Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality
|"Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality"|
Jeff gives Professor Duncan advice on seducing Britta.
|Directed by||Tristram Shapeero|
|Written by||Dan Guterman|
|Original air date||February 27, 2014|
"Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality" is the seventh episode of the fifth season of Community, and the 91st episode overall in the series. It originally aired on February 27, 2014 on NBC; and is written by Dan Guterman and directed by Tristram Shapeero. It is also the first episode of the season to air after a hiatus due to the 2014 Winter Olympics; the last episode to air was "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking," which aired on January 30, 2014.
The episode was met with generally positive reviews, with many commenting on the emotional depth presented between the characters. However, despite positive reviews, the episode was watched by 2.56 million viewers and attained an 18-49 rating of 1.0.
Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) gives Professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver) advice on seducing Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs). Ian tells Britta that he is going to a function for a political cause Britta cares about; she decides to go with him. While there, she reconnects with old friends and realizes how they've changed. While watching Britta reconnect with her friends, Jeff soon becomes aroused by her, admitting to Ian that Britta's popularity turns him on. Ian sees this as a challenge, and he tells Jeff that if Britta's friends blow her off, he will be the shoulder to cry on. This soon happens when Britta's friends mock her for still inhabiting radical tendencies when they have moved on with their lives. While driving her home, Britta discusses the strange and fleeting nature of friendships with Ian, and he admits to her that he does not have any real friends besides Jeff, and they do not really act much like friends. Ian ultimately decides not to take advantage of Britta while she is going through an existential crisis, and instead chooses to go out drinking with Jeff, which ends up strengthening their friendship.
Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) accidentally damages Professor Buzz Hickey's (Jonathan Banks) drawings when his Kick-Puncher costume shoots foam at them. Buzz decides to punish him by handcuffing him to his filing cabinet, and not letting him watch the newest Kick-Puncher movie. This leads to the pair spending quality time together when Buzz shows Abed older drawings. They later get into a heated argument when Buzz says he is still holding his punishment.
Ben Chang (Ken Jeong)—while at the function with Jeff, Britta, Ian, Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), and Annie Edison (Alison Brie)—performs a one-man show for an unknown audience. Afterwards, Ben finds out from a janitor that years ago, a big group of people were killed in the same room he just performed in, making Ben believe that his "audience" consisted of ghosts. The audience then says that the janitor is the real ghost; the suspense becomes too much for Ben, and he screams and runs. The next day, he tells the study group about what happened, and they say that they did not remember Ben being at the function, which leads Ben to think that he is a ghost. Britta then encourages Ben to calm down, and he does. Suspenseful music builds up as the camera zooms in on an old fashioned looking black-and-white group photo featuring Chang—a reference to the climactic scene of the 1980 horror movie The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick. The caption of the photo is revealed, reading: "Old Timey Photo Club, 2014".
Upon airing, episode was watched by 2.56 million American viewers, and received an 18-49 rating/share of 1.0/3. The show placed third in its timeslot behind The Big Bang Theory and American Idol; and twelfth for the night.
Including DVR playback, the episode's 18-49 rating increased to 1.6.
The episode was received positively by most critics, mainly due to its emotional depth. Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club gave the episode a positive review, grading it an A, saying "Community slips pretty easily between outright silliness and bittersweet optimism (along with everything in between), depending on the week. “Bondage And Beta Male Sexuality” slides all the way over to the “bittersweet” side of the scale and makes camp there, but that’s fine with me. Bittersweet optimism is my most favorite of tones, and always has been. That Community can still pull it off (on a somewhat regular basis, no less) is a good sign for its creative renewal."
Eric Goldman of IGN gave the episode an 8 out of 10, saying "This was an offbeat episode, even by Community' standards and felt a bit disjointed. However, it helped to humanize Duncan and gave Hickey and Abed an unlikely bonding session – albeit a pretty serious one! It didn't all work and felt a bit out of sync tonally, but I admire the show for not playing it safe."
Gabrielle Moss of TV Fanatic gave the episode a highly positive review, rating it 4.8 out of 5, saying "Community Season 5 wants you to feel real things, even as it delivers perfectly crafted jokes about cop movies and Dane Cook—and Community Season 5 Episode 7 was perhaps the show's finest achievement in the field of actually, you know, feeling stuff." She also commented positively on Abed and Hickey's roles, saying "Abed's interaction with Hickey, in fact, might have been the sharpest emotional moment in the show's history. The idea of replacing Troy with Hickey seems completely counter-intuitive at first; Hickey is a grizzled ex-cop, Troy is someone who joyfully named a monkey "Annie's Boobs." But Jonathan Banks's Hickey absolutely burned through his first performance as Abed's tough love father figure. Watching them go at it, I didn't think I was watching my favorite Community moment of the year—I was watching the best five minutes of network television that I've seen this season."
Not all the reviews were positive, however; Tim Surette of TV.com gave the episode a negative review, saying ""Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality," which might be my least favorite Community episode title EVER, tried to land an emotional punch and took a swing at our sensitive spots, but missed badly and gouged out our eyes instead. And yes, I am being a little melodramatic. But dammit, we've seen Community do touchy-feely so much better than this. The main problem was that "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality" assembled some odd character pairings—Britta and Duncan, Abed and Hickey—in an attempt to create weird bonds between regular favorites and recurring characters, instead of keeping the action within the group. It says something that, in an episode that was meant to be so heartwarming, Abed staring at an empty chair for half a second was the most emotional moment BY FAR."
- Kondolojy, Amanda (February 28, 2014). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory', 'Scandal', 'Grey's Anatomy', 'American Idol' & 'Parks & Recreation' Adjusted Up; 'The Millers' Adjusted Down". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (February 27, 2014). "Community: "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- Goldman, Eric (February 27, 2014). "Community: "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality" Review". IGN. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- Moss, Gabrielle (February 27, 2014). "Community Review: Who You Gonna Call?". TV Fanatic. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
- Surette, Tim (February 28, 2014). "Community "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality" Review: Who Let a Season 4 Episode in Here?". TV.com. Retrieved March 1, 2014.