COMMUNITY: My Dinner with Abed

I’m a bit late to the dance, but I have to talk about last night’s Community. What was promoted as a Pulp Fiction parody (and Pierce as The Gimp was a great sight gag), was really a spot on homage (to quote Abed) to another film, My Dinner with Andre. I love that movie. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea; it really is just two two old friends talking for nearly two hours about life, art, and how we relate to one another. But there is a mesmerizing quality to the picture, and if you watch it multiple times, you find your alliances shifting from Andre and his elevated notions to his far more practical but equally intelligent friend, Wally (writers Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, respectively). And damn if the Community crew didn’t have it down cold.

Danny Pudi as Abed as Chad as Andre perfectly captured Andre Gregory’s enlightened and delighted speech patterns when telling his tale of a new life discovered as an extra on Cougar Town (in the movie, Andre regales his friend with a story of a wild theatrical experiment in a Polish forest). But at the core, it’s the same story of recognizing the limits of one’s own skin and imagining then living another life that in some ways is more meaningful and possibly more real than the day to day. Joel McHale’s Jeff was reluctant to play along, but then he gets into the spirit of the thing with the Indian girl story (of course Jeff just wanted someone, anyone to think he was pretty). What hurt him most when the waiter spilled the beans? The fact that Abed executed the better film themed party? Or that he thought he and Abed were sharing a moment of truth when such a thing might not be possible with Abed or anyone? In the end, the friends actually do connect over the distance between them and a renewed appreciation for one another (Jeff likes Abed as he is and Abed just wants some time with his first friend at Greendale). The final scene, Andre’s haunting exit music over iconic Pulp Fiction images was maybe the last thing I ever expected to see, but it was beautiful and kind of touching. Well done, Community!

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