I recently became aware that Conan O’Brien wrote a pilot back in the 90s and was intrigued. Conan is one of the most talented comedy writers and so I had to check it out. The name… Lookwell, staring Adam West. You will not be disappointed. Adam deserves at least an Emmy nomination for his work. The pilot was never picked up sadly though so don’t worry about binge watching the first season. If you are fans of Conan you will not be sorry. Enjoy!
Some background from Wikipedia:
Lookwell was a television pilot written and produced by Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel (of SNL fame). It starred Adam West. The pilot was broadcast on NBC in July 1991 but was not picked up as a series despite being a “personal favorite” of NBC chairman Brandon Tartikoff. A washed-up TV action hero—who at the peak of his career was ceremonially deputized by local law enforcement—falsely believes he can solve crimes in real life. The pilot was scrapped. O’Brien jokingly stated that when the pilot aired, it “was the second-lowest rated television show of all time. It’s tied with a test pattern they show in Nova Scotia.”
Episode three finds Jeff working on one of his eventual favorite pastimes, to find the ultimate blow off class to fill out his schedule. Just why he is doing that this far into the semester is a bit of a mystery but lets not drag things down with logic here. He settles on a class that appears to be about living in the moment taught by John Michael Higgins in an awesome guest spot that straddles the line between homage/parody of Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. Blow off class locked in end of episode you ask? Well no. Jeff of course finds it hard to fake seizing the day and hilarity ensues as he has to “work” at his blow off class because Professor Whitman doesn’t buy his day seizing. At the end Jeff finally gets to seize his day and kiss Britta but she only did it as a favor to help him pass his class unbeknownst to him at the time.
Meanwhile Troy sneezes like a girl in a story that doesn’t really go anywhere but gives us a classic Troy line and serves to build Troy and Pierce’s relationship. We also meet Abed’s dad and Britta decides to “Britta” Abed’s relationship with his dad by paying for him to take a film class against his father’s wishes. Britta and Jeff somehow become Abed’s parents by default by apparently invoking the little known Arabic custom that if you pay for someone’s film class their parents can choose to pass along parental rights to you by default. Abed immediately needs to film a movie because its freakin film class. This goes as well as you would expect with Abed causing havoc for everyone as he films his movie. Jeff breaks out the Jeff Winger speech tm to get Abed’s dad to listen to them and Abed shows his movie which he has tricked Jeff and Britta into reenacting moments from his life with his parents. The movie serves as a touching message to his dad that conveys how he feels about his parents breaking up and it being his fault because he is weird and different. Abed’s dad decides that if this will help him to communicate with others than its okay for Abed to keep studying film and the restraints on meta-Abed are removed for good. To quote Annie…”Awwwww”
If you can say Community has a formula in season one then that formula is firming up by episode 3. The formula being: Jeff tries to take the easy way out to get something he wants. Problems arise. He Jeff Winger speeches his way out of it to mixed results and everyone finds themselves better off even if everything didn’t go to plan. Oh and miscellaneous characters carry on misadventures and character growth in the background.
This episode ticks all the boxes, its funny, heartwarming and the story is mostly all there to build up our characters and their relationship. To use a sports analogy, yes it was a hit but its another double instead of a Home Run. The home runs are coming though and anyone who stayed with Community this long was about to find out just why this show is so great. I’ll give this one 7 Annie “awwwws” out of 10.
Shirley: “Isn’t Abed’s dad a hardcore Muslim? They aren’t as understanding as Christians you can get your head cut off with a salami sword.”
Annie: “Shirley that is the most racist thing I have ever heard.”
Jeff: “Pierce will beat that in one minute” (sets watch)
Jeff: “Hey Troy sneezes like a girl”
Troy: “How about I pound you like a boy, that didn’t come out right.”
Shirley: “Why don’t you all just leave him alone with his cute little baby sneezes.”
Its time to meet Senor Chang as our group gets their first (that we see) team Spanish assignment which I guess is reason enough to call it Spanish 101. Partners are randomly assigned so of course Jeff trades with Abed (at the cost of his shirt which in a funny sight gag puts Jeff in Abeds smaller shirt) so he can partner with Britta but Britta changed with Pierce who paid her $100 to switch because he wants to be friends with Jeff for some reason. Britta said it was something about being part of a family after wasting away his life or something. How Pierce knew anything about Jeff trading with Abed is beyond me. I’m thinking perhaps Pierce actually wanted to spend time with Abed. I guess if we are calling that into question we need to know how both Jeff and Pierce knew what other pieces were “randomly” placed under which desk so they knew who to switch with in the first place. Suspension of disbelief I guess…
Anywho akwardness ensues as Pierce drags out the assignment as an excuse to spend time with Jeff. Jeff puts up with it for five minutes, gets frustrated and walks out on Pierce because he is still vying for Britta first and foremost. Pierce returns the favor by ruining Jeff’s romantic protest moment with Brita before being lit on fire and falling into a fountain under the influence of “Hemingway’s lemonade”.
