Greendale is under siege! Yes, thanks to the efforts of a mysterious hacker, Greendale student information — specifically the gangs’ — will be released to the public, and secrets will no longer be a secret. To start, I think that “Basic Email Security” was Community’s strongest episode in Season 6 so far. Every member of the gang is given time to shine, and the predicament tends to focus on a lot of the problems that we have seen come to light recently in this day and age. From the Sony leaks to the Edward Snowden bombshells, we as a society have come across our fair share of scenarios where we question what is private and what falls under the First Amendment. Community gleefully pokes fun at all sides, placing the gang into a situation where trust is shattered, and the Greendale crew is brought closer in the end because of it. It was an interesting story on top of being rip-roarious along the way; the best of Community in a nutshell.
Keith David’s new classmate Elroy really shines brightest in the gang, with some of the best lines and delivery. It’s amazing to think that he’s only been with the series for a handful of episodes, because he has already found his place, sprinting when one would think he would still be learning to walk. The premise of the episode — revolving around the misuse of technology and what may come about from said tampering — puts Elroy front and center, dropping glorious one-liners, and integrating himself as someone just as strange as his classmates. The best moment of the night for me was perhaps the revelation that he had been keeping correspondence with a family in Herndon, Virginia, pretending to be their cousin when accidentally contacted by them. There’s a tinge of sadness there, that this is the closest he may have to a loving relationship, but it was brought back to comedy by immediately rolling into the idea that he had been taking pictures of Britta, Annie, and Frankie in order to create a “video game about lady time travelers.” Keith David brings the hilarity here and he offers a fresh perspective that I feel would not have worked with, say, Chevy Chase’s Pierce. Not to mention, I was busting a gut when Elroy thought that by wearing a t-shirt that simply read “2015” he was being hip to the times and rubbing the gang’s faces in it.
Craig Cackowski returns as Greendale’s campus police officer, reintroducing himself to the gang as if he’s one of them, only to be met with blank stares. The officer is a great returning character, walking in step with the rest of the cast, delivering many of the night’s funniest lines. After introducing Greendale’s latest addition to the force, Officer Warburton, a young boy who is acting as their one and only “cyber officer”, he gleefully asks if the gang is “stoked” for Marvel’s upcoming Avengers movie. With this unlikely matchup, we’re also given a great finale to the episode, as the two lie in wait in their cruiser, bouncing lines off one another akin to Matthew McConaughey’s and Woody Harrelson’s characters in True Detective. As Cackowski inquires as to whether the boy believes in God, the cyber cop will have none of it as he rattles on about the things he’s seen on the job. It’s a fantastic scene where Community is able to revel in its absurdity.
The hackers are attacking Greendale in part due to the booking of an offensive stand-up comedian, Gupta Gupti Gupta, played by Broken Lizard’s own Jay Chandrasekhar. The gang, agreeing to go forward with the show regardless of the threat of their personal secrets being revealed, vow not to read one another’s personal emails should they be released. They are — and unsurprisingly — they do. At this point, the jokes come fast and furious as absurd secrets for each cast member are brought to light. From the aforementioned family talking with Elroy, to debates about Frankie’s sexuality, to Jeff having some strange correspondence with astronauts, to Chang ranking Britta and Annie in terms of looks, to Frankie corresponding by email with her dead sister, it’s an amazing, lightning-fast series of jokes that brings us further into the gang’s madness. Perhaps the funniest bit came from the revelation (to Elroy and Frankie) that Jeff and Britta dated in the past, that the gang was once a study group, and that Chang was actually once a teacher! The latter is of course almost insane to imagine with the character that Chang has become at this point in the series.
The show must go on however, and the gang lets in the only person who had actually wanted to be in attendance, “Fat Neal.” As the show starts, a crazed Greendale student body attempts to stop it, with the gang holding the doors shut as Gupta proceeds to rip into Neal, doing crowd work that only really works if an actual crowd is in attendance. It’s a hilarious series of events, especially with the gang proclaiming that they’re doing this for their fellow students’ right to freedom of speech. This, however, does not thrill the hacker, who proceeds to release the personal information of every student at Greendale, plunging the school into a Mad Max Road Warrior-like state. The best part of this being Garrett and Leonard nearly coming to blows with one another, until Garrett is dragged off, screaming about the injustice of it all.
The gang, sitting at their study table, quietly wondering what the heck the message of the events was exactly, only to agree that it was “Crime doesn’t pay” was simply amazing. The hacker’s identity, also being a kid, just pushed through the absurdity of everything, especially when he asks the cyber cop how he could possibly sleep at night, to which he responds, “With one eye open.” It’s ludicrous, it’s funny, it’s Community.
Episode Rating: ★★★★★ Excellent
– Frankie got much more to do this episode, which has been a complaint of mine these past few episodes. The revelation that she had been emailing her deceased sister was heart-breaking, yet somehow managed to get some laughs at the same time just because of the awkwardness of it.
– Britta’s rant against the government and society was amazing. It was pretty much just nonsensical rambling, but that’s Britta after all.
– Elroy: “It’s Vietnam baby, VIETNAM!”
– Jeff: “We prefer to be called people without color or vaginas.”
– Cop: “Let’s go, Fat Mitzvah!”
– Cop: “Stoked for Avengers? Avengers? Avengers? I hear Marvel got really hands-on this time and really penned-in Joss Whedon creatively. So, how could that go wrong?”