Community recap: Not What, But When

Troy and Pierce deal with their respective daddy issues
Ep. 06 | Aired Nov 3, 2011

THE MAGIC TABLE Jeff (Joel McHale), Annie (Alison Brie), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) find out that not even mystical furniture is enough to overcome an "Edible Complex"

Justin Lubin/NBC

Over the years a lot of female Star Trek fans have written slash fiction imagining a romance between Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. My initial reaction to that is something like Troy's "Hey girl, how you livin'?" But the thinking is that those women yearn for the kind of friendship Kirk and Spock have so much that they imagine that there’s even something more there. Friendship is, after all, the best foundation for romance. So it’s not difficult to imagine why Britta, Annie, and Shirley have suspected there’s something more going on with Troy and Abed on Community.

I mean, Trobed finish each other’s sentences, know exactly what the other is thinking, and provide mutual emotional support. At the end of last night’s episode “Advanced Gay,” Troy even decided to put his relationship with Abed ahead of his career. Oh, and there is more than a little Kirk/Spock in their sci-fi alter egos, Inspector Spacetime and Constable Reggie.

Like it’s been for much of this season, Troy’s story in “Advanced Gay” was about growing up. But being a man has little to do with chomping on candy cigarettes and restocking your toilet olives. It means choosing what you want to do over what somebody else (often a father or father-figure, in the case of Vice Dean Laybourne) wants you to do. Troy discovered that he’s a wizard at plumbing and air conditioning. In fact, he has such skills that I’m starting to think he could repair an F-15 with his mind alone, even without being sewn to Abed.

After repairing a toilet with savant-like aptitude, Troy found himself kidnapped -- with a bag over his head, no less! -- by the Greendale Plumbing Department’s archrival, Vice Dean Laybourne, the head of the Air Conditioning Repair Annex. Forget Dan on Roseanne. Maybe Laybourne and the late Mr. Connor (Yes, forget that whole lottery thing. He died, remember?) share a blue-collar background, but the similarity ends there. This is the demonic John Goodman of the Coen brothers oeuvre. I half expected him to give Troy a box which may or may not contain a human head. Apparently, the Annex is like Greendale’s Skull & Bones, more a secret society than a fraternity, with a heavy dose of Manchurian Candidate garden-party surrealism, including a Panini-making astronaut and black Hitler. (Oh my God, John Goodman’s Mad Man Mundt in Barton Fink says, “Heil, Hitler!” My comparison is air-tight!)

Like the Masons or the Others on Lost, the Annex charts its roots to ancient Egypt. Palm fronds were the first air conditioners, after all. “Now, we are the Pharaohs,” Laybourne said, leading Troyinto the room -- a room that is perfectly, completely conditioned, that is the baseline for what we laymen call “room temperature.” “I can’t tell where the air ends and my skin begins,” Troy said, succumbing to the utter sublimity of that perfectly controlled environment.

NEXT: Daddy Hawthorne runs afoul of a Welshman!

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