Friday, November 11, 2011

3x07 "Studies in Modern Movement" (#AnniesMove)

"Studies in Modern Movement"
Original Airdate: November 10, 2011

I went to college away from home for two years. It was only three hours away in West Palm Beach, FL, but obviously this meant that I would live on-campus in a dorm. And that would mean that as a freshman in college for the first time in my life, I would have to share a living space. I'm the oldest child at home, so I've never really had to share anything before. My freshman year, I was paired with a random roommate, which turned out to be worlds better than the vast majority of my college friends' initial living experiences. The two of us were friendly with one another, but kind of did our own things. We both went to bed around the same time though, and had the same standards of cleanliness and organization. My sophomore year of college, I decided to live with one of my friends, Ali. There were five girls and I that were close friends during freshman year, and both Ali and I thought that it would be good to live together because we weren't so close that it would ruin our friendship. And it truly didn't, but (I bet you were wondering where I'd segue this to) as Britta mentioned in last night's episode, when you live with someone, all of the things you used to find endearing about them when you were just friends are the things that you really begin to hate once you actually live together. And for Ali and me, our friendship never got so rocky that we fought. It's this strange sensation though when your roommate has certain quirks (like always being late, or never organizing their side of the room, etc.) - it's not an anger that bubbles up, necessarily. It's a tiny, grating feeling that prickles throughout your body. And this doesn't occur because you love your friend any less or because you think you're more mature or better than they are - it's simply because you aren't used to this side of them. For some people, rooming with friends never works out. For me and Ali, it did, but only because we learned to tolerate each other's quirks and also to set boundaries.

(The moral of that digression was that Britta Perry was right. That's the point.)

So this week's episode featured moving day for Annie. We recall from 3x04 that Abed offered Annie to live with him and Troy, and apparently the young woman took them up on the offer. Thus, we open the episode by watching everyone (minus Jeff) help Annie pack up her things from her beyond sketchy apartment to move into Abed and Troy's place. This is where Britta warns Annie that she's going to start hating Abed and Troy once she discovers that she'll have to live with their quirks and games and habits 24/7. Annie cannot accept the fact that she'll hate her friends, so Britta lets it go... for now. 

Yesterday afternoon, Twitter exploded with tweets from the characters, which were all hashtagged with #AnnniesMove. So in last night's episode, Troy and Abed wore #AnniesMove t-shirts and tweeted events throughout the episode (which had occurred on Twitter earlier that day). Sometimes, this show is so meta that it makes my head want to explode. ...and then hug it.

Britta calls Jeff because she doesn't buy the fact that he's sick, and believes that he's just faking in an attempt to get out of helping everyone move boxes. And Jeff, being Jeff, of course is faking but performs such an elaborate scheme in The Gap dressing room that Britta buys it. Interesting to note too is the fact that the saleswoman clearly is hitting on Jeff, but he is either a) aloof, or b) openly declining her advances. And both of these things are definitely un-Jeff-like, so I found them interesting to note. The scene of him trying on clothes is pretty funny though, I must add.

Back at the apartment, Annie pulls Britta aside because the boys have started their antics and already Annie is feeling overwhelmed with them. There's this fantastic exchange of dialogue in the hallway which ends with Annie vowing to be looser. "Is it loosey-goosey or goosey-loosey?" she asks. "Is it hyphenated? You know what - don't tell me. I don't need to know...Ro...heim?" And the end of this dialogue (as well as Pierce's "Easy peasy George and Weasey" line a few moments later) is a fantastic callback to both 2x08 and 2x17. I love that it appears to be an intra-group joke where they end things with rhyming names of people.

