Community S5 Ep11 – G.I. Jeff

Community S5 Ep11 - G.I. Jeff

The G.I. Joe toy line originally debuted in 1964, meaning the property has now been around for 50 years! To celebrate this special occasion Community has given us “G.I. Jeff”, an episode almost completely animated in the same style as 1985 cartoon series, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.

Community S5 Ep11 - G.I. Jeff


“G.I. Jeff” drops us right into the animated action without reason or justification for why everyone is suddenly animated. Jeff Winger and his study group are each given very G.I. Joe-inspired names that match each of their personalities. Jeff is Wingman, Annie is Tight Ship, Britta is Buzzkill, and Shirley is Three Kids.

During a battle between G.I. Joe and their nemesis, Cobra, Jeff mercilessly kills Cobra member Destro. Satirizing the idea that no one ever dies in G.I. Joe cartoons, Jeff and the rest of his friends are detained for actually killing an enemy. While in a G.I. Joe prison cell they meet Abed’s character, Fourthwall. Unlike the rest of the team Abed’s Fourthwall knows that they are in a cartoon, and he suggests they head to a place called Greendale for answers. At the sound of the word “Greendale” Jeff reacts harshly and begins to see glimpses of 80s/90s style G.I. Joe action figure commercials in which they are all toys, before he ends up passing out. When he comes to they escape and make their way to Greendale, with both G.I. Joe and Cobra on their tail.

When they get to Greendale they see that it’s run by Cobra Commander and his Vice Cobra Assistant Commander (who is actually Dean Pelton). Jeff begins to remember what Greendale is to him. He then remembers that he passed out after drinking some scotch and swallowing some age-reversing pills, because he was depressed about his age. The whole G.I. Joe animated fantasy ends up being all in Jeff’s head. Fortunately, Abed modifies Jeff’s jet pack to escape the animated layer of his fantasy, into and out of the toy layer, and eventually waking him up.

Jeff refuses Abed’s help at first because he wants to stay in his fantasy world forever. He tries to escape, but is eventually captured by Cobra Commander and G.I. Joe leader, Duke. He tells them he wants to stay in their fantasy world, but changes his mind once Cobra Commander and Duke basically reveal there is no sex or alcohol in their world. Jeff escapes and uses Abed’s jet pack idea, allowing him wake up in a hospital bed surrounded by his “live-action” friends.

Community S5 Ep11 - G.I. Jeff (1)

Tight Ship & Buzzkill

“G.I. Jeff” was amazing. The animation was on par with the older G.I. Joe cartoons and served as a great tribute. The action figure commercials interspersed within the episode were also a nice homage and made me nostalgic for that era. The voice acting for the classic G.I. Joe characters Destro, Duke, and Cobra Commander were all on point, especially Cobra Commander, who was voiced by Rob Schrab (Rick and Morty). “G.I. Jeff” even included a full opening credits sequence in the same style as G.I. Joe and a “knowing is half the battle”-style PSA as the stinger scene. Community really went all out on the creative and technical side with this one.

In addition to being a creative achievement for the series, “G.I. Jeff” was also very funny and original. The concept is very similar to the season two episode “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” but different because the events are occurring only to Jeff rather than everyone being imaginative and freely participating in his fantasy. I think a fan of G.I. Joe, whether it be of the cartoons or toys, would appreciate this more since there are a lot of referential jokes thrown about. Although, I think it was funny enough for most to get a kick out of it and I feel like every one who watches Community has some sense of what G.I. Joe is anyway.

I thought all of the characters’ names for their animated counterparts were clever. Shirley’s Three Kids always has to mention how she has three kids. Britta is named Buzzkill because she has a buzz saw attachment for her arm and is a total buzzkill in reality. Abed’s Fourthwall is pretty obviously named, because he’s able to break the fourth wall unlike the other characters. Annie is named Tight Ship for her desire to be in control most of the time. Their names were also a play on the actual goofy G.I. Joe names like Storm Shadow, Ripcord, Snake Eyes, etc.

Some highlights in this episode that got me laughing a lot in particular were a random joke involving a Smash Mouth poster, satirizing the reuse of animation to cut corners, and Cobra Commander saying “for realsies” in his iconic snake-like voice.

Overall, “G.I. Jeff” was very funny and extremely well made and thought-out. It’s easily one of the season’s best episodes, and I actually plan on watching it a second time very soon just to see if I missed anything.

Watch “G.I. Jeff” on Amazon Instant Video.

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