Analysis of Cork-Based Networking
|"Analysis of Cork-Based Networking"|
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Directed by||Tristram Shapeero|
|Written by||Monica Padrick|
|Original air date||January 30, 2014|
"Analysis of Cork-Based Networking" is the sixth episode of the fifth season of Community, and the 90th episode overall in the series. It originally aired on January 30, 2014 on NBC; and is written by Monica Padrick and directed by Tristram Shapeero. It is also the last episode of the season to air before going on hiatus during the 2014 Winter Olympics. The season resumed on February 27, 2014.
In this episode, Annie Edison (Alison Brie) and Professor Buzz Hickey (Jonathan Banks) confront numerous Greendale heads—including the head custodian Bob Waite (Nathan Fillion)—while others prepare the cafeteria for the midterm dance.
The episode received generally positive reviews, with many praising the show's use of guest stars; however, some noted Troy Barnes's (Donald Glover) absence negatively. Upon airing, the episode attained 3.01 million viewers and an 18-49 rating of 1.1, placing third in its timeslot and tenth for the night in primetime television.
Annie (Alison Brie) gathers the group for the first Save Greendale committee, right before the midterms dance. However, Annie and Professor Hickey (Jonathan Banks) are faced with Greendale's terrible bureaucracy to find a bulletin board, by dealing with the head custodian (Nathan Fillion), the head of IT (Paget Brewster), the head of parking (Robert Patrick) and the dean (Jim Rash).
Meanwhile, Jeff (Joel McHale), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), Chang (Ken Jeong) and Prof. Duncan (John Oliver) set the decorations for the dance. Chang tries to pitch the theme "Bear Down For Midterms", but Neil (Charley Koontz) rapidly kills it by saying it was a reference to a gruesome bear attack in Wisconsin that happened on the same day, so they go for "Fat Dog For Midterms", also suggested by Chang.
Abed (Danny Pudi) spoils Britta's (Gillian Jacobs) recent favourite show, Bloodlines of Conquest, and in retaliation, she catches up to Abed to spoil the show for him, to no avail, as he covers his ears with large soundproof headphones. This catches the eye of a red-headed deaf girl (Katie Leclerc). After Abed shows interest in her, it's revealed that Britta used that opportunity to bribe her in order to spoil the ending of Bloodlines of Conquest in sign language. After storming out devastated, Abed reencounters Rachel (Brie Larson) the coat check girl, and invites her for dinner.
In the credits scene, Prof. Duncan tries to call Greendale Faculty Office Supplies for new staples, but accidentally directs himself to a military line, and activates the "Arcadia Protocol" with a guessed passcode and "top" clearance level. After this, Duncan cancels the order as the sound of low flying military jet aircraft is heard. He then discovers that the staples were right in front of him.
The episode features several guest stars, including Nathan Fillion as Greendale's head custodian Bob Waite; Paget Brewster as Debra Chambers, head of the IT department; and Robert Patrick as Waldron, the parking lot head security guard.
Many of the study group members are revealed to be fans of a fantasy series called Bloodlines of Conquest, which seems to parody the series Game of Thrones in its context. Other references include a shot of Rick and Morty (an animated show co-created by Dan Harmon) when Abed and Rachel are watching television, the Jim Henson film Labyrinth, as well as Gary Oldman's performance in Léon: The Professional.
In a nod to the previous episode, when Professor Hickey is watching the news, the ticker at the bottom of the screen reads "Levar Burton and non-celebrity companion captured by pirates in the Gulf of Mexico."
When Abed explains to Rachel why he never called her since their first meeting in the fourth season episode "Herstory of Dance," he blames the "gas leak," which is an indirect reference to the mixed fan reception that the fourth season of the series was met with. The "gas leak" reference is made numerous times in the fifth season, including in the season premiere episode "Repilot."
The episode hit season lows in viewers, with 3.01 million American viewers watching the episode, and receiving an 18-49 rating/share of 1.1/3. The show placed third in its timeslot and tenth for the night.
The episode received positive reviews from critics. Eric Goldman of IGN gave the episode an 8.8 out of 10, signifying positive reviews, saying "On one hand, “Analysis of Cork-Based Networking" felt a bit all over the place. On the other hand, it was delightfully all over the place, delivering plenty of really funny bits and great lines in the process. And I can't stop singing, “It’s not made up! It’s not made up!”"