At the mall, Jeff exits the dressing room only to find himself running into Dean Pelton. And since the Dean follows Troy and Abed on Twitter, he knows that Jeff should be helping Annie move, and is instead at the mall. Therefore, he blackmails Jeff into spending a day at the mall with him. And I love that the Dean managed to do this because the last time we saw him blackmail Jeff was in 1x06 (nearly exactly two seasons earlier, might I add), where the deal was that if Jeff got Troy to join the football team, the Dean wouldn't release photos of Jeff attending Greendale or distribute them to law firms around the area. See, the most important thing to Jeff in season 1 was himself - he was entirely focused on how the outside world saw him because he wanted to be anywhere but Greendale. He wanted his old life back because he thought it was the best thing for him - the only thing that mattered. Two years later, however, the most important thing to Jeff is the study group and the people he loves. Because he doesn't want to disappoint them anymore, to be looked at as the person who causes their problems. So he'll do anything to keep himself as faultless in their eyes as he can (which is selfishness directed at a slightly less selfish cause, I suppose), because he loves them that much. 

Now onto the Shirley/Britta storyline this episode. It's funny - last week people criticized Dan Harmon for how he portrayed the gay community (and then criticized him for the apology that he wrote to his audience). Can I pause here momentarily and just vocalize something? I want to thank Dan Harmon for writing an apology, because it was unnecessary. And to those who are critiquing his apology, I must ask - what other showrunner would do something like that? Do you  honestly think Ryan Murphy would write an apology message to his audience? Has Simon Cowell apologized for the vast majority of (clearly offensive) remarks he has made? No. Therefore, I think that putting his apology into perspective in that scope may be beneficial. And that is all I will say about that. Okay, let me share something - I am an evangelical Christian and I haven't once thought to critique Dan Harmon for how he portrays Shirley. I could easily take up arms and say: "Don't you see how you're making us look? We look like  bigots and hypocrites and etc. etc. etc." Look, I get it guys - everyone wants their particular demographic (or the one that they affiliate themselves with) to be portrayed in the best light possible. But shouldn't we be exposed for how we are rather than try to pretend otherwise? It's funny because Shirley and Britta are the most backwards in what they believe, I think. Shirley believes so strongly in Christianity, but often that causes her to become judgmental so she  becomes a lot less Christ-like than she should. Britta, on the other hand, believes so strongly in nothing, that ironically she ends up becoming so accepting of every individual that it's hard for her to locate flaws. See, neither are completely right or complete as characters, and that's what's great about the end of their storyline - they realize this about themselves, in a small way. Yes, you can be compassionate and an atheist. Yes, you can be a Christian and also be judgemental. Yes, you can be a Christian and be loving. Yes, you can be an atheist and be hypocritical. Thank you, Community, for reminding us of this.

Annie is really attempting to be a good roommate to Troy and Abed - even when they inform her that her bedroom is a blanket fort and not an actual room. They then perform a puppet show for her, and I think that this is honestly the first time that I have ever teared up while watching the show. It was so sweet how they wanted to make her feel at home, and really loved and appreciated. I really like the Troy/Abed/Annie dynamic because I feel like they also compliment each other so well. Also, they're the youngest of the group, so it's like they really get to grow up together with each other. I don't think that Annie wants to be on her own, or has ever wanted to. Her parents are divorced and she doesn't appear to have the best relationship with them. I feel that maybe she just feels like (because of her neurotic behavior) she deserves to be alone. I think she wants to be independent, respected, and thought of as an adult. But in doing that, I feel like she's ended up lonely, somehow. And perhaps she's insecure because of it. She says she's better off living alone at the end of the episode (before the boys make a room for her). She's afraid of herself (as I think is a common thread between her and Jeff, for varying reasons), and afraid of letting people down. And she is always reminded by others of her age, but rarely of how awesome she is. And I loved that Troy and Abed got a chance to tell her.