Jeff sucks up his pride (to impress Britta of course, that was the only motivation in these early episodes) and gives us a very brief speech which I guess qualifies as this episodes “Jeff Winger speech” before launching into a montage of crazy costumes and pretend play acting set to Aimee Mann’s haunting “Wise Up” that is Jeff and Pierce’s conversations in Spanish class.
The montage is a masterpiece by the way. It would be interesting to know if the writers actually had a story in their heads for these scenes that tied it all together or it was just to put together as many random ideas as possible.
Senior Chang is so impressed that he gives them an F and F minus (not sure who got the minus but I’m going with Pierce. Other than that they live happily ever after and Brita is impressed that Jeff would do such a selfless act for Pierce but no longer sees Jeff as a sexual object after hinting at something extremely offensive that occurred during the presentation. She of course looks back when walking off and that gives Jeff all the ammo he needs to continue his pursuit for another day. The end.
In the background Annie and Shirley decide to get political and protest reporters getting killed in Guatemala. Not a great story but it gives Annie and Shirley a chance to start playing into their characters and Britta gets her first opportunity to “Britta” something throwing a wet blanket on the rally before realizing that she is all talk and no action.
We also get our first glimpses of Troy and Abed teaming up as someone must of suddenly realized how great Donald Glover and Danny Pudi play off of each other.
We wrap things up with the epic Spanish Rap bumper (Have I mentioned I hate people who disable embedding on youtube videos? You are putting it up on youtube, its a little late to be protective over your content at that point isn’t it? especially content that doesn’t even belong to you. I digress.) as Troy and Abed take a firm grasp of their hold over the majority of the bumper scenes which serve to cement their sometimes creepy relationship.
Good moments but not a complete offering from beginning to end. I’ll go another 6 Abed TV show references out of 10.
Jeff: “You know what today is? Its the two week anniversary of my horrible first impression.”
Britta: “Theres a card for that?”
Jeff: “Well not specifically but if you think of Grandsons as a metaphor for friendship I think you’ll agree with this transformer here that its time for ours to become a man, by reading from the Torah.”
Britta: “You’re cute but selfish and narcissistic to the point of near delusion.”
Jeff: “She said I was cute.”
Annie: “We can have a candlelight vigil like lesbians have on the news!”
Shirley: “I can make brownies!”
Chang: “In espanol my nickname is EL TIGRE CHINO because my knowledge will bite her face off. So don’t question Senor Chang, or you’ll get bit, ya bit, YA BIT! Friday manana, we’ll be having conversations with the rest of the class…”
Pierce: “Its called hyperverility, apparently my sperm shoot through the eggs like bullets. Can you believe that?”
Jeff: “I can’t but you do so thats fine.”
Jeff: “The woman I kinda like is out there in the moonlight caring about something stupid and this is my chance to show her that I care enough to act like I care about it too!”
If you frequent this site (and well I’m not sure who doesn’t) then you know by now that I am a pretty big fan of Community. Not communities in general mind you (when it comes to people I share similar thoughts to Roy from the IT Crowd) but rather the internets favorite ratings challenge sitcom du jour (which still means friendship if you were wondering ,2001 reference that nobody got in 2001 for the win!!!!) Community.
As any real Communist knows (thats my phrase for Community fans, has it caught on yet?) season 4 (#4seasonsandacancelation) premieres tomorrow night on your favorite NBC affiliate at 7:00 PM. In honor of our merry band of misfits yours truly has decided to take a trip down memory lane, all the way back to 2009!!! ooooooooooohhhhhh
If you don’t remember 2009, well ask your parents about it. It was a simpler time. I mean just look at some of the things that were going on in 2009:
-Gas was only $2.73 per gallon and a movie ticket was only $7.50!
-H1N1 aka Swine Flu forced everyone to live isolated in their homes.
-The Apple iPhone was the top selling cell phone
-Barrack Obama was inaugurated as president of the US
And in honor of that momentous occasion I am going to kick off my own Community episode guide which for lack of better term I am dubbing “Community Chest”!
Anything to add Mr. Winger?