Emily VanDerWerff from The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+, saying
"After season five took a little detour from what appeared to be its main story in favor of two arcs designed to say goodbye to important characters in the show’s run and a David Fincher-esque concept episode, Community gets back on track with the committee to improve Greendale plot in “Analysis Of Cork-Based Networking,” which centers on getting a bulletin board hung and preparing for yet another school dance. It’s a good episode and a funny one, and it’s probably what the season needed right now. I’ve liked the last string of episodes quite a bit, but the show usually works best when it can balance out the concept episodes with some standard issue campus hijinks. “Networking” is about as standard issue as the show gets anymore, which is to say that it ends with Chang teaching everyone a dance called the Fat Dog and Garrett screaming, “IT’S A BEAR DANCE!” (So, it ends well.)"
Gabrielle Moss of TV Fanatic gave the episode a 4.4 out of 5, saying "For their first Troy-less episode, Community pulled out all the stops. And by 'pull out all the stops,' I mostly mean 'put Castle in a custodial suit.' But hey, that's nothing to sneeze at! Even though [it] wasn't the most enthralling episode of Community Season 5, the half hour was a solid piece of Greendale weirdness, which would have succeeded without any guest spots at all."
Dave Bunting of Vulture gave the episode 4 stars out of 5, saying
"Community achieved something tonight that I didn’t think would be possible in the fifth season of any show: It actually felt new, like a new version of itself. “Analysis” had the same flavor — essence — of the first two seasons, which I suppose is appropriate, considering the first episode of the season was literally titled “Repilot.” Sure, there were a lot of guest stars (Criminal Minds’ Paget Brewster; Robert Patrick; Nathan Fillion [right on the tail of Chang’s celebrity crush confession, no less]; Brie Larson), a move typically reserved for struggling shows looking for a bump and/or renewal consideration, but they weren't too flashy or pointed (I don’t think a single one of them claimed more than a minute of screen time). But this episode felt crisp and rejuvenated … and damn funny."
He also commented positively on Abed's role in the episode, especially after Troy's departure, saying "I was a bit worried that tonight would be more Abed analysis, that we’d have to do more work with him to understand Troy’s absence, and I was very relieved that that wasn’t the case. Naturally, Abed has a void to fill, so he’s a bit more outgoing, at first with the deaf student and finally with Brie Larson’s returning coat-check girl (once the first one proves to be Britta’s ultimate spoiler weapon; well played, Britta)."
In regard to Katie Leclerc's appearance as a deaf student who befriends Abed, Laurel Brown of Zap2it called it "a possible match made in silent heaven." However, overall, she gave the episode a negative review, specifically noting Troy's absence from the series, saying the show "has lost Troy Barnes, and not even a parade of high-end guest stars can fill the man's empty seat at the study-room table. It's too bad, because bringing in actors like Nathan Fillion, Katie Leclerc, Robert Patrick, Paget Brewster and more should have made "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking" one of the best "Community" episodes ever. As it is, the whole thing falls a bit flat."
- "Nathan Fillion to guest on 'Community'". Entertainment Weekly. October 3, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
- "Community Season 5 Trailer: Miracle on Jeff's Street". YouTube. December 19, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (January 31, 2014). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory', 'American Idol', 'The Taste', 'Vampire Diaries', 'Parks & Recreation', 'Two and a Half Men' Adjusted Up; 'The Millers', 'Elementary', & Reign' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Goldman, Eric (January 30, 2014). "Community: "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking" Review". IGN. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- Moss, Gabrielle (January 30, 2014). "Community Review: Fat Dog for Midterms". TV Fanatic. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- VanDerWerff, Emily (January 30, 2014). "Community: "Analysis Of Cork-Based Networking"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Bunting, Dave (January 31, 2014). "Community Recap: It's a Bear Dance". Vulture. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Brown, Laurel (January 30, 2014). "'Community' video: 'Switched at Birth's' Katie Leclerc meets Abed". Zap2it. Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- Brown, Laurel (January 31, 2014). "'Community': Nathan Fillion, Katie Leclerc and more aren't enough to replace Troy". Zap2it. Archived from the original on January 31, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.