Episode Title: "Advanced Gay"
Writer: Matt Murray
Director: Joe Russo
This week on "Community," someone dies! Also, Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase) becomes a gay icon.
It all starts when a pair of gay men approach Pierce with a canister of Hawthorne Wipes and ask for his autograph. Very quickly, the study group comes to realize that the Hawthorne wipes are the subject of a song by a gay artist that is a viral hit online. The Hawthorne Wipes were already popular among the gay community, for whispered reasons.
Naturally, Pierce is shocked! Outraged! And he isn't going to take it!!! At least until he sees the sales bump from all of the attention. Then Pierce isn't just cool with the gays, he's throwing a massive party in their honor and marketing the wipes specifically to them. If nothing else, Pierce can at least recognize a money making opportunity.
However, Pierce's relatively progressive stance doesn't sit well with his father, Cornelius Hawthorne (Larry Cedar); a much older man whom the group dubs as a racist version of Abed (Danny Pudi). Apparently, there is no ethnic group that Cornelius won't insult, including the Swedes and the Welsh. Pierce's old man even wears an Ivory toupee just to emphasize his wealth and means.
Although Pierce quickly bows to his father's demands and tries to cut all ties to the gay community and cancel the party, Jeff (Joel McHale) is livid and he tries to undermine him at every turn. Not because Jeff is particularly passionate about helping the gay community or even Pierce. Instead, Jeff sees a sinister father figure in Cornelius and projects his hatred of his own absentee father onto him. Britta (Gillian Jacobs) is at least partially right when she equates it to an Oedipal complex. But she also calls it an "edible complex" and no one takes her seriously.
In defiance of Cornelius, Jeff reinstates the party and even gets Piece to go along with it once Pierce sees how many fans that he has. At the biggest gay party Greendale has ever seen, Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Annie (Alison Brie) have a blast and Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) also thinks it's the greatest thing ever. I still don't think that the Dean has admitted to himself that he's gay, but he's clearly in his element. Head of Campus Security, Ben Chang (Ken Jeong) also seems to be enjoying it, even if he can't quite work out that it is a gay party.
But under increased pressure from Cornelius, Pierce publicly cuts ties to the gay community and he cancels the products pushed towards them, receiving a chorus of boos. Pierce even does the fake heart attack routine to escape what probably would have been a riot. Jeff catches up to the Hawthornes at the hospital and he lashes out at Cornelius with a well prepared speech that he's probably been saving for his own father. In response, Cornelius grasps his chest and collapses while Jeff mocks the Hawthorne "fake heart attack" routine.
Except this time it wasn't fake and at Cornelius' funeral, Jeff apologizes to Pierce for killing his dad. Except Pierce is not only okay with it, he bequeaths the Ivory wig to Jeff per the instructions in Cornelius' will. Then Pierce finally tells his father off in the eulogy. And it also brings us to one of the funniest jokes in the show in which Chang found a date at the funeral and mocks Jeff's single status as "Gaaaaaay!"
And yes, that's Chang's date. So, there's going to be a surprise waiting for him when he gets home to Greendale's basement….
The main subplot this week revolved around Troy (Donald Glover) and his aptitude for repair. I didn't expect the janitor (Jerry Minor) to revisit the plumbing angle from season one, but Troy actually seemed to enjoy the work this time. Troy's skills also attracted the attention of the Evil Vice Dean Laybourne (John Goodman), who attempts to recruit Troy for the Greendale air conditioning repair Annex.
The opening part of that sequence was hilariously surreal as Laybourne includes a culinary Astronaut and Black Hitler to make sure that no one would believe Troy and the other recruits if they ever spoke of the ritual. Troy aces the test and he gets the tour from Laybourne himself, including the so-called history of air conditioners and a breath-locked area that leads to a secret chamber with the perfect room temperature. It's crazy and silly, which is what "Community" does best.
Torn between the two worlds of plumbing and air condition repair, Troy asks Abed (Danny Pudi) for advice in a roundabout way that's difficult to explain. But it involves Abed speaking as Troy, Troy speaking as Abed with a little Han Solo thrown in. But it leads to Troy's decision… which is essentially no decision. He just wants to watch TV with Abed and cosplay as their favorite "Inspector Spacetime" characters.
"Advanced Gay" wasn't as impressively hilarious as the last two episodes of "Community," but it struck comedic gold with Cornelius and Laybourne. I think this might have been Laybourne's first episode on the series where he had scenes with someone other than the Dean. And I can't wait to see him go up against Jeff and the others down the line.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.