Pierce has been a background player for most of this season. He was relegated to a wheelchair for so much of it that I almost didn’t notice his presence. It’s been a while since we’ve had a Pierce-centric plot line. “Celebrity Pharmacology” attempted to deliver one, but didn’t really succeed.

Part of the reason why the rest of the study group lets Pierce get away with his behaviour is that he’s very naïve. He may know a lot about selling moist towelettes, but he remains stubbornly oblivious to some other things, like etiquette. Sometimes, this naïveté can be touching, like Pierce’s continued belief that his mother was in the tube of liquid in “The Psychology of Letting Go.” But at other times, it can be downright annoying, and I don’t think that Pierce did enough to redeem his unlikeableness in this episode.

Instead, this episode devolved into a display of Pierce’s selfish, immature behaviour, coupled with a stubborn refusal to recognize that what he was doing was wrong. In some ways, this plot line was reminiscent of “Advanced Criminal Law,” but in that instance, Pierce actually believed that he could write a good school song; he wasn’t being totally selfish. Here, he was acting solely to boost his own bruised ego, and the Hawthorne Wipes ad reel wasn’t enough to excuse his behaviour.

All of this played out against the backdrop of a largely unfunny series of scenes about an anti-drug assembly. I don’t know if I can recall another specific instance of a story on a television show where a presentation ironically delivered the opposite of its intended message, but even so, the plot felt hackneyed. The plot line played like an extended version of Abed’s “Don’t use condoms” gag from “The Politics of Human Sexuality,” and it got less and less funny as the episode wore on.

The episode was redeemed by the two subplots. The first one, about Shirley and Chang, provided a few easy laughs, but the second one about Jeff sexting Britta’s nephew was absolutely hilarious, precisely because it was so inappropriate, and it just kept getting more and more disgusting. Also, the scene where Jeff desperately tried to share the blame for his mistake with Abed absolutely slayed me.

Finally, I have a strange complaint to voice. Annie’s apartment was way too nice to be the apartment of someone who’d been cut off by her parents. It was too large, and the furnishings looked too expensive. Seeing it really took me out of the moment.

Overall, this wasn’t a strong outing for Community, but it certainly ranks better than some of the disasters we had earlier in the season.

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