After the Dean coerces Jeff into lunch, he also manages to blackmail him into karaoke (singing "Kiss From a Rose," which is hilarious because I love everything about Joel McHale, but he cannot sing). And, as I mentioned last week, I think that you expect an episode to focus on one character solely, but it really highlights every character. So even though this episode was #AnniesMove, it also gave us a surprising revelation about Jeff. We learned that Jeff is in therapy. And it really explains his emotions throughout the season (if he has been in therapy since the start of season 3). He hasn't always been very Jeff-like (aggression,  admitting feelings for Annie so openly, vulnerability at the end of this episode). I am choosing to believe that his therapy has something to do with his father, since we also saw him become pretty abrasive with Britta last week when she brought up the subject. Though it is interesting that Jeff wanted to be alone during that particular day (November 10th), so he e-mailed his therapist to cancel. Why was that day so important? Any speculations?

Back at the apartment, Annie discovers an extra bedroom that Troy and Abed have turned into something they call a "Dream-a-torium" - a virtual imagination room, essentially. And I am sure that there will be people who argue that Annie took away Troy and Abed's fun and is going to squash their adventures together, but that's honestly not the case at at all. Here's the deal - living with someone (or multiple people) is all about compromise. Troy and Abed had been so used to living care-free that they forgot about Annie's needs. They tried to think about what she may have wanted, but not needed. Because Annie Edison is Annie Edison - the dayplanner, organized young woman who has other needs to. And remember what I have been saying in past posts? About the study group growing up? I love Troy and Abed and their adventures, but let's remember that we can't have adventures ALL the time. Sometimes we need to be grounded.

The fact that Troy and Abed made their behavior up to Annie by getting Shirley, Pierce, and Britta to help redecorate the bedroom was very sweet. I also loved that Abed knew Annie would want her throw pillows arranged by color instead of size (but Shirley didn't). It's nice that they're going to learn things from one another. Jeff, at the end of the episode, arrived at the moving party, just like I had a feeling he would. Because he cares immensely for the group.

The tag this time around was really intriguing because Jeff starts crying at the puppet show that Annie, Troy, and Abed put on. I really am interested to know what the catalyst was that has caused Jeff to explore a more emotional side of himself. Did he voluntarily enter therapy? Was it mandated? Because there's been a change in Jeff's character. Perhaps his therapist has found Jeff's father and provided him with the opportunity to meet him? Again, my theories are endless, but I would love to hear some of yours in the comments!

Additional note-worthy aspects about the episode:
- My love for the wardrobe department dressing Joel in blue is endless. Endless, I tell you.
- "Awww, who's this wittle guy?" Best Britta voice ever.
- "Britta! Don't make jokes - you're bad at it!"
- Gillian's hair and make-up was awesome this episode. She looked so pretty.
- Alison appeared to be sick in the episode, sadly.
- "I'm just a Craig-ular Joe!"
- Britta's: "Oh, that's nice" was spot-on
- Annie was in the process of hanging up her award from "Debate 109."
- "I don't want a candy cigarette. I want our Annie."

Next week is "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux," which I am honestly stoked about. The plot is that the Dean is filming a commercial for Greendale and everyone becomes involved with it (from Jeff and the study group to Leonard, Starburns, Magnitude, and a special guest as well). All of this process is going to apparently be filmed as as documentary by - who else but - Abed. Until then, folks!


  1. Always a great read! Yes, now that you mention it, there does seem to be a lot going on with Jeff. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  2. First of all, another great review, as always! I too noticed the emotional side of Jeff in this episode, and was very surprised to hear that he's in therapy. I can't wait to see where that goes.
    Second, I just love Annie/Troy/Abed! I just thought of the tag where they all dress up as Jeff, but Annie is late and misses it. The three of them had more adventures in earlier seasons, as the youngest members of the group. I think this living arrangement is going to be comedy gold!
    Third, I agree with what you said about the show's portrayal of Shirley. I'm an Evangelical Christian as well, and while I don't always like the way the media portrays Christians, nobody's perfect, and it's up to us to change people's perception of us.
    Finally, my favorite lines of the whole episode: Troy: "Brought to you by the girl yogurt Jamie Lee Curtis uses to poop." Abed: "There's a package of it in the fridge as a welcome gift."