Friday, April 6th, 2012

Visual Community Recap: "Pillows and Blankets"

“Do people go to classes?”

Well, that was great.

Honestly, I was a little worried about this episode before it aired. Community’s last second installment of a two-parter, “For a Few Paintballs More,” was a bit of a let down, and the idea of a pillows vs. blankets fight is funnier than an actual pillows vs. blankets fight. How could the show possibly do their "Digital Exploration of Interior Design” set-up justice? By using a Ken Burns’ PBS documentary as a framing device, that's how. And it was genius, a parody that worked even if you didn’t get the thing that was being mocked (rarer than it sounds). It also allowed an unbiased narrator (Keith David) to tell the Battle of the Greendale, making the on-screen action feel more dramatic than it actually was and redirecting the viewer from choosing a side. (That's what I imagine the episode title is "Pillows and Blankets," not "Pillows vs. Blankets.") But, most impressively, even with all the jokes about Britta’s shitty photography (brilliant) and Annie and Jeff’s “birthday cake, birthday cake, unicorn, woman’s shoe” texts, the emotional arc of the story — Troy and Abed sparring — was never sacrificed for an easy gag. Arguing with your best friend can feel like a war, and though there were a few smirks along the way (mostly from Jeff), the show took their feuding seriously. Even Pierce was invested, though he mostly just wanted to scream, "I'm going to eat you" at kids, while wearing an outfit made entirely out of pillows and duct tape.

"Pillows and Blankets" was also heavy with visual humor, with dozens of well executed sight gags. Here are some of my favorites:

Love the bottles of Gatorade instead of IV bags.

“There are people who say, ‘I don’t get it. So it was a pillow fight.’ To which I say, you weren’t there.”

So. Many. Dalmatians.

Leonard's "no fart noise" fake-out was one of the episode's more clever touches.

Note the "Dean Appreciation Week" announcement, too.

"Rumored to be literally psychotic."

"Leonard Likes this post."

Dan Harmon and the Cure for Syphilis.

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  • danrydell

    Brilliant. So much was packed into this episode, and the Ken Burns take was genius.

  • http://twitter.com/joshung Joshua Ungerleider

    The North Cafeteria which is in the East building, which is to the west of the North building, was perhaps one of my favorite parts this entire season.

  • chris chris

    I watched this episode last night and I have a feeling that this is going to be just like the first time I viewed Raising Arizona. Almost walked out when I saw it in the theater. Not funny. And then I watched it again on cable (repeatedly) and I swear, it got funnier every single time to the point where I now quote lines from it with my friends. "Son, you got a panty on your head." I have never seen the Ken Burns "Civil War" documentary but I could tell that this was a well done send-up and I guess I will have to go home and watch this episode again.

  • http://reednwrite.tumblr.com J.D. Reed

    From this moment on, when anyone asks me whether or not Community is worth watching, this is episode will be what I show them. Last night I had to watch it twice(The North Cafeteria joke alone maybe ten times,) it's earned a permanent place on my DVR.