SEASON 01: EPISODE 01 – “Pilot”
The creatively titled “pilot” does what pilots do and introduces us to the Greendale 7, inept Dean Pelton and Professor Ian Duncan who I can only guess was intended to be a more regular cast member when the pilot was shot but was only in a couple more episodes in season one.
The story sees our heroes halfway through their first week at Greendale. Student Jeff Winger, former “Genius at Law” whose wardrobe in this episode consists of an untucked button up shirt, sweater, sportscoat (long sleeves, sweater AND sportscoat in September?!? Talk about your layering.) and Addidas sweatpants, decides he A – wants to hook up with the “hot blonde from Spanish class” and B – wants to uses his past deeds as a suspended lawyer to cheat his way through community college, get a new degree and a return to his past glory.
He kinda/sorta attempts to blackmail the chronically drunk, smarmy British professor Ian Duncan, who he previously got out of a DUI with a vague reference to 9/11 (not the last time we hear Jeff use 9/11 to win an argument) and convincing the jury Duncan’s only real crime was loving America. More on this later.
Meanwhile, we get to the meat and potatoes of the episode as Jeff pretends to be a Spanish tutor and creates a fake Spanish study group to spend time with Britta, said hot blonde from Spanish class. The plan appears to be going well but Abed, having been invited by Britta to what she thought was a real study group, shows up to join. Abed of course invites Annie, Shirley, Pierce and Troy and hijinks ensue. Everything falls apart when Jeff decides to lead the group to destruction by pulling their puppety strings in order to kill the study group and take Britta to dinner but she sees through his lies and now won’t go out with him. So Jeff gives us his first “Jeff Winger speech” to bring it all back together, dub the group a “community” and Shirley gives us her first “that’s nice”. Unfortunately embedding was disabled on this clip and I hate to encourage that but it is a link to the speech if you care:
It’s all for not though as Britta kicks Jeff out of the group for wasting her time. Faced with no study group and an envelope of fake test answers he bartered for with Duncan Jeff realizes hes going to fail tomorrows Spanish test. The group takes him back and we are off to the races. Oh and no bumper on the end with Troy and Abed, what a difference a few years makes.
Its an entertaining enough episode but saddled with the job of introducing all of our main characters the episode can never really break through on its own as a complete half hour story. Also, after three seasons it’s a little jarring seeing how different each character acts, you know before they all settled into their stereotypes. It almost makes you wonder if the original intent for these characters lay down a different path then what we got. For example Britta doesn’t Britta anything as the object of Jeff’s affection and Troy is purely focused on being a jock with no hinting at his future geek cred or relationship with Abed and we see hints of a closer relationship with Troy and Pierce than with Abed. Overall the episode does everything it should do as a pilot but they would need some time to find their momentum.
I give it a firm 6 cool cool cools out of 10
Brita: “I dropped out of high school because I thought it would somehow impress Radiohead”
Jeff: “You’d be suprised what gets back to those guys”
Duncan: I’m a professor you can’t talk to me that way.
Jeff: A six year old girl could talk to you that way.
Duncan: Yes because that would be adorable
Jeff: No because you are a 5 year old girl and there is a pecking order!
Jeff: “What am I supposed to drive?”
Duncan: “You can take this car, its good for the earth.”
Jeff: “Yeah well so is wiping your butt with a leaf but its not how a man gets around!”
Jeff: “We can sympathize with a pencil, we can forgive a shark and we can give Ben Afflek an Academy Award for screenwritting”.
Pierce: you know I have been divorced seven times. Sometimes I think I’m doing something wrong.
I’m bringing back the “Favorites” page by showing what my influences were as a child, when Droppin.com first dropped, and my current sources of enjoyment. These lists are no means exhaustive but they are mainly highlights that have good memories associated with them. Seven, I expect to see your matrix soon.
Rich Gannon & Tyrone Wheatley
Marcus Allen, Howie Long, & Bo Jackson
Wayne, Ty, Psycho T, Danny
Felton, May, McCants
Jordan & Tyler Hansbrough
Baseball All-stars (Nintendo 8 bit)
Flight of the Conchords
Dukes of Hazard
Michael Jackson & New Edition
Michael Haggins – Daybreak (Abed hum remix)
Tribe Called Quest & Big Daddy Kane
Nike “Just Do It”
Gatorade “Win From Within”
Mac vs. PC
Southwest “It must be football season.”
Nike “Just Do It”
I don’t really watch movies
Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low
Nike Zoom Kobe
Nike Total Package (Low & High)
Air Jordan XVIII Low OG (Baby Blue)
“…stop, collaborate and listen.”
“Be creators of circumstance, not creatures of circumstance”
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow” -Einstein