Community S5 Ep09 – VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing

In “VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing”, Jeff, Shirley, and Hickey are tasked with the duty of organizing a Greendale storage room. Through their organization progress they discover a slew of mint condition, unopened Chemistry textbooks. Jeff and Hickey’s first thought is too make money off their discovery and after they convince Shirley to go along with them they set their plan into motion. Meanwhile, Abed and his girlfriend, Rachel (Brie Larson) have a night in with buttered noodles and Annie and her brother. Ulterior motives begin to arise as Annie and Abed each want their respective party members to move in with them and they decide settle it with a game of “Pile of Bullets”, a VHS based game from the 90s.

Community - Season 5

Chang tied up for knowing too much

This episode had two arcs that were both solid and hilarious. The textbook arc saw Shirley struggling with selling possibly stolen textbooks for her own benefit and then giving in, taking control, and running the actual deal. Its always funny seeing Shirley take control of an immoral situation. She’s always happy and kind but is able to quickly shift to mean and controlling when needed. She even goes about ordering Hickey around, who doesn’t seem like the type of man to take orders from anybody. As their plot unfolds Britta eventually enters the deal with Chang accidentally becoming witness to their possible crime leading to him being tied up.

The Annie and Abed arc saw the two battling each other in “Pile of Bullets” for who gets to choose their next roommate without either of their choices being privy to this knowledge. “Piles of Bullets”, a western themed card game inspired by old 90s VHS games and made up for this episode, is probably one of the most confusing games ever created. Because of their determination, Annie and Abed, start off confused by the games rules but eventually end up becoming masters at the game in an attempt to beat each other. Its hilarious to see the two go crazy together, pretend-shooting their TV screen and literally spinning like tornadoes. Both Annie’s brother and Abed’s girlfriend eventually become uninterested and uncomfortable with the situation, as they should, and aren’t pleased when they find out that Annie and Abed have been playing to see who becomes their new roommate. Annie and Abed’s stunt nearly ruins Abed’s relationship with Rachel. Annie’s brother’s reaction to the pictures of Troy on their wall also show that Troy’s absence has left an emptiness in their lives and might have contributed to their craziness.

Community S5 Ep09 - VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing

Dean Pelton freestlying

The two most hilarious moments in this episode in my opinion were from Jim Rash’s Dean Pelton and special guest star Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan. Vince Gilligan played the man on the VHS for “Pile of Bullets”. His role as a mad cowboy ordering around Annie and Abed through a TV screen was surprising. I only know Gilligan as a television writer, so I didn’t expect to see him portray an insane board game cowboy. Dean Pelton’s strange “no pay day” rap freestyle in the episode’s opening started off cheesy and generic and transformed into aggressive and violent to the point where Dean Pelton freaked himself out and screamed that he didn’t know where that came from.

This episode was hilarious from start to finish and, as usual, had a lot of heart in it. When Rachel walked out on Abed, following his competitive and awkward game of “Pile of Bullets”, I felt for him. He screwed up trying to speed up their relationship progress too quickly and freaking her out. His apology at the end was sweet and sincere, and very Abed. I’m glad to see it all worked out for them in the end. The textbook arc with Shirley and the rest didn’t have as much heart in it, but was hilarious nonetheless. It ended with them finding out that the textbooks they wanted so bad to profit from were actually misprints. Everyone was tied up, accused, and mistrusted for no reason. Overall, “VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing” was another great episode.

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