The trial in biology class was fun because everyone takes it so seriously.
GENERAL: Objection. She’s clearly ramping up to something.
JEFF: Objection. That’s not a real objection.
PROFESSOR KANE: Objection. I hate the both of you.
Every scene pushes us one step forward to knowing who dun it. I enjoyed guessing at the culprit. I figured it wasn’t Todd because he became the prime suspect far too early. So my money was actually on Professor Kane. (Fortunately for me, I have no money.)
Overall, I found this a much more even week than last, with plot, characterization, and absurdist flights-o’-fancy –
– working fairly consistently from start to finish.
I warned about spoilers at the start, and I have to say that I’m not sure what to make of Star-Burns’ demise. I enjoyed having the character on the show, but if I remember correctly from Dino Stamatopoulos’ appearance on WTF with Marc Maron, Dino was dubious about doing much acting on Community. It’s a shame, but we still have Dean Pelton to keep us tucked in at night.
DEAN PELTON (sings): Troy and Abed, off to Dreamland, catching the train to Sleepytown. And when they wake up the dean’ll be here, staring at you.
NBC first aired Season 3, Episode 17 of Community on April 26, 2012.
Polentical: TV in Review: Community, “Virtual Systems Analysis”
tv Dinner & a Movie: thoughts on community: basic lupine urology
The Awesome Thing: What Happened On Community Was Not Funny
Processed Media: Community ‘Basic Lupine Urology’: This Is Not A Courtroom