Ben Chang is finally the big movie star we always knew he could be on Community season 6, episode 8. Check out our recap and share your thoughts on “Intro to Recycled Cinema.”
After a relatively slow start, Community has really hit its stride mid-season with two stellar back-to-back episodes. Much like last week’s marketing-heavy drama, this week’s “Intro to Recycled Cinema” deals with the very real fear of never being able to escape Greendale.
When the episode begins, one character has done just that: escape. One-time teacher and all-around scamp Ben Chang has become a famous actor thanks to a ham commercial that features his ubiquitous catchphrase, “Ham, girl!” Steven Spielberg wants him to play the color blue in his upcoming Play-Doh movie and as one interviewer puts it: “Ben Chang is on a rocket ship to eternal validation.”
The study group he left behind isn’t happy for him, however. He has rejected and abandoned his former Greendale classmates (and one-time students). Frankie and Jeff get a hair-brained idea when Abed opines that he’ll never get to finish his police officer movie of which Chang was the star. Since Abed got Chang to sign a release form, Greendale now owns the rights to international movie star Ben Chang’s first ever feature film.
Abed is hesitant to turn the roughly two-minute footage of Chang behind a desk into a feature film, but Frankie brings in her friend Maury (Steve Guttenberg) to convince Abed to commit. Abed only agrees once he’s given final cut and permission to make it a good movie, something that the rest of the group doesn’t really care about.
To capitalize on the Chris Pratt-ization of entertainment, Abed decides to turn the two-minute Chang clip into Chief Starr and the Raiders of the Galaxy. Jeff and Britta are outer-space people (never quite specified exactly what), while Annie is the pleasure droid-turned-bounty-hunter Scorpio 9. Through the magic of Elroy’s CGI wizardry, Ben Chang’s brief appearance answering the phone is somehow stretched out into an 87-minute feature.
Throughout, Abed is consistently disappointed that he has to move past scenes quicker than he’d like to. The film has to be finished by Monday and Abed can’t be his usual perfectionist self. Jeff tries to help Abed using a gym analogy. Making a movie is like working out at the gym. At some point, you have to step out of the gym so people can see your sweet muscles.
Abed doesn’t really see how this is applicable but soldiers on anyway because he’s a team player. The movie is finished and, surprisingly, everyone loves it. Maury says they just have to cut six minutes out of it before it can go to the distributor. When it’s suggested that Jeff’s death scene is cut out, Jeff freaks out and steals the computer to cut the movie himself.
When Abed catches up to Jeff, Jeff reveals that he is upset because he feels he’ll never get out of Greendale. Chang’s already gotten out, Annie has all the potential in the world and even Abed, when told to make a deliberately bad movie, still somehow turned in something pretty good. Abed, who has always been Jeff’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, tells him, “If we keep the cameras rolling, eventually Annie will reach down her shirt and pull out a laser bomb. Life is a big, long, pointless movie. Every once in awhile…Annie reaches down her shirt.”
“So we keep rolling,” Jeff responds. Every episode of this show should end with a life lesson that revolves around Annie’s boobs.