Season 2 is a lot less…bad than I remember. My memory was particularly harsh on this season, because I viewed it as where I can identify the problems the show began to make for itself. That’s still true, but it’s not a bad season of television.
Problem #1: the school doesn’t feel like a school anymore. Whereas the campus was large and detailed in the first season, you can see the signs of restriction in the second. Less classrooms, more study room (their preferred hangout), lots of cafeteria and cafeteria breakroom. It hasn’t reached bad proportions yet, but the school feels smaller.
Problem #2: not knowing who the villain is. Is it Chang? It should be. But they took away his power by proving he’s not a Spanish teacher. Now he’s just a really weird student. They clearly have no idea what to do with Ken Jeong’s comedic genius. And they decided to just go the extra weird direction. City College might be the villain but they aren’t around enough to truly unite the cast. And you can see signs of Chevy Chase’s Pierce being the villain, but I think that’s because everyone thought Chevy was a dick behind the scenes.
I would say the over reliance on theme episodes, but too many of them are so memorable it’s hard to count it as a fault. Maybe personally, since some of them seem to be exploitative of Abed’s mental state rather than just good-natured fun.
Still laugh out loud funny and still incredibly creative. Community chooses to embrace it’s weirdness rather then stay grounded. In some ways it’s bold. In others, it shrinks a place that you or I might actually attend into a place no one should attend.
3 out of 4 stars.