February 22nd, 2013
10:14 AM ET
It's been a rough time for "Community" fans lately.
This has already been the most controversial season of the show with the departure of creator Dan Harmon, and there's been some very mixed reaction to the episodes we've seen so far.
Last week's ratings also didn't help.
Thursday night's new episode - which saw the study group at an "Inspector Spacetime" convention - was one of the most anticipated since it was first announced during San Diego Comic-Con.
It was an Abed-fest (as expected), so here are some moments which would have made him say "Cool. Cool cool cool."
That set for the convention was pretty impressive, and Matt Lucas ("Bridesmaids") was an inspired choice as Abed's friend Toby, the world's biggest "Inspector Spacetime" fan who was visiting from London.
Toby's blatant attempt to drive a wedge between Troy and Abed (Britta warned "That dude is trying to steal your boyfriend") led to an outburst by Troy in the middle of a "Spacetime" panel: "'Toby and Abed in the Morning?' That's ridiculous! I'm not a psycho!"
When Toby locked Abed inside a "Spacetime" phone booth in order to bring him back to England, Troy came to the rescue.
"In my long history of being locked in things, this is the first time I knew someone would come for me," said Abed.
The two of them sealed their friendship with a "Gluon" photo.
2. Britta's obstacle course
Troy made Britta make a quick getaway out of his room so Abed wouldn't know they're sleeping together.
"Do we want him to freak out and have to rescue him from some fantasy world where submarines are small enough to enter the bloodstream?" Troy asked. "Actually I really want to do that."
We saw Britta make some acrobatic leaps outside their window, ending up back at Troy and Abed's front door with breakfast.
"I haven't seen you in 12 hours!" declared Troy, but the gig was up. Abed was onto them.
3. Tricia Helfer guest stars
"Battlestar Galactica" fans got a treat as Tricia Helfer (one of many recent big names to land a pilot) showed up as a lifelong "Inspector Spacetime" fan, one of many to confuse Jeff for the actor playing the villainous Thoraxis.
Jeff's awful British accent didn't seem to bother her (she thought his American accent was bad), but Annie ruined the moment when she threw water in his face, pretending to be his wife (that entire subplot seemed like a throwback to season one Annie, though).
4. The Americanized "Inspector Spacetime"
Obviously, Abed really didn't like how this turned out, as evidenced by his reaction at the end of the episode, but it was a great punchline.
It was difficult to tell where the subplot of Pierce and Shirley getting recruited for a focus group was going, other than Pierce's advice on dumbing down "Spacetime" for Americans being another meta moment for this show ("See? It's funny because it's clearer"). But then we got a look at an episode.
Luke Perry starred as the American Inspector, who helpfully explained the concept to the audience and said he must "sleep with the sexiest woman here, who is also my grandmother. Or I will cease to exist."
His constable (or "ensign" as they called it here) was played by... Jennie Garth, who asked how he knew that she wasn't his grandmother.
Abed's reaction to the Pierce-approved "Spacetime" was a simple, whispered "I hate you."
So far we haven't seen any episodes that measured up to the best that "Community" has to offer, but all three have had plenty of moments to recommend them (and there are still 10 to go, of course).
What do you think of the new season so far? Share your view on video or post a comment.
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