August 13, 2022

Clip present episodes are, by nature, redundant: all these tales cut back manufacturing prices and pad a season’s episode checklist by creating an episode that primarily options flashbacks from earlier episodes which have already been proven. Typically the clip present episode serves the aim of reminding viewers what has occurred up till this level or catching up viewers who won’t have seen each episode.

In the event that they run lengthy sufficient, each sitcom has a clip present episode ultimately. And whereas some might be entertaining and may even be a great way to compensate for every thing that’s occurred within the present up to now, the redundancy of the clip present episode continues to be a detrimental level in opposition to it, making episodes like this extremely skippable. Normally, nothing new occurs. There usually isn’t a lot new footage in addition to the occasional brief scene that options characters saying to one another, “Bear in mind when this occurred?”


Neighborhood, alternatively, made an extremely inventive clip present by subverting the very nature of any such episode in Season 2, Episode 21, “Paradigms of Human Reminiscence.” In brief, no beforehand used footage was included within the sequence of mini recaps. Not one of the clips have ever been proven earlier than, and most of them are utterly new circumstances, with a couple of minor exceptions.

Picture by way of NBC

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Through the last levels of a category mission involving the creation of a diorama, the examine group – Jeff (Joel McHale), Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Abed (Danny Pudi), Annie (Allison Brie), Troy (Donald Glover), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), and Pierce (Chevy Chase), assisted by Chang (Ken Jeong) – discovers {that a} thieving monkey stole little trinkets from them all year long. The episode begins with the everyday setup for a clip present by letting the characters reminisce about moments that had been proven in season one and up up to now in season two, together with a miniature sombrero from Jeff and Pierce’s overly bold Spanish mission (Season 1, Episode 2, “Spanish 101”) and Annie’s purple pens from the bottle episode (Season 2, Episode 8, “Cooperative Calligraphy”).

The very inclusion of Troy’s monkey harkens again to the hen mafia household the examine group shaped in Season 1, Episode 21 (“Modern American Poultry”). Any common clip present episode would launch right into a sequence of brief flashbacks from right here, utilizing footage beforehand proven. However Neighborhood branches off from that expectation very early.

When Britta brings up the time the group visited an Previous West vacationer city, the clip that the episode cuts to is totally new. Informal viewers who didn’t watch all of the episodes main as much as this one won’t even notice this, however the Previous West journey that retains being introduced up truly by no means occurred on digital camera earlier than. The identical goes for the Saint Patrick’s Day misadventure, the bounce rope recreation within the cafeteria, and plenty of different, more and more out-of-the-blue and odd circumstances, like a haunted mansion and a padded cell.

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Although the flashback clips are fast, and the characters behave as if the expertise was proven, there are additionally circumstances included within the clip present that aren’t completely new. Abed’s psychological breakdown from Season 2, Episode 12 (“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”) is revisited, however as a substitute of displaying materials that viewers are already accustomed to, these moments are revisited from totally different angles. The primary flashback exhibits the examine group strolling Abed by the winter wonderland in live-action, though the Christmas particular this was pulled from was completely stop-motion animated. The second flashback exhibits the identical animation however extends one of many scenes to incorporate flirting between Jeff and Britta.

This out-of-the-box strategy to the clip present episode shouldn’t be with out purpose. “Paradigms of Human Reminiscence” prioritizes character work, so there’s a full and dynamic story thread weaving all through the episode. When Abed exposes Jeff and Britta’s secret affair, the examine group is compelled to return to phrases with their chaotic model of friendship and the way they may work round poisonous preventing. The flashbacks are used as proof to help sure characters’ arguments, offering a enjoyable framework and purpose for the flashbacks’ existence. Abed launches right into a sequence of clips that time to Jeff and Britta being collectively, the examine group as a complete brings up all of the instances Jeff and Britta put themselves earlier than the group, and Britta gives proof that everybody has sooner or later been egocentric. Even the Dean (Jim Rash) turns into a sufferer of the group’s more and more aggressive flashback fights.

The jabs get extra private (and the flashbacks extra stylistic and hilarious) as Annie describes seemingly mundane and regular interactions with Jeff by the lens of her crush on him as “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles performs all through the montage. To make a degree, Jeff does the identical factor with interactions between essentially the most random pairing, Abed and Pierce, and the identical tune is used, turning the romantic montage parody right into a parody of itself.

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“Paradigms of Human Reminiscence” has a method of spiraling into a number of ranges of chaos. Because the group laments that they at all times combat, the flashbacks turn out to be steps backward in time to previous arguments and the way they at all times finish the identical method. One of these inception-level spiraling is an excessive amount of for Troy, who screams and suffers a nosebleed, however this path for the episode was foreshadowed properly within the very first scene, the place the examine group’s diorama is proven to be a diorama of themselves constructing one other diorama.

Whereas the clips are brief and have an analogous feeling to the common clip present, they’re utterly new and weave collectively to kind a cohesive thought of how the examine group interacts with one another, highlighting its most dysfunctional moments in addition to its most heartwarming ones. Fortunately, Jeff is ready to take management of the state of affairs, as at all times, however even the traditional Winger speech is subverted: as a result of it’s unfold out throughout totally different ranges of clip present flashbacks, Jeff’s speech turns into incomprehensible nonsense. But it surely doesn’t actually matter what he says; the truth that Jeff brings issues again to the established order is what issues as a result of there’s peace inside the examine group once more.

This one episode might be seen as a degree of reference that signifies how Neighborhood walks a high-quality line between being your common sitcom and breaking all the foundations. Almost each storytelling component included in clip exhibits, in addition to a few of Neighborhood’s personal tropes, are subverted indirectly. This turns the clip present episode, which has earned a popularity of being non-creative, into a novel expertise. In contrast to many different clip present episodes from sequence previous and current, these subversive components make “Paradigms of Human Reminiscence” unmissable.


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