"Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" was FUCKING BRILLIANT, and is both the most ironic and perfect episode to air amidst all of this uncertainty about the future of Community (reality check: shows have been shelved mid-season before without being prematurely cancelled, i.e. Parks and Rec). Jim Rash was front-and-center and he KILLED IT, Joel McHale’s Dean impression killed me, the montage of Troy-Britta hug retakes was a smart and hilarious way to throw wood into THAT fire, and the Hearts of Darkness angle was an ingenious context for the mockumentary format. There were so many moving parts to this single plot (I forgot to mention LUIS FUCKING GUZMAN), and it all clicked to create this magic combination of clever, heartfelt, self-aware, and offbeat.
The reason I gush so much praise is that I can totally relate to the stress of writing an episode like this, in which the Dean is mounted into the leading role and the cinéma-vérité aesthetic is played with. Believe it or not, last year for my Sitcom Writing class, I wrote a spec script that is EERILY SIMILAR to this very episode, in that it operates on the basic narrative kernel of the Dean spearheading the production of a hip, ambitious promotional video for Greendale that winds up involving the study group and a one-off guest-star character. To be fair, our episodes only share this basic Dean-centric skeleton, while the rest of the anatomy differs substantially — whereas my script’s like a fat lazy kid, in that it clung too closely to season 1 canon, Megan Ganz’s is full of heart and lean with muscle that’s willing to push the characters forward… which is to be expected, since, ya know, I’m a (not-fat) lazy kid and this FUCKING BRILLIANT episode was carefully crafted by a staff of professionals. Still, it was both kind of validating and humbling to see the Community writers tap into the full potential of my premise and twist it with this awesomely referential Hearts of Darkness documentary angle.
However, if you feel like laughing AT something rather than laughing with, contact me at email@example.com and I’ll send you my spec… in fact, excuse me while I go burn my hard copy of it and spread the ashes all over my body.