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“Intro to Felt Surrogacy," the latest episode of Community, was a puppet/musical episode centered around the group’s deepest secrets.
The episode opens with the group sitting in awkward silence in the study room. The Dean bursts in and tells them he is going to fix their problem. He passes out hand puppet versions of them, which he clearly was using for inappropriate things since the Jeff puppet had a whip. The episode is mostly a flash back about what happened and the study group is all puppets. The flashback starts with Abed and Troy playing study group bingo because they have been having the same conversations for years. Jeff decides they need to go on an adventure and they start singing the first song. They all decide to go on a balloon ride.
The balloon ride goes wrong, of course, and they lift off without the balloon guide. They land, after a harrowing near death experience, somewhere in the woods. They then run into a mountain man (Jason Alexander) who used to go to Greendale and he sings a song to them about the freedom of the woods.
During the song, he hand-feeds them berries which turn out to be hallucinogenic. They end up high, sitting around a fire and reveal their darkest secrets. Shirley is the first to tell hers. She thought she saw her husband with another woman when she was in the grocery store. She left her kids by the magazine stand to follow, but followed them all the way out into the city. It turned out not to be her husband and she forgot her kids in the grocery store all night. No one remembered her secret, and it turns out no one had listened while the others were talking.
The problem now is that Shirley has shared her secret and feels horrible. Jeff says that in order for them to be on equal footing again, they will all have to share their secrets. This is song number three. Jeff met the perfect woman for him and then met her kid. He promised to go to the kids baseball game, but never showed up. He never called them again and now feels just like his dad. Britta, the group’s activist, has never voted. Annie was doing poorly in history, so she let the teacher rub her feet for the test answers. Troy lit a forest on fire when he burned an ant hill. Abed did not have a secret, but did not know why everyone was uncomfortable, so he just mirrored them. Everyone had been worried that the group thought less of them, but no one really seemed bothered.
A great episode! How can you go wrong with music and puppets. Community's alternative media episodes, like the claymation episode, are great. This one is not an exception.