It was only a matter of time.
That’s right, season 3 of Community kicked off last night with the inevitable parody of that other campus-set series about students who never actually seem to do any studying: Glee. But though it was a sequined, disco-ball-lit musical number with balletic lifts and jazz hands galore — and Shirley and the dean donning what must be leftover, '70s-soul-diva get-ups from Sister Act — the opener was really all Greendale with only a smidgen of Lima. “We’re going to have more fun and be less weird than the first two years combined,” seemed like tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of criticism that Community can be hyperbolically cartoonish (remember the Kentucky Fried Chicken Eleven Herbs and Space Simulator?). But, hey, at least Abed didn’t start singing “La Jazz Hot.”
In non-singing-and-dancing reality, summer was over. But it didn’t leave without bringing about a few changes. Dean Pelton put on a suit and basically declared there would be no more Mr. Nice Dean after his school was virtually drowned in Day-Glo during last year’s paintball tournament. He also grew a goatee, so we knew he really meant business. Starburns embellished his wardrobe with a lizard. Abed and Troy finally decided to move in together — even registering at Linens & Things to make it official.
And an evolved Pierce had an “enlightful” experience at the LaserLotusCelebrityCenter. When he gently put his hand on the study group’s table and declared that he could “accept that this table has a kind of magic in it,” he seemed like he was following the absurdly sunny path marked by A Serious Man’s Rabbi Scott. I half thought he was going to turn and say, “Just look at that parking lot!” Unmoved, Jeff still didn’t let Pierce rejoin the group, even though the grizzled billionaire single-handedly saved Greendale’s hide when he won the paintball tournament. In fact, Jeff was so adamant that he all but said he’d rather break up the group entirely than have Pierce still involved.
Still, I suppose nobody had it worse than Chang, now reduced to living in the air vents. At least, nobody had it worse than Chang until Abed discovered that the new season of his beloved Cougar Town would be pushed back 'til midseason. I loved that Obi-Wan Kenobi-style Krayt Dragon call Abed let out to express his anguish over not being able to see Courteney Cox & Co. until January.
NEXT: Evil deans and evil deeds