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IGN Reviews – Community: GI Jeff

On 04, Apr 2014 | In Press & News | By SBI

Note: Full spoilers for the episode follow.


To get a bit Abed-meta, one term I think is horribly overused in the comments of an IGN review is “biased.” Most of the time it’s used to mean “You have a different opinion than me.” As in, “You disliked something I loved, therefore you are ‘biased.’” But let me say that when it comes to this episode of Community… I am pretty biased; albeit in the positive sense. I’m biased by my absolute love of G.I. Joe growing up and the fact that the cartoon was my favorite of all the “toy commercials disguised as TV shows” of the time, like Transformers and He-Man.

There are no doubt some Community fans who never watched G.I. Joe and I have no idea how this episode will play for them. I’d hope they could still appreciate how odd it was and jokes about how no one dies in a carton. But certainly, the more familiar you are with G.I. Joe, the more this worked. And it sure worked for me.

This was an episode absolutely ingrained in those old G.I. Joe cartoons. It nailed everything about their style and dynamic, and even included several members of the original voice cast (the most notable exception sadly being Christopher Collins, AKA Chris Latta, as Cobra Commander, who passed away in 1994). There was something remarkable about seeing the characters of Community interact with the likes of Duke and Flint – or to see Jeff kill poor Destro, as he broke the rules of the cartoon universe.

When I spoke to Dan Harmon about this episode, he had a lot of praise for Hasbro, who were involved the whole way – as they’d have to be, given this wasn’t just parody but actually using the exact names, characters and images. Harmon noted the toy company were surprisingly open to how Community wanted to use their product and I have to second Harmon’s thoughts, because “G.I. Jeff” took time to parody all the things worth parodying about G.I. Joe (and shows of its era), from the re-use of animation segments, to the unrealistic nature of the fights to the fact that, ultimately, well, “This is all just a cartoon about action figures for kids!”